Parents at North Atlanta High School are calling for more transparency after Atlanta Public Schools efforts to hire a new principal raised questions and concerns.
APS officials as of June 13 had not answered whether they intend to re-open the application process for the job or select from the current list of candidates, a list that includes a former Fulton County principal accused of stealing money from his school.
“The district is continuing the process of filling the North Atlanta High School principal post,” APS spokesman Keith Bromery said.
APS on June 4 offered the job to Reginald Richardson, who is currently principal of the Performing Arts and Technology High School in Brooklyn. N.Y. He withdrew his application when he received a better offer from his current employer.
Parents were concerned about the reasons the school system offered the job to an outside candidate they weren’t familiar with, but they were baffled when they learned school officials interviewed former Riverwood International Charter School principal Eddie Echols.
The Buckhead Reporter learned of the information after it requested a list of candidates the school was considering for the job previously held by Mark MyGrant.
Echols resigned from his post at Riverwood last fall after an audit alleged mismanagement of school funds. That audit led to criminal charges. Echols was arrested on Feb. 29 and charged with stealing nearly $25,000 from the school.
The news he was being considered for the North Atlanta position did not sit well with some parents.
Parents want to know more about how the district intends to fill the job.
“Bottom line is that we need greater transparency in the selection process,” parent Andrea Shelton said. “I have lost confidence in the selection committee’s judgment at this point. I hope I can get that back, but only time will tell. Surely there are well-qualified candidates who have the requisite experience and high ethical standards North Atlanta parents seek. Why are we even entertaining the thought of hiring folks with questionable backgrounds and/or experience?”
Reide Onley, president of North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools, had no comment about Echols or reaction to Richardson turning down the job.
“I would like to know APS’ process and criteria for selecting a new principal and the selection committee so that I can inform the parents and community within our cluster,” Onley said. “I plan on officially requesting this information from APS or ask that it be posted on their website.”
The Buckhead Reporter also received resumes of the other candidates being considered before June 4. The other candidates are John Denine, Academy Leader, North Atlanta High; Julie Brown, assistant principal of G.P. Babb Middle School in Forest Park, Ga.; and Rafiq Vaughn, assistant principal of Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville, Tenn.