As reported first by Reporter Newspapers this morning, Dr. Howard Taylor, the current principal at North Atlanta High School, has tendered his resignation. See all the stories and updates here and here.
Patricia Israel who is a parent of a student at Sutton and deeply involved in activities in the NAHS Cluster wrote an email to the APS administration and copied many parents in the area. The sense of loss to the community, APS and the students shown in the email is palpable. The email below is published with permission and in its entirety.
Dr. Burks & Dr. Davis,
I learned today that Dr. Taylor resigned from NAHS to accept a position at Gwinnett. This news has shocked me as well as the community in which I reside. We have heard Dr. Taylor say multiple times how much he cares for the students, will do whatever he can to get NAHS to where it needs to be for the good of all and is committed to this cluster. His work ethic/dedication and interest in supporting all students has been incredible as he works endlessly throughout the day/night/weekends committed to excellence in the classroom which is our District motto. Given his track record this year, it seemed abrupt that he would then go back to Gwinnett when he had stated over and over how much he was ready for this challenge and saw this as phenomenal opportunity. However, I do not know the details and have only heard many rumors which unfortunately is not helpful in any situation. It is my hope as a previous HR professional, past Co-PTA President, NAPPS Board Member and parent dedicated to public schools that APS has attempted to talk him into staying as he is the face of NAHS and represents where our District is headed for the good of all students.
However, if after trying to convince him to stay, it is not an option then this is an example of a dire need for our District to proactively address this issue with our local community in a very transparent manner. I do not know if APS fully understands how much this community rallied behind Dr. Taylor, loved his vision and plans for the school in support of all students. It is imperative everyone works together to gain direct & candid feedback from Dr. Taylor on areas where he felt limited by current systems and processes as well as credentials/experience/background for the next candidate. Dr. Taylor’s perspective is paramount as he has been heavily involved in all of our cluster schools, is the face of NAHS and embodies what is desired and needed for our students. As such gaining his “real world” perspective and making him part of the interviewing process is crucial for our District in order to select the next candidate. Again, my personal hope is that he stays!
Please recognize the community is a mix of some who have gone through emotional distresses over the Mark Mygrant departure, lack of trust in APS as well as new parents (myself included) who did not go through any of this directly but who want a quality, public education with academic rigor yet balance for the whole child as part of our local community so our students can go to a neighborhood public school K-12. This news ultimately impacts everyone, even those currently attending private schools and these parents have been eager to see the new school & meet the visionary Dr. Taylor personally to see first-hand what the rest of the community has been so excited about for our students. Understand, this community heard from him multiple times in meetings that NAHS and academic rigor for all students so everyone trusted him and APS with getting us on tract and paving the way for moving forward.
Therefore, hearing this has really shocked this community. While I personally do not know all details and my children are in 8th grade at Sutton, I write to you from the vantage point that this is a HUGE issue for our community (parents, students & teachers alike) and one that needs some quality care in addressing.
I am confident if you reach out to every PTA Co-President, LSC Team Leader and Principal in our cluster, you will find the same sentiment. It is with great hope you and our Administration as well as community can work together to make this a positive and lasting change for the good of all students in our Cluster. It is one that is long overdue, much needed and required in order to benefit all students. Dr. Taylor has a track record for doing that outside of APS and that is the caliber, dedication and knowledge we need for the future so as a District we can evolve into what this great city is about!