As the AJC reported in 2011:
Without knowing what a charter school was, Gilbert, a former Gwinnett County Schools administrator-in-training, quit her dream job at an alternative school in 2005. She said she no longer could sit quietly as students were labeled and shuffled by address, ability and attitude.
Gilbert didn't set out to open multiple schools. Born into a family of educators, she had a passion for teaching. Her father, Walter Scott taught high school in LaGrange.
Her mother taught, too. When Elizabeth Scott, a special education teacher, got a job in Gwinnett, the state's largest school district, Gilbert followed in her footsteps. She worked at Norcross Elementary and Richards Middle, and soon was on a management trainee track.
But bothered by the lack of options for students, she and longtime friend Howell launched a nonprofit organization called Turning Points Educational Services in 2005. They invited parents who were frustrated with their children's schools, discipline records and treatment by teachers to join them.
"Kids of color were not being as successful as other students," Howell recalled. "We started talking about what we could do as mothers to close the achievement gap."
Gilbert soon received so many requests from parents who wanted her to home school their kids that she and Howell decided to open a school. She learned about charter schools while surfing the web.
I saw how the loss of a visionary leader can influence the culture and the staff when an innovative principal at a local school resigned and was replaced by someone with no tolerance for new ideas and little interest in involving parents or teachers in decision-making. The best teachers bolted, and the school began a slide into mediocrity. The new principal’s tenure was short, but it took a while for the school to regain its footings.
As my AJC colleague Ty Tagami now reports:
Ivy Preparatory Academy, a once-esteemed Gwinnett County charter school, will not reopen next year, and signs point to permanent closure. In a unanimous vote on August 16, 2018, the school board reluctantly decided to end all planning efforts to reopen," says a statement from a spokesman.
The decision was reached after "an exhaustive" review of the financial situation that led the charter school's board to conclude that reopening next year, as a former director and the board had previously told parents would happen, is not "a viable option."
The decision marked a sharp turnaround from early in the decade, when the all-girl school became a symbol of the charter school movement. Girls, in their iconic green blazers, filled the halls of the state Capitol to lobby lawmakers.
In 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal used the school in his argument for passage of a constitutional amendment for charter schools, writing in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it was "a great example" of superior performance relative to traditional public schools.