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The Atlanta Board of Education is closer to finding a superintendent to lead the district. Yesterday, three candidates were presented to a community panel that provided feedback and insight on the final candidates to the board.

The process, which Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates (HYA) manages, has been notoriously secret. However, due to sources close to the search, Education in Atlanta has been able to confirm the names of three candidates who have emerged as the final three candidates: Mohammed Choudhury from the Maryland Department of Education, Dr. Calvin J. Watts from Gwinnett County Schools in Georgia, and Dr. Byron Johnson, the former superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. 

Mohammed Choudhury, who was the Maryland State Superintendent, now works as a full-time senior adviser for the State Board of Education in Maryland. Before his time in MA, Choudbury was the Chief Strategy, Talent, and Innovation Officer at the San Antonio Independent School District. 

Dr. Calvin Watts currently serves as the Superintendent of Gwinnett County Schools, the largest school district in Georgia with 182,000 students. He came to Gwinnett in 2021 and had his contract renewed for a second time in March 2023. In an exclusive report to the AJC, a spokesman for Dr. Watts confirmed he was pursued to interview for the top job in Atlanta. 

Dr. Byron Johnson was the former superintendent for Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga until 2021 and currently works as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Strategy Officer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The search for the next leader at Atlanta Public Schools started when it was announced that Dr. Lisa Herring’s contract would not be renewed in the summer of 2023. In August 2023, it was announced that Dr. Danielle S. Battle would be interim superintendent through June 2024. Amid a school board election where two board members were replaced, Dr. Battle and her team have announced a focus on literacy, slimming down Central Office staff, and introduced a historic 11% raise for teachers.

In April 2024, it was announced that Battle’s contract was extended through the end of 2024 as the Atlanta Board of Education extended the search for another superintendent to ensure “the most suitable candidate to fulfill our obligations.” 

The Atlanta Board of Education maintained in a statement that they are focused on selecting the best candidates.

“We are proud to remain transparent throughout this process and confident it will allow the Atlanta Board of Education to select the best-fit leader for APS students, teachers, staff and the community. Per state law, we must continue to keep all names confidential until the process has been completed to protect the candidates’ anonymity and their current employment.”

According to the timeline provided by the Board, the new superintendent is expected to start July 1, 2024.

Note: At the time of publication, Dr. Calvin Watts sent an email to all Gwinnett County parents and staff reiterating that “his home with with Gwinnett County Public Schools, and I will continue to serve as your superintendnet.”

At the time of this publication, we reached out to all candidates for a statement.

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