Suspended APS leader has new job, old salary

A high-ranking Atlanta Public Schools administrator, suspended in connection with the district’s widespread cheating scandal, has found work elsewhere but is still collecting her district salary.

Robin Hall, a former principal and area superintendent, works for the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools as its director of language arts and literacy. Hall joined the organization on Oct. 6 believing her case would be settled soon with the school district. But her settlement offer was declined, and Hall has since given notice she will retire at the end of this month.

“I’m trying to move on,” she said. “I could have just said, ‘Let me not work at all and let them pay me for the rest of the year,’ but I am trying to do the right thing.”

In July, Superintendent Erroll Davis placed four area superintendents on leave because of the scandal: Sharon Davis-Williams, Michael Pitts, Tamara Cotman and Hall. The district reported it was paying $550,000 in combined annual salaries for the four; Hall earns $123,000 per year, according to her employment contract.

State investigators said Hall failed to properly monitor state exams in 2009 when she was principal at Beecher Hills Elementary School. Three teachers at the school confessed to cheating, according to the report. Investigators did not find that Hall, who has been with the district since 1983, knew about the test tampering. She has denied any wrongdoing.

Attorneys discussed a settlement offer with Hall and other area superintendents in late September, Hall said. APS spokesman Keith Bromery said the district had conversations with the four regarding a settlement, but he offered no further details. He said Hall’s case was under review.

Hall made an offer and the district declined it in late October, she said. Hall filed a modified settlement in mid November and decided to retire, effective at the end of December. She said she’s been frustrated by the slow process.

“I have been placed in a situation beyond my control when I was put on leave,” she said. “We have not had a chance to have a hearing where we can state our case. Even though we have earned due process, we have not had a chance to have our day in court.”

Educators have job protection rights, which entitle them to a series of hearings and appeals before they can be fired. APS continues to pay the salaries of about 130 educators named in the cheating investigation who have not been terminated.

Atlanta Public Schools has a longstanding relationship with the Council of the Great City Schools, Robin Hall’s new employer. Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was named chair-elect of the organization’s board of directors in 2010. This year, the organization hosted Davis and board members at a conference to discuss the cheating scandal.

Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, said his organization knew that Robin Hall was in the process of severing ties with the district. The group first hired her as a consultant, aware of her status in the district and her link to the investigation.

“We’ve known Robin Hall for a long time, and we’re confident in her and her skills,” Casserly said. “We did the due diligence necessary to give us the confidence to bring her on.”