Principal Selena Dukes Walton testified Monday that she remains “very qualified” to oversee her elementary school because she had been unaware of the massive cheating by teachers on a test to determine how well they were educating students.
Walton agreed students were harmed by the cheating but told the Atlanta Public Schools tribunal she was blameless for the malfeasance at Slater Elementary School in 2009.
“I am not responsible for something I did not know about,” she said. “I’m not responsible for the teacher.”
Walton is the first principal to face an APS tribunal after a state investigation uncovered evidence that about 180 educators in the school system — including 38 principals — were involved in test cheating. As the school system’s top authority at Slater in 2009, she is accused of failing to investigate reports of cheating, failing to oversee testing to prevent widespread cheating that occurred that year at the schooland creating an environment that pressured teachers to cheat.
APS principals were under a tremendous amount of pressure to meet testing goals, according to state investigators. Under the system Beverly Hall set up when she was superintendent, principals who did not meet academic targets within three years would be replaced. Hall replaced 90 percent of principals during her tenure, according to the investigation.