APS defends hiring of principal in grading scandal as HR director

Atlanta Public Schools officials are standing by the decision to hire a principal involved in a grading scandal as a human resources director in the face of public criticism.

As principal of Carver School of Technology in 2015, Josie Love ordered a secretary to award dozens of students grades they had not earned.

The students had been taught by substitutes and had not received grades. Love told the secretary to give them all Bs for the semester. The secretary refused, saying it would be unethical. Other staff entered the grades, and Love eliminated the secretary’s position at the end of the year, when Carver School of Technology merged with another school.

District investigators found Love had violated district grading policies and lied to them. She was demoted to assistant principal.

The Atlanta school board voted this month to hire her as strategic human resources director for high schools. In her new role, Love will take the lead on actions affecting high school employees, according to a district job description.

After The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Love's new job, Atlanta Public Schools' human resources chief Pamela Hall defended her recommendation to hire Love.

“Ms. Love is a professional fully capable of functioning in the role of Strategic Director with the primary responsibility of assisting principals. She made a mistake, accepted the consequences, and served well in her role as assistant principal during the 2015-16 school year. When making these critical decisions, I consider all of the facts. Based upon my knowledge of the circumstances in this case, I concluded that Ms. Love was worthy of an opportunity to serve APS in this capacity,”

But Atlanta parent John Woodward, whose daughter attends Bolton Academy, called the hiring “a poor judgment call.”

“In the big pool of HR directors, I’ve got to believe that there’s one they could have hired that would not have caused this negative attention,” he said.

Atlanta schools seem to be improving under a new administration and school board, he said. “Why do they have to go and do something like this?” he asked.

Rolanda Veal, the secretary who reported Love to district investigators, said she’s “saddened” by the decision to hire Love. A year after losing her position, Veal has applied for dozens of jobs within the school district but has not been rehired.

“That may be sending the wrong message to others that would like to report unethical violations,” she said. “I hope this doesn’t deter others from being ethical as a person no matter what the outcome may be for them personally.”