Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Erroll Davis Jr. will meet Tuesday night with North Atlanta High School parents and other school stakeholders still trying to comprehend the sudden removal of interim principal Mark Mygrant late last week.
Davis is scheduled to meet with the North Atlanta High community at 6 p.m. at the school. The Buckhead school community has been abuzz over the holiday weekend since Mygrant’s sudden dismissal Friday afternoon.
Mygrant, who had returned from retirement at APS’ request to run the Northside Drive school for three months until a permanent leader could be hired, told the AJC Saturday that APS officials and security arrived there at dismissal time and told him to pack and depart immediately.
As part of the change, assistant principal Melissa Gautreaux and the school’s academy leaders also were reassigned.
A letter to parents from Davis posted on the North Atlanta web site announced that Howard Taylor of the Gwinnett County Public Schools has been hired as principal, starting Oct. 29, and that former Sarah Smith Elementary principal Sid Baker would serve in the interim.
But Davis’ letter did not specify why Mygrant was so hastily dismissed, leaving parents, students and community members to speculate and to post more than 250 entries, many outraged, on the AJC’s Get Schooled blog.
Reached Saturday, Mygrant told the blog that he thought the action was politically motivated.
“I would be happy to ride off into the sunset. But with all these administrators, hard-working administrators, being reassigned, people are going to say ‘God, there must have been something really corrupt there,’” he said. “I owe it to them and myself to let people know there wasn’t anything.”
Mygrant speculated that his dismissal stemmed from what he said were anonymous and inaccurate allegations that two of his recommended hires — a graduation coach and English teacher — were racists.
“I tried for weeks to get answers from the very top on down” about the allegations and his suspicion that he was being investigated by the school system, Mygrant said, “but was completely stonewalled.”
Then on Friday, he said he was told by deputy superintendent Karen Waldon and an unnamed APS human resources official who came to the school around dismissal that “my services were no longer needed.”
Mygrant said that APS security was arriving on the campus, but that he chose to depart from the back door by himself instead of being escorted out.
“I would have been happy to leave any time,” he said. “I was retired. They had announced a new principal. They did not need to do it this way.”
Before returning this school year at APS’ request, Mygrant had led North Atlanta for five years and, before that, Sutton Middle School for a decade.
While not mentioning Mygrant by name, Davis’ letter listed a transition assistant principal and eight transition academy leaders and heralded “a new day” at North Atlanta.
After dozens of parents and students protested the treatment of Mygrant and the reassigned school leaders, APS spokesman Stephen J. Alford e-mailed the Get Schooled blog. “We understand the concern about timing and continuity, but please know that North Atlanta is replete with determined instructional professionals who are committed to delivering a quality education to all students,” he wrote.
Alford, who did not mention Mygrant or the reassigned school leaders in the posted e-mail, added, “Making the right decision is not always easy or popular, but it is always right.”
AJC staff writer Maureen Downey contributed to this report.