APS addresses concerns over abrupt leadership change at high school

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ATLANTA - Parents say the entire administrative staff, including the interim principal at North Atlanta High School, were told to hand over their keys before they were escorted off the school's campus on Friday.

A letter on the school's website said effective Friday, interim principal Mark Mygrant completed his duties.

Parents said they're surprised and want answers because the school year was going well. Channel 2's Linda Stouffer tracked down APS spokesperson Steven Alford on Saturday afternoon to get details on the matter.

Alford said the change in leadership is in preparation for the new principal, Dr. Howard Taylor, who starts Oct. 29. He said the school board approved Taylor's hiring Monday.

"(We wanted) to give Dr. Taylor an opportunity to really start his legacy and his administration.  We understand change is not easy for anyone," Alford said.

Alford also said Taylor did not have anything to do with Friday's occurrence. He added APS is doing what's best for students and parents, and also giving the new principal a chance to "choose his own leaders at the school."

The academy leaders were all reassigned to other schools with the same titles--no demotions, Alford said.

In this transition, officials are replacing all academy leader positions with two staffers temporarily. Staff displaced on Friday include, the principal, assistant principal and four academy leaders. There was a total of six but two were set to retire in the fall, he said.

The North Atlanta staff, including those affected by the changes, were informed on Friday, he said. Human resources leaders and the deputy superintendent met with the staff and academy leaders.  Alford would not answer questions about whether they had time to say goodbye to staff or students.

Permanent leaders will be in place as soon as possible, however, he could not say when that would happen and if it would happen during this school year.

He denies parents' claims that administrators were escorted off campus by security, but could not account for why so many parents think that’s the case.