APS Board member: personnel changes a “gut-wrenching process”


Quinn Mulholland

Grady’s APS Board representative Matt Westmoreland sent The Southerner an open letter addressed to the community regarding Dr. Murray’s removal:

Dear Grady High Community,

The past several days have been extremely difficult for all of us.

Last week’s news that Grady will have new leadership next year came as a shock to many. As someone who graduated from Grady eight years ago and for whom Dr. Murray served as principal, this has been a gut-wrenching process. As someone who cares deeply about the Grady community, it’s been heart-breaking to see the uncertainty this created.

As board members, my colleagues and I recognize and respect the line that separates our role as a governing body from the superintendent’s responsibility to make operational decisions— including those involving our school leaders. And we had to be mindful of what implications crossing that line would’ve had in the search for our next superintendent.

We also recognize and respect that there was an unacceptable breakdown in the system’s outreach to communicate these changes to the broader APS community. That lapse led to fear and instability across the system among principals, teachers, students, and parents about when and where changes will take place. This process was ultimately disrespectful to principals and teachers who have dedicated their lives to serving our students, and to the parents who care so deeply about our schools.

Those concerns were rightfully shared at Monday night’s Board meeting, and I am thankful for all those in the Grady community who came out and spoke so eloquently about our school. Please know that our community of students, parents, and teachers will be involved as we transition to a new principal. The Board also heard and shares the belief that our new superintendent should play a role, to the extent possible, in the hiring process and contribute input to decisions made during this transition period. We are very fortunate to have a number of outstanding candidates who are excited about the possibility of coming to work with us, and I have no doubt they will attract great leaders to our system.

It is painful for me to think Dr. Murray’s final months as principal at Grady should center on this controversy rather than being devoted to celebrating his long and accomplished career. I am so appreciative for the experiences I had at Grady and for what it added to my life. And I will forever be grateful to Dr. Murray for his role in making Grady such a special place for me. It is my hope that Dr. Murray will play an active role in this transition and we will be able to take this spring semester to recognize all he has done for thousands of students — including me — and come together to move Grady forward.

Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out,

District 3, Board of Education
[email protected]s