Mary Lin Elementary School principal resigns

The principal of a top-rated Atlanta elementary school resigned this week.

Brian Mitchell, principal of Mary Lin Elementary School, announced Thursday he would be “taking his talents elsewhere” for the 2015-16 school year, according to a letter posted on the school’s website. According to the letter, his resignation is effective June 30, 2015.

In the letter, Mitchell did not explain the reasons for his resignation. He did not return a call or email from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday.

But in a statement posted last month on the school’s website, Mitchell said a group of parents had met monthly with his supervisor since last spring to discuss “the things that are going wrong with my leadership and the school.”

“A few weeks later, I receive feedback about these meetings. This is no way for me to be an effective leader. I have recently requested that these parent meetings cease after November,” Mitchell wrote.

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In response to questions about whether Atlanta Public Schools central office staff met with Mary Lin parents, district spokeswoman Jill Strickland wrote in an email that an associate superintendent has been “very involved” with Mary Lin in recent years.

This fall, superintendent Meria Carstarphen asked the district ombudsman to join the associate superintendent to “engage with the community to listen to their concerns,” Strickland wrote.

The school district has accepted Mitchell’s resignation and “appreciates his commitment to continue in his role through the end of the school year,” Strickland wrote. The search for a new principal will start early next year.

Mitchell has worked for the Atlanta Public Schools since 1995.

Mary Lin received a score of 86.4 under the state’s school rating system, the College and Career Ready Performance Index. That’s higher than all but about 10 Atlanta elementary schools and significantly higher than the district’s average score of 67.1 for elementary schools.

Here’s the full text of Mitchell’s letter:

December 4, 2014

Dear Mary Lin Staff and Community,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of my intentions for the 2015-2016 school year. My specialty is recruiting and retaining excellent teachers. I will be taking my talents elsewhere for the 2015-2016 school year.

It has truly been a pleasure serving the Mary Lin community since 1995. I am dedicated to working hard to make the rest of this school year successful for the students, teachers and parents. My resignation from the district will be effective June 30, 2015.

Sincerely,

Brian D. Mitchell, Ed.D.

Principal

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