Buckhead: North Atlanta parents focused on principal search
North Atlanta parents don’t want a repeat of the fiasco that ensued in June when Atlanta Public Schools bungled of the selection of a new high school principal.
During a kickoff meeting of the North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools, held Aug. 29 at Sutton Middle School, parents told school officials they expect better.
NAPPS Co-President Reide Onley listed parent input on the principal’s selection process as a top priority.
“The administration understands and is committed to community involvement …,” Onley said. “I think that’s good and I think we can count on that.”
The Buckhead Reporter kept tabs on the hiring process throughout the summer. The paper discovered through a records request that school officials interviewed former Riverwood International Charter School Principal Eddie Echols. Echols resigned from Riverwood last fall and was subsequently charged with stealing nearly $25,000 in school funds.
Riverwood and North Atlanta are historic rivals. APS in 2010 sued Riverwood for recruiting some of its students.
Parents also said they were concerned when school officials on June 4 offered the job Reginald Richardson, a candidate most of them hadn’t met. Richardson turned down the job after he received a better offer from his current employer in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The school system opted to keep outgoing Principal Mark MyGrant as interim for a few months to find a replacement.
Onley said the schools system is receiving applications from around the country. In response to parent questions, APS posted its hiring guidelines for principals on its website.
“Human Resources has reworked the system for the actual protocol on how they evaluate and search for this position,” Onley said. “They have begun reviewing all the written applications.”
APS PRINCIPAL SELECTION PROCESS
Level One: This level starts with the application screening process that involves utilizing a rubric to score all parts of the submitted application. Human Resources will complete the initial screening (minimum qualifications based on posting), while the Regional Executive Directors (4) will complete the next round of screening (quality control). Human Resources and the Regional Executive Directors determine a minimum score to identify applicants who will become candidates.
Level Two: This level requires a written response. The Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI) has developed eight roles that categorize the competencies that all building leaders should be able to demonstrate. In this instance, the focus is on selecting principals. Each candidate will be required to describe his or her experience with two of the eight competencies; one of the competencies must be instructional leadership. The remaining competency is chosen by the candidate.
Scoring of the written responses involves at least three Regional Executive Directors utilizing a scoring rubric. Based upon the composite score, Human Resources and the Regional Executive Directors determine a minimum score to identify candidates who become semi-finalists.
Reference checks and past employment experiences of the candidates identified as semi-finalists will be conducted at the completion of this level.
Level Three: The panel interview takes place at this stage. During the interview, the semi-finalists respond to questions posed by a panel of parents, community members, business partners to the school, a principal, the Regional Executive Director for the school and an HR representative.
Based upon the composite score, the respective Regional Executive Director and Human Resources determine the minimum score to identify semi-finalists who become finalists.
Level Four: This stage involves the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) and is twofold: (1) finalists complete a performance task and (2) finalists participate in an interview with the Deputy Superintendent for C&I and the Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement and Leadership. The Deputy Superintendent for C&I will recommend a list of finalists to the Superintendent.
Level Five: The Superintendent will make a final recommendation to the Board of Education.
Note: At each level, the candidates are scored and the scores are used to identify which candidates will advance to the next level.