Thursday, July 14, 2011

As Atlanta’s Super Star Educators Get Hired Away Across the Country, the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal Follows Them (Fort Worth)


Desoto Superintendent Facing Accusations in Cheating Scandal
By Craig Civale
Posted on July 6, 2011 at 7:02 PM
Updated Thursday, Jul 7 at 10:14 AM
• Dr. Kathy Augustine statement (pdf)

DESOTO - She has not even started yet, but newly hired DeSoto Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Augustine is already in the hot seat.

Some community leaders and one school board member want her to resign amid allegations that she was involved in while with another school district.

Augustine is accused of "misrepresenting" test scores and giving "false information" to state officials in Georgia, where she recently was an assistant superintendent for the Atlanta Public Schools.

The accusations were released in an investigative report by the Governor's office in Georgia.

It found that hundreds of teachers and administrators were involved in inflating test scores.

The investigation was underway when board trustees hired Dr. Augustine in May.

"It's a sad day in DeSoto," said DeSoto board trustee Sandra Wheeler."If it were me, I would bow out gracefully."

Wheeler voted against hiring Augustine back in May, when the investigation was underway. Wheeler said it casts a dark cloud over the district.

"With the superintendent being the face of the community, what face are we seeing," Wheeler said. "The face of someone unethical, the face of someone who falsified information?"

Kathy Augustine's first day is July 11.

Board President Warren Seay tells News 8, the board will have to meet to see if any changes will be made.

The board agreed to pay Augustine $188,000 a year as its superintendent.

Her contract also said she can be terminated for immorality, and falsifying records.
This is the Desoto ISD response to the allegations against Dr. Augustine:

DeSoto Board of Trustees Statement
President: Warren Seay, Jr.

Based on the information the District currently has, including conversations with Dr. Kathy Augustine and our review of the State of Georgia, Office of the Governor’s public investigation report, we believe that Dr. Augustine was open during the course of the investigation. Dr. Augustine has been transparent with the DeSoto ISD Board of Trustees regarding this investigation since her initial interview with the Board. And, she emphatically denies all of the allegations against her.

We are anticipating the energy and excitement that Dr. Augustine will bring to the district. Moreover, the Board has been candid about what is expected from the superintendent, and Dr. Augustine is aware that responsibility for the successes and failures, if any, in the district will always fall on her shoulders—no exceptions, no excuses.

We are one of few TEA Recognized school districts in Dallas County and we feel confident that Dr. Augustine can assist in moving DeSoto ISD towards exemplary status.

In the interim, if the district obtains any additional information that is different from what it currently knows, the information will be considered and appropriate action will be taken swiftly.


TO: Dallas Morning News
FROM: Philippa V. Ellis (Augustine’s attorney)
DATE: July 6, 2011
RE: Statement from Kathy M. Augustine, Ed.D.

The following is a statement from Kathy M. Augustine, Ed.D.:

“ I continue to be shocked and disappointed by the revelation that some Atlanta Public Schools principals and teachers (178) allegedly chose to shortchange children by acting unethically. Nothing in my experience ever prepared me for the possibility that professional educators would ever act this way and cheat students. I assure you that I was neither involved in nor aware of that kind of behavior. I care too much about children and their education to falsify, misrepresent, omit or erroneously report information. During my interviews with the DeSoto Board of Trustees, I was candid about the ongoing investigation as well as the 12 years of accomplishments according to national and state measures in the Atlanta Public Schools.
From this painful experience I have learned a hard lesson that I will apply in DeSoto ISD. That is, our testing protocols must reflect best in class security measures. My responsibility as Superintendent will not only rest with setting high standards for all but being vigilant in monitoring the adherence to processes and procedures. I am honored that the Board of Trustees has chosen me to lead the DeSoto Independent School District. I eagerly look forward to working together with the full community of DeSoto --- the board, parents, students, teachers, principals, staff and civic and business partners in the important work of providing a high quality education for all of our children.”

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