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Six More APS Educators Plead Guilty in Cheating Scandal

APS' Downtown headquarters. PHOTO CREDIT: Péralte Paul
APS' Downtown headquarters. PHOTO CREDIT: Péralte Paul

From Staff Reports

Six more Atlanta Public Schools educators, including a former principal, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the district's cheating scandal, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said Monday

Among them:

  • Clarietta Davis, former principal of Venetian Hills Elementary School
  • Starlette Mitchell, former Parks Middle School teacher
  • Kimberly Oden, former Parks Middle School teacher
  • Derrick Broadwater, former Dobbs Elementary School teacher, 
  • Gloria Ivey,  former Dunbar Elementary School teacher
  • Carol Dennis, former Kennedy Middle School secretary

Davis, Mitchell, Oden, Broadwater, Ivey and Dennis were among 35 educators, including former — and now disgraced — Superintendent Beverly Hall indicted in March of 2013 for their roles in a conspiracy to alter Criterion Referenced Competency Test scores within APS.

Each was charged with false statements and writings, theft by taking and violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Davis pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making false statements. She was sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

She also must repay $500.00 for bonus money she received.

Mitchell and Oden each pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction. Each admitted to changing students’ CRCT answers from right to wrong — Mitchell in 2007, 2008, and 2009 and Oden in 2009.

The pair were sentenced to one year probation and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. Mitchell also must also pay restitution in the amount of $3,000.00 for bonus money she received.

Broadwater, also admitted to test cheating while he was employed as a teacher at Dobbs. He received a sentence of one year probation and 350 hours of community service after entering a guilty plea to a misdemeanor obstruction count.

Likewise, former Dunbar Elementary teacher Gloria Ivey pleaded guilty to obstruction and was sentenced to one year on probation and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

Dennis, the Kennedy Middle secretary who admitted changing CRCT answers, pleaded guilty to obstruction as well and was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

With her guilty plea, Davis becomes the second principal to admit culpability in connection to the cheating scandal, the worst in the nation's history.

Davis said Hall knew, or should have known, cheating was occurring in APS because she had access to all the testing data, the DA's office said.

Despite Hall’s knowledge of students’ true abilities, Davis said the former superintendent continued to pressure on her and other administrators to boost test scores without ever offering solutions to address students’ academic deficiencies.

In December, Armstead Salters, veteran principal of Gideons Elementary, became the first principal and highest ranking indicted official at the time to plead guilty in the case. He is also the only other person to plead guilty to a felony charge.

To date, two principals, an assistant principal, ten teachers, three testing coordinators and one secretary have pleaded guilty in connection with the case---bringing the total of guilty pleas to 17.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter, who is presiding over the case, has extended the deadline for negotiated pleas to January 24, 2014.

The trial is scheduled to begin this May.

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