Grady parent: Let new Superintendent make decisions

The Southerner

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The following letter was written by Grady parent Janet Kishbaugh and was published with her permission.

Dear board members,

As a community, we are excited to meet the new Superintendent and the staff he/she might bring or hire.  I believe that many are firmly committed to offering any support or encouragement that we can as a community committed to public schools k-12.

Unfortunately, we are hearing rumors that as they depart, Interim Superintendent Davis and his leadership team are making broad changes in the administration of several schools in the system.   We are hearing that the interim superintendent has sent letters to the principals of Mays High School, Grady High School, Warren T. Jackson Elementary School, and perhaps one other school announcing that “the system is going in a new direction,” and the services of the principals of those schools are “no longer needed” but will be kept on in some capacity.  I understand that the interim superintendent is professing that these communications have been cleared with his cabinet and the entire board.  From the reports of members of the Mays community about their meeting with their three board members, I doubt all of you board members were consulted.

Why would the superintendent and his team wade into decisions regarding retention of principals when that is surely one of the most important aspects of creating a solid leadership team that any new superintendent could hope to undertake?  Did the Interim Superintendent and his leadership team learn nothing from their two separate debacles at North Atlanta?

The incoming superintendent deserves to be able to learn from and lean on experienced leaders at each of these schools.  The new superintendent can spend the year learning the schools and make decisions regarding leadership of each school consistent with his or her vision for that school and the entire system.

The system is already looking to fill a number of principal positions at the same time.  How many highly qualified high school principals do you believe the APS system has waiting in its wings for promotion to the empty slots?  How many applicants do you think the system can attract for all those schools without a chance for the superintendent to articulate his or her vision? Why not let the new Superintendent provide his or her vision for the system before summarily removing school leadership?

Janet Kishbaugh

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