Several Atlanta principals to be removed from their schools

Principals at about seven Atlanta schools are being removed before next school year, said city school board Chairman Courtney English on Wednesday.

A statement from Atlanta Public Schools wouldn’t confirm which principals are being transferred or what schools will be affected, but the system acknowledged it has informed some school leaders they wouldn’t serve in the role of principal next school year.

Hundreds of students at Mays High School in west Atlanta walked out of school Tuesday to protest the removal of their principal, Tyronne Smith. They later returned to class. Neither APS nor English would confirm that Smith is one of the principals being transferred.

Hope Hodges, a junior at Mays High, said students respect Smith and don’t understand why he’s leaving.

“He talks with students and meets with us. He doesn’t just sit in the office all day,” Hodges said after school was dismissed Wednesday. “I’d like to be informed about what’s going on. I don’t want to go to a school where they make people leave and don’t tell us why.”

English said Superintendent Erroll Davis has made decisions to reassign principals when he believes doing so is the best interest of children. English said he didn’t know whether the principals were being transferred for academic or other personnel reasons.

“We’re in a constant process of evaluating our people, and making sure we have the right people, and making sure they’re being effective for our kids,” English said.

The unsigned statement from Atlanta Public Schools said personnel changes have been contemplated for a long time — in some cases, more than a year.

“The decision to seek new school leadership is never an easy one,” the statement said. “We are making these changes in the best interest of our students, with a focus on what is best for the campuses that will be impacted by these decisions.”

The changes in school leadership come in Davis’ final months on the job. Davis plans to retire this summer, and a national search for a new superintendent is expected to be completed in April.

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