• Parents frustrated by changes at N. Atlanta High School

    By: Carl Willis


    ATLANTA - Frustrated parents from North Atlanta High School spoke out about what they called constant changes at the school.

    Atlanta Public Schools board members organized a community forum at Garden Hills Elementary Tuesday night to answer questions about their principal's resignation.

    Dr. Howard "Gene" Taylor told APS leaders Sept. 12 about his intent to resign.

    "A month into school he finds it impossible to do his job so much that he has to quit," said Liz Jacobs. "I don't understand."

    Taylor cited red tape with hiring his staff and slow invoices as key factors in his decision.

    In an attempt to keep Taylor in Atlanta, APS Superintendent Erroll Davis announced that Taylor would be promoted to executive director for the school district’s north region.

    However, when the school board brought the issue to the table they couldn't get a single member to second the motion to bring it to a vote, and that's where it stalled.

    Some board members claimed they refrained from a vote because they feared the promotion didn't have enough support to pass and they didn't want to close any doors.

    Some parents at Tuesday's meeting told Channel 2's Carl Willis the decision was troubling.

    "It concerned me when I clearly see the board interfering with decision making from a personnel standpoint," said parent Dionne Lacey-Artis. "I just want them to do a better job of working together."

    Board Chairman Reuben McDaniel said he supports Taylor, but defended the lack of a vote to promote him.

    "It's not a matter of micromanagement," he said. "We have a responsibility as a board to make sure our policies and procedures are met. Once they are met, we will take recommendations from the superintendent.

    Willis asked Associate Superintendent Steve Smith if it was mistake to announce the promotion before it was official.

    "Like in life, we have things that we would do differently, but we're very sound with regard to making the recommendation," said Smith.

    Parents said their main concerns dealt with what they called constant change and the problem with keeping top talent.

    "If we as a district and a board allow him to walk out this door -- shame on all of us," said Nancy Johnson.

    Taylor initially said he was going to go back to Gwinnett County's school district.

    His resignation has not been accepted yet.

    School leaders said they were looking into all options including working to keep Taylor in the role of principal of North Atlanta High School.

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