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DeKalb County School Board elects new leader

DeKalb County School Board elects new leader

DECATUR, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School Board elected Dr. Melvin Johnson as chairperson of the embattled school board on Wednesday afternoon during an executive session. 

Before being named chairman, Johnson, a retired DeKalb County Deputy Superintendent, represented District 6 which includes feeder schools to both Stone Mountain and Stephenson high schools. 

Early Wednesday, DeKalb County's controversial school board members, faced with the possibility that Gov. Nathan Deal may remove them from office, have suddenly decided to fight him.

The board members have been taking steps to sue Gov. Deal to try to stop the process that could lead to their removal.

Their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Fulton Superior Court, just a block from the Georgia State Capitol, claims that the state law empowering the governor in certain circumstances to replace elected school board members violates the state constitution.

3 DeKalb schools among 2012 AP Merit Schools

3 DeKalb schools among 2012 AP Merit Schools

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Three DeKalb County high schools are among the 2012 AP Merit Schools.

The honor is given annually to U.S. high schools where at least 20 percent of students take Advanced Placement exams. Of those tests, at least half must earn a passing score of 3 or higher.

DeKalb's AP Merit Schools are Chamblee, Dunwoody and Lakeside.

The College Board, which gives AP exams every year, reported Wednesday that Georgia is the 12th state in the nation for the percentage of seniors earning passing scores on AP tests. More than 41 percent of Georgia's seniors took at least one AP exam in 2012, compared to the U.S. average of 32.4 percent.

"Georgia's students continue to outperform most of their peers throughout the country on Advanced Placement exams," State Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Barge said in a statement. "These results show that Georgia's students can compete against any students in the nation."

Teacher helps students get a second chance

Teacher helps students get a second chance

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- During a class in mass media at Elizabeth Andrews High School, teacher Christopher Cave reads a newspaper article about a 2003 murder in Atlanta where a young woman was killed by her abusive boyfriend.

It leads to a discussion on dating abuse and domestic violence.

Soon, one student talks about a brother killed because of domestic violence; another lost a friend because of it. Cave encourages the teens to discuss their personal experiences.

"I want them to learn life lessons," Cave said. "A lot of times they come to class or they sit in class and they don't really identify with what the teacher is telling them."

These students in particular -- Elizabeth Andrews High is an alternative school, for those who dropped out or couldn't make it in other schools.

First Montessori School of Atlanta changes name to ‘Springmont’

First Montessori School of Atlanta changes name to ‘Springmont’

ATLANTA -- First Montessori School of Atlanta has announced it is changing its name in 2013, the year of the school’s 50th anniversary. The move comes as the school, which is the oldest Montessori school in the Southeast, begins a yearlong series of events to celebrate its anniversary.

“We’re looking forward to moving ahead with a name (Springmont) that captures the essence of this great school,” said Patrick Burns, chairman of the board. “As the region’s oldest Montessori school that has provided this community with 50 years of enterprising education, it is time to replace what was more of a description with a true name that provides clarity and solid branding opportunities.”

Death of key witness could jeopardize DeKalb school corruption trial

Death of key witness could jeopardize DeKalb school corruption trial

DEKALB COUNTY, GA - A funeral at a Lilburn church marked the passing of Cointa Moody on Tuesday.

According to the medical examiner, the former school system employee died of natural causes.

Now there's a question about whether her death could jeopardize one of DeKalb County's biggest open corruption cases.

"I remember when I was a prosecutor, unfortunately there were cases that had to be dismissed because the state's key witness was no longer available to provide testimony in the trial," former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan told 11 Alive News.

Morgan now represents architect Tony Pope, who was indicted along with three others on bribery and corruption charges in 2010.

Those others included Pope's ex-wife and former DeKalb County School Chief Operating Officer Pat Reid, former School Superintendent Crawford Lewis and Reid's personal secretary, Cointa Moody.

Student petition to oust school board members gains momentum

Student petition to oust school board members gains momentum

ATLANTA-- One DeKalb County high school sophomore's frustration prompted her to launch a petition asking the governor to remove all the school board members.  It appears hundreds agree with her.

Grace McKenna launched her petition just days ago on change.org and already she has received more signatures that she expected.

"I had no idea it would become this big. I just thought students from my school would sign it," said McKenna.

December 17, 2012 the Southern Association of colleges and schools released a scathing report about the DeKalb County School District placing it on probation.

RELATED | DeKalb School Board comes under D.A.'s scrutiny

DeKalb School Board comes under D.A.'s scrutiny

DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County Schools were put on probation this week by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but they won't be the only ones looking into the school board.

The board is accused of mismanaging money and behaving unethically. A SACS report shows the board put the district $12 million in debt for new textbooks that were never purchased.

RELATED | DeKalb County Schools under investigation

Now the DeKalb District Attorney's office will have to figure out where that money was spent, who spent it, and whether there was any criminal activity.