New North Atlanta High School principal talks first to CBS Atlan - CBS46 News

New North Atlanta High School principal talks first to CBS Atlanta News

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The new principal at North Atlanta High School, Gene Taylor, said that even though he got a late start as principal at the school, it's a brand new day.

In the weeks before his arrival, the entire administrative team at the high school was dismissed.

This caused an uproar within the parent and student community.

Taylor said the show of support for the former administration doesn't faze him.

"I guess I didn't really reflect on, 'Am I intimidated or am I not intimidated?'" Taylor said. "I am who I am, and I was hired to do a job, and the job really is very important."

Taylor said he knows that he is coming into a school where parents have very uncertain feelings, especially after allegations of grade changing at the high school have come up.

But Taylor said he is simply trying to move forward.

"It is as if for me that none of this happened. And that's probably appropriate," Taylor said. "Because this, the situation that happened before me, it's not my situation. My situation is where we're going."

He credits good parental involvement in helping make his transition smoother, even if he did get a very late start to the year by starting on Oct. 29.

"I've worked in very transient schools where kids are coming and going because of their life situation, their parents' life situation," Taylor said. "Every day is a new day. Every day is a new beginning start, so to me, whether you're starting in July or September - that's a beginning."

Taylor has his work cut out for him.

North Atlanta High did not meet its Adequate Yearly Progress test numbers last year. And its graduation rate was 88.5 percent.

Taylor said he wants to spend time learning about struggling students.

"Why are you disengaged? Why are you not completing assignments? Why are you not showing up to school?" Taylor said. "To get to the bottom of that. Because a lot of those 'whys' are probably beyond the child's control."

Some parents have criticized the school's lack of challenging courses, something Taylor hopes to change.

"I will be honest, I am, I was surprised that we didn't have advanced placement biology in ninth grade, that we don't have advanced placement human geography," said Taylor, whose expertise is in social studies.

As for the grade-changing allegations, Taylor could not comment on the investigation, or how many students could possibly be affected.

But he did say that he will keep a close eye on grades.

"We as administrators have to be in the curriculum planning meetings, we've got to be in classes, we've got to be involved in the benchmark assessment creation, the monitoring the measuring of learning," Taylor said. "When those grades come in, there should be no surprises."

Taylor has already hired an assistant principal, and is working on hiring the rest of his administrative team. He said that once the team is assembled, he will put together a meet-and-greet for community members.

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