Georgia PTA board removes its president

The Georgia PTA, embroiled in an apparent power struggle, removed its leader over the weekend.

Lisa-Marie Haygood gained attention last year as the public face of the PTA, which opposed Gov. Nathan Deal in his call for a constitutional amendment that would have let the state take over what were described as “chronically failing” schools.

Haygood’s ouster from the president’s post does not appear to have been connected with that fight, since PTA delegates across the state had called on the organization to defy Amendment 1 and she was fulfilling that mandate.

The decision by a majority of the state PTA board to remove her Saturday triggered a handful of resignations from the board, and got a number of comments of surprise and concern on the Get Schooled blog and Facebook page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's education blogger Maureen Downey.

John Palmer, a Cobb County educator who resigned as a non-voting member of the PTA board in protest of her removal said in a phone call: “Of all the people that I’ve ever worked with, Lisa-Marie has the best heart I know of. She’s been above board on every dealing I’ve ever had with her.”

Haygood, of Cherokee County, was elected by statewide vote to a two-year term that was to expire later this year. Reached by phone Sunday, she had no comment.

The state organization has been an important voice in public policy, working with lawmakers on legislative proposals and using the bully pulpit to influence voters on measures such as the failed constitutional amendment. Haygood had criticized the measure as deceptive, saying it used “flowery language” to convince voters to support a policy that could have diverted public money to schools run by for-profit companies.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will continue following this story.