Eric Thomas, the Chief Turnaround Officer for poorly performing schools in Georgia.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia turnaround program takes in more schools

Georgia’s school turnaround chief has added three school districts to his portfolio.

Chief Turnaround Officer Eric Thomas said the school systems serving Augusta, Savannah and Dawson have agreed to enter the state program established by lawmakers last year at the request of Gov. Nathan Deal.

Last fall, the newly-appointed Thomas announced that 11 schools would be the first in the program, all south of Atlanta, in Bibb, Clay, Dooly, Dougherty and Randolph counties.

Nearly half of the 104 schools whose performance on the state report card was poor enough to make them eligible are in metro Atlanta, mostly in the city of Atlanta and in DeKalb and Fulton counties. Early this year, Thomas told state lawmakers that the data were telling him to consider the Atlanta metro area, Augusta and southeast Georgia next.

On Wednesday, he updated the Georgia Board of Education on his progress, which includes establishing a partnership with Communities in Schools of Georgia, a student aid organization.

He said he’s added nine schools in round two -- one in Terrell County, two in Chatham County and six in Richmond County.

When asked when he might include metro Atlanta schools, he didn’t have an answer. 

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