New Pope Principal Has East Cobb Ties
Robert Downs, currently the Lost Mountain Middle School principal, has been an administrator at Wheeler and Sprayberry.
The Cobb Board of Education voted Thursday night to appoint Lost Mountain Middle School principal Robert Downs as the new principal at Pope High School.
Downs was an assistant principal at both Wheeler High School and Sprayberry High School before being named to his current post at the Kennesaw school.
He succeeds Rick Beaulieu, who recently was named an area assistant superintendent for the Cobb County School District.
Pope students, parents and staff have "a fine new principal in Dr. Robert Downs," said school board member David Banks, who represents the Pope district. "I think you're going to be very pleased with what you're getting in the Pope High School community."
Downs is a University of Georgia graduate who holds advanced degrees from the University of West Georgia and earned his doctorate in education from Lincoln Memorial University. He has been a technology integration specialist for the Cobb school sysytem and also taught history at Sprayberry.
In his new position, Beaulieu will oversee operations in Area 6, which includes the Harrison, Hillgrove and McEachern districts of West Cobb and its feeder schools.
Another Pope administrator is leaving, as the board on Thursday accepted the resignation of assistant principal Steven Craft, effective June 15. Craft also had served as Pope's athletics director.
Walton Charter Renewed; Smyrna's Rejected
School board members voted 7-0 to renew the charter for East Cobb's Walton High School, but rejected a petition by a 4-3 vote for the proposed Smyrna Academy of Excellence on financial grounds.
"What I struggle with is separating the passion and the facts," vice chairman David Morgan told a crowded board meeting room full of SAE supporters. "If we approve the charter, the numbers don't add up. The superintendent and his administrators are saying that it is not a sound financial plan to sustain this school.”
Morgan, chairman Scott Sweeney of East Cobb, Allison Bartlett and Kathleen Angelucci were the board members voting against, with Smyrna-area representative Tim Stultz, Lynnda Eagle and David Banks voting in favor.
A packed house of SAE supporters included many pleading for approval by bringing their children to the podium during the public comment session.
"People move to East Cobb because of the schools," said parent Anshika Karamchandani, who holds an MBA degree from MIT and had her young daughter by her side. "We want the same for South Cobb."
The SAE proposal calls for starting a K-6th grade program with 670 students for the 2013-14 school year, adding a grade level each year through 12th grade. The organizers have received nearly $600,000 in community pledges and have been invited to apply for grants totalling nearly $13 million.
But the funding levels per pupil would be far less -- around $5,900 compared to the standard district average of nearly $8,000. And SAE chairman Jimmy Arispe admitted that the group had only $5,000 in reserves.
"We can do it on the 59," said Arispe, a former Cobb schools teacher and adminstrator, referring to the per-pupil expenditutre. "It's going to be a squeeze, but I know we can do it."
That wasn't enough to satisfy Sweeney, worried that teachers "are working harder for less money" as it is. "We want people to be successful, but I have financial questions. These are very, very deep concerns."
For more coverage of the SAE issue, visit Smyrna-Vinings Patch.
Chief Financial Officer
The school board also approved Hinojosa's recommendation to hire Brad Johnson, currently the deputy chief financial officer for Atlanta Public Schools, to succeed retiring chief financial officer Mike Addison.
Johnson has been in his current position since 2010 and has been with the Atlanta school district since 1989. He has worked as an accountant in the private sector for the Ivan Allen Co., Enstar Communications and United Parcel Service.
His appointment is effective Oct. 1.
- Hightower Trail Middle School assistant administrator Pamela Cain becomes assistant principal at Compton Elementary School.
- Campbell High School assistant principal Angela Crisler has been appointed to the same position at Hightower Trail Middle School.