Principal Howard “Gene” Taylor abruptly resigned Friday after less than a year at North Atlanta High.
Taylor will become the principal of Berkmar High in Gwinnett County, the same school district he left last year to take the job in Atlanta.
“I’m not leaving because I have to. I’ve not been asked to leave, and it wasn’t hard to find another position,” Taylor said in a video message to students. “All I’m really going to say is that it was necessary for me, and it was appropriate for me, and if it were not, then I would not be leaving.”
Taylor, who took over after former Principal Mark MyGrant was ousted by the Atlanta school district last October, oversaw the 1,600-student school’s move to new $147 million facilities beginning this school year.
He didn’t return a message seeking comment Friday.
He will remain at the school until Dec. 1, according to Superintendent Erroll Davis.
“The district is appreciative of Dr. Taylor’s leadership over the past year, particularly during the planning, relocation and opening of the new North Atlanta School. We wish him well in his next assignment,” Davis wrote in a message posted on North Atlanta High’s website.
Parents said they were disturbed by Taylor’s departure.
“I don’t know how Atlanta Public Schools can let a man this qualified slip through their fingers. It’s devastating,” said Kim Staley, whose daughter is a sophomore at North Atlanta High. “Did Atlanta Public Schools wear him out? I’ve heard many stories about how challenging they are to work with.”
Another parent, Helena Marin, said Taylor worked to offer more advanced placement classes and improving academic achievement.
“Oh my goodness, every year it seems to be something different,” said Marin, whose son is a senior at North Atlanta High. “The kids respected him and the parents respected him. He’s a wonderful man and he worked tirelessly for the school.”
An internal Atlanta Public Schools investigation of North Atlanta High is pending after Davis replaced MyGrant and his administrative team. Davis said at the time that the school’s academic performance led to their dismissals.
Taylor had been principal at Lilburn Middle School in Gwinnett when he was tapped for the North Atlanta High job.
The Gwinnett County Board of Education named Taylor the principal of Berkmar High at a special called meeting Friday. Until he departs North Atlanta High in December, Jane Stegall will continue as Berkmar High’s interim principal.
Atlanta Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel didn’t return a message seeking comment.
An economy that sent more people to the workforce instead of the classroom, tougher requirements for financial aid, and a higher bar for admissions are among the factors that contributed to a drop in enrollment at the state’s public colleges and universities for the second year in a row.
Enjoy expanded coverage of college football for UGa, Tech and the SEC, with our SEC Insider, covering all Southeastern Conference matchups and articles by AJC staff and regional newspapers that cover the SEC.