Sabrina Hayes Interim principal
Sabrina Hayes Interim principal

Principal David White’s departure from E. Rivers Elementary is temporary, the school’s acting principal and parents say.

The principal received the Atlanta Public Schools’ equivalent of a battlefield promotion during the summer. He left the Buckhead school located at 8 Peachtree Battle Ave. to head up School Reform Team 4, replacing Tamara Cotman, who reportedly was accused in a investigator’s report of giving false information in the Atlanta schools cheating scandal.

The school’s website still lists him as a member of the school staff. His former assistant Sabrina Hayes has taken over his duties, and said White can’t come back quickly enough.

Hayes said White was an obvious choice to fill the job until school leaders find a permanent replacement for Cotman.

“He has experience working with schools in the south side and north side,” Hayes said.

“He’s very efficient and knows how to make things happen. He’s an all-around great guy.”

The mother of three said it’s hard to juggle the duties of being the leader of a growing elementary school and being a mom.

“I miss him because we work really well together,” Hayes said. “It’s fine, but I’m still ready for him to return when the chance arises.”

White indicated that he’s also finding little spare time in his new role. White said via e-mail Aug. 23 that he would be unable to answer questions about when he might return to the school.

“Unbelievably busy,” he said in a short message.

Parents said Hayes provided a seamless dtransition in leadership, saying problems outside their control that are the biggest headaches this year.

The school enrolled 630 students, and the school system temporarily put portable trailers on the school’s field to handle the overcrowding.

APS spokesman Keith Bromery said the school system is in the process of removing them, determining that they were not needed.

Still, there are other symptoms of the school’s need for additional space, parents said. The school’s auditorium is currently divided into classrooms, parents and school officials said.

Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011 - 2014. He is the founder and editor of