Two Buckhead principals announced on April 17 that they will not return to their schools next year.
North Atlanta High Principal Howard “Gene” Taylor has again announced his resignation, this time effective June 30, while Sutton Middle School Principal Audrey Sofianos announced she’s leaving on June 30, too.
Taylor previously announced in September 2013 that he was quitting to become principal at Berkmark High in Gwinnett County. Taylor had complained about micromanagement during his post at North Atlanta. After he announced he was quitting, he was offered a position with Atlanta Public Schools as a regional director. That offer was quickly overturned by the school board, but Taylor decided to stay on in his original role as principal.
While Taylor did not indicate why he is leaving in a letter to the school community that announced his resignation, Sutton said in an eblast to Sutton Middle School families that she’s resigning to focus on health and family and cannot continue in a full-time role.
Below is Taylor’s letter:
Dear Warrior Parents, Students and Community,
I am writing to share with you that I will not be signing a contract with Atlanta Public Schools to continue in the role of principal for next year. Effective June 30, 2014, I will resign the position of Principal of North Atlanta High School.
While more work needs to be done, we have made much progress during our time together. Having reached an 80% 4-year graduation rate in 2013, with approximately half of our students receiving federally subsidized meals, North Atlanta High School has achieved one of the highest graduation rates in the state, but especially among Title I schools. North Atlanta is significantly closing the achievement gap between students in the black and white subgroups, with students in our white subgroup achieving an 85.7% and students in our black subgroup achieving an 80.4% 4-year graduation rate. Our students in the Hispanic subgroup are not only outperforming Hispanic students in APS and Georgia, but with a 4-year graduation rate of 66.7%, Hispanic students at North Atlanta High School have achieved agraduation rate higher than the APS system average and just 4.8% lower than the average 4-year graduation rate for Georgia. Additionally, while one is hard-pressed to find a factor more negatively related to student learning than poverty, the 4-year graduation rate of 76.8% for our students in the economically disadvantaged subgroup is higher than the APS system average and the average for Georgia.This level of progress is truly impressive.
In addition to our success with graduation rates, together we have dramatically increased student participation in the Advanced Placement program, including offering five sections each in AP Biology, AP Human Geography, and AP World History this year. With 32 of the 77 full IB Diploma Program candidates earning the IB Diploma last year, we achieved a 42% Diploma achievement rate, our highest rate within at least the last five years. Of our students taking two or more IB exams last year, 97.5% scored a 4 or higher on two or more exams. With 140 rising juniors already expressing interest, we expect a dramatic increase in student participation in the IB Diploma Program for next year. The additional scaffolding of the Advanced Placement courses we are now providing these and future IB Diploma Program students is bound to lead to our greatest IBDP success yet. It is no wonder that the Washington Post has named North Atlanta High School one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” only one of three APS schools named, and the APS school with the highest ranking.
We have accomplished much during our time together, including our successful move into the new North Atlanta facility. I am deeply saddened that our time together has not been longer; however, for the remainder of our time together, I will continue to do as I have done every day since becoming your principal—give you my all toward makingNorth—the direction to EXCELLENCEfor all of our students.
You have my heart,
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