Top official convicted in APS cheating trial free to return to schools

The highest ranking Atlanta Public Schools officials convicted in a districtwide cheating scandal have been sanctioned by the state agency that regulates educator licenses, but one is still eligible to return to a top post in any Georgia school district.

Former regional executive directors Tamara Cotman, Michael Pitts and Sharon Davis-Williams were among 11 Atlanta educators convicted in 2015 on criminal charges of participating in a conspiracy to cheat on state tests.

Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was indicted but died of cancer before she could go to trial.

Last month, Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission issued its own discipline for the three directors. The commission revoked Cotman’s and Pitts’ licenses and issued a two-year, retroactive suspension for Davis-Williams’ educational leadership license.

The retroactive suspension, which was post-dated to end in 2015, means Davis-Williams is now eligible to work in any school district leadership position, including as a superintendent.

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The commission had initially decided to revoke Davis-Williams’ license, but a state administrative law judge said that penalty was too harsh.

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