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New DeKalb superintendent releases plan of action

New DeKalb superintendent releases plan of action

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- At a district-wide meet and greet in late August, then-incoming superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson told parents she wanted to hit the ground running - promising better communication and a thorough district-wide review.

In her first day on the job, she took steps toward fulfilling both of those promises.

Dr. Atkinson released a 90-day plan detailing steps to audit the district's leadership, departments and programs.

READ: Dr. Atkinson's complete 90-day plan

She also visited six schools, touring the building and meeting with each principal. Her goal is to visit each school in the district.

Dr. Atkinson inherits a district under review by SACS. She comes on the heels of former superintendent Crawford Lewis, who was indicted on racketeering charges.

7 named to Deal's immigration review board

7 named to Deal's immigration review board

ATLANTA -- Seven people have been appointed to a newly created board to look into complaints about state and local officials failing to comply with state laws related to immigration.

The Immigration Enforcement Review Board was created by the state's tough new law targeting illegal immigration.

Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal are Americans for Immigration Control spokesman Phil Kent, former Fulton County GOP chairman Shawn Hanley and lawyer Ben Vinson. Appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle are Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin and Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. Appointed by House Speaker David Ralston are lawyer Robert Mumford and Colquitt County Commissioner Terry Clark.

The board will have the power to investigate complaints, hold hearings, subpoena documents and witnesses, and take disciplinary action.

DEKALB: Atkinson hired as new superintendent

DEKALB: Atkinson hired as new superintendent

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- With a 6-to-3 vote, Dr. Cheryl Atkinson has been hired as the new DeKalb County School Superintendent.

Monday morning's school board meeting was so divisive three board members walked out while one of their colleagues criticized the selection.

"Why did we reject other candidates with better records?" asked Nancy Jester, one of the school board members who voted against Atkinson.

"I'm proud of the selection," said board member Dr. Eugene Walker. "There are novices on the board who declare themselves experts on school systems."

All of the board members have said they would support Atkinson now that she has been approved as superintendent.

Atkinson gained support from parents after a frank question and answer session over the weekend.

Future DeKalb superintendent promises district-wide review, communication

Future DeKalb superintendent promises district-wide review, communication

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- In a Saturday morning meet-and-greet session with DeKalb County parents, superintendent finalist Dr. Cheryl Atkinson promised to turn the district around, beginning with a top to bottom review within her first 90 days on the job.

She also promised better communication, announcing plans to organize "fireside chats" with principals, teachers and parents.

"I'm also going to be in the schools," she said. "You can't run effectively a school district from behind the desk. I want to see first hand what's going on in our schools."

ACVB extends CEO's contract

ACVB extends CEO's contract

ATLANTA -- William Pate will remain at the helm of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau for at least a few more years.

The ACVB executive board voted Wednesday to extend Pate's contract until Dec. 31, 2015.

The new contract includes an increase in salary from $316,000 to $395,000 and a one-time bonus of $85,000 "for exceeding expectations," according to ACVB chairman Ben Shanley.

Other changes to the contract include a reinstatement of annual payments to the supplemental retirement plan and the removal of a $200,000 additional incentive.

"I am enjoying the industry and the people," said Pate, who became president and CEO in 2009. "More importantly, we're making an impact."

Before joining the ACVB, Pate was the chief marketing officer for BellSouth Corp.

APS billed over $125,000 for Hall's legal fees

APS billed over $125,000 for Hall's legal fees

ATLANTA -- 11Alive News has learned that former Atlanta Public Schools superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall racked up more than $125,000 in legal bills in her final months on the job as the state investigation into cheating neared its conclusion.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: CRCT Cheating Investigation

According to legal invoices obtained through an Open Records request made by 11Alive, the law firm Jones Day billed the school system $74,152.74 for the month of May alone.

Dr. Hall's legal bills for the months of March, April and May totalled $127,386.46.

Beverly Hall pens column for Education Week magazine

Beverly Hall pens column for Education Week magazine

ATLANTA -- Former Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall authored a column in Education Week, an industry magazine for educators, saying the APS cheating scandal is not the "whole" story.

"There is no excuse for cheating, and I deeply regret that I did not do more to prevent it," Hall said in the column.

RELATED: Read Hall's column

She went on to point out gains she says the school system was able to push over the course of her tenure.