An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Community advisory panel formed to advise district superintendent selection

Shalin Bhatia
To help aid the selection of the next permanent superintendent of the district, the Atlanta Board of Education has formed a community panel of more than 15 parents, teachers, students and community leaders.

The Atlanta Board of Education has formed a community panel of parents, teachers, students and community leaders to provide community input in the selection process.

The current interim district superintendent, Dr. Danielle Battle, was set to have her contract end before the 2024-25 academic year as the board found a permanent replacement. However, on April 10, the board announced that it is extending its search for the next superintendent and that Dr. Battle’s contract would be extended through Dec. 31.

Midtown parent and English teacher Kate Carter was invited by a board member to serve on the panel and believes it is valuable to have teacher input in the selection process.

“I’m really happy that they selected me as a teacher,” Carter said. “A lot of times, teacher voices are not heard [and] not solicited, and I think it’s an incredibly crucial voice to have. We are the only people who know the nuts and bolts of what’s happening in the classroom, what the students need, what teachers need and how APS initiatives – which are often well-intended – sometimes backfire when put into place in real time.”

South Atlanta senior Demar Goodman was one of three students in the district selected for the panel, which he said he feels privileged to serve on.



“On the panel, I hope to emphasize the sheer weight of this decision and the values we want as students because, of course, we will be the most directly affected by this decision,” Goodman said. “I wish to emphasize necessary senses of equity, opportunity and empathy, values that our APS students care about and deserve to see, especially in our more underserved communities.”

Carter said she is looking for a superintendent candidate who can work with the differing environments in the district.

“I’m looking for people who understand what it’s like in the classrooms at various schools across the district,” Carter said. “I’m looking for someone who is good to work with, [doesn’t have] a difficult personality and knows how to hire really good people. [I’m looking for] someone who is willing to listen and learn [and] can understand the very unique culture of this extremely diverse district.”

The Atlanta Leaders for 100% Literacy movement, composed of 139 community members, is urging Atlanta board members to hire a superintendent focused on literacy outcomes. Goodman hopes to continue underscoring the importance of literacy on the panel.

“A commitment to equitable provisions for our more underserved clusters would be valuable to me,” Goodman said. “Additionally, as we are well aware, our literacy rates are dismal. A clear plan on literacy and comprehension [would be key from candidates].”

Carter hopes to advocate for a superintendent candidate who gives more autonomy back to schools.

“We’re being micromanaged, often by people who have less experience than the teachers in the classroom,” Carter said. “I think individual schools should be able to deliver education in ways that are fitting for their particular student body. We have very different schools that should be allowed to do different things, [and] teachers should be able to meet the interests and levels of the specific students in their classrooms.”

Goodman ultimately hopes that he can help hire a superintendent who, like Dr. Battle, values student voices.

“Dr. Battle has always done well in advocating for our students; however, I have always appreciated the way she allowed us to advocate for ourselves in nearly every part of the APS decision-making process,” Goodman said. “I urge the new candidates to have the same dedication to fostering inclusivity for our scholars as Dr. Battle masterfully has done.”

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About the Contributor
Shalin Bhatia
Shalin Bhatia, Editor in Chief
Shalin is in his fourth year of the Journalism pathway and is in his third year on the Southerner staff, serving as the Editor in Chief over the News Section. Besides writing stories, Shalin is a member of the Speech and Debate team and plays for the tennis team. He is very excited to help lead the staff this year.

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