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Posted by on October 6, 2012.

Buckhead: APS removes North Atlanta High leadership (UPDATE)

Things got messy in a hurry at North Atlanta High School on Friday afternoon after APS reassigned the senior leadership and removed the interim principal, amid allegations he recommended hiring two “racist” employees.

Mark MyGrant, the outgoing principal who was serving on an interim basis, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that security did not escort him off campus on Oct. 5, contrary to earlier reports. Security showed up at the school with the interim HR director and told him to pack up and leave immediately.

MyGrant told the AJC he suspected security would’ve shown him the door, but he saved them the trouble, gathering his things and leaving through the back door. MyGrant was going to retire, but APS took longer than expected choosing his replacement. MyGrant told the AJC he suspects the decision was based on charges that he recommended hiring two “racist” employees.

To read MyGrant’s full interview with the AJC, click here.

Stephen Alford, spokesman for APS, disputed earlier reports about the details of MyGrant’s departure and said allegations of racism weren’t a factor.

Alford said incoming principal Howard Taylor didn’t ask APS to reassign the school’s leadership, saying APS wanted to give Taylor the opportunity to choose his own team.

“We had to do this now,” Alford said. “We can’t wait a full year to transition to new leadership.”

Alford said he didn’t think there was any way APS could’ve softened the blow for parents.

“We get it, nobody likes change, nobody wants their apple cart shaken, but the truth is we’re moving into a $100 million new building next year,” Alford said. “They demand excellence from us. We’re going to demand excellence from the people that are leading our schools.”

The changes surprised parents and they are planning a community meeting in response.

Former Sarah Smith Elementary principal Sid Baker will serve as interim until Taylor takes over as principal later this month.

According to a letter posted by Thenortherneronline.com, the student news website, all of the school’s academy leaders and Assistant Principal Melissa Gautreaux have been moved to other schools. Superintendent Erroll Davis posted a letter to parents on the school’s website, but gives no reason for staff shake up.

“Thank you in advance for your support during this transition,” Davis wrote.  “It’s a new day at North Atlanta and we are excited about Dr. Taylor and the leadership that he will bring to our school.”

District 4 Board of Education Member Nancy Meister said she had no prior knowledge of the decision to remove MyGrant and reassign the leadership team.

“I do not agree or support this decision or the way it was handled,” Meister said. “I was apprised of the situation after the fact.”

Read the full letter here.

The student newspaper reports that parents were caught completely off guard by the move.

The Buckhead Reporter will provide additional details as they become available.

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