Deaths of Note Atlanta Public Schools

Published on March 3rd, 2015 |

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Former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, 68, dies of cancer

Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly L. Hall, who was the central figure in the school test-cheating scandal since 2009, died Monday of breast cancer at the age of 68. She had been excused from testifying during the recent trial due to her illness.

Beverly Hall

Beverly Hall

Hall, who had a reputation as an education reformer, led the Atlanta Public Schools from 1999 to 2011. But in the end, she still faced criminal charges for her alleged role in falsifying students’ scores on state achievement tests.

Hall had strongly denied wrongdoing, but faced a prison sentence as long as 45 years for racketeering and other offenses if she had been tried and found guilty through the jury trial process which she managed to avoid due to her health.

She died more than a year after her lawyers announced the breast cancer for which she was treated in 2004 had returned and that she was too ill to stand trial.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that no details were immediately available about the circumstances of her death or of funeral plans. Hall’s survivors include her husband, Luis, and a son, Jason.

With the criminal case unresolved, Hall’s death leaves her many admirers and critics without a final verdict on her legacy, the AJC reported.

To some, she was a visionary who raised standards and modernized Atlanta schools with a mantra of “no exceptions, no excuses.” To others, she most resembled a Mafia boss who demanded fealty from subordinates while perpetrating a massive, self-serving academic fraud.

Hall already was known as an innovator in urban education when she arrived in Atlanta, and she spent the next dozen years polishing that image, the AJC reported. She spoke continually of her “data-driven” teaching strategies and the “remarkable turnaround” she led in the city’s long-struggling schools.

Hall’s stature peaked in 2009, when she was named National Superintendent of the Year — for school administrators, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize, the AJC reported. The award was largely based on the school district’s improved scores on standardized tests.

The same year, however, the authenticity of those scores came under withering scrutiny.

To read the entire AJC story of Halls ups and downs as APS superintendent, click here.

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