Barbara M. Jenkins, an Atlanta native and deputy superintendent of schools in Orange County, Fla., removed herself from consideration earlier in the week, said Atlanta Schools Spokesman Keith Bromery.
No reason for Jenkins’ action was giving, but a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicated that Jenkins, who has spent more than 25 years in Florida, is the heir apparent to take over the Orange County Schools when the current superintendent retires.
Along with Atkinson, the other candidate still in contention for the job is Bonita Coleman-Potter, deputy superintendent of Prince Georges County Public Schools in Maryland.
Atkinson said in a statement released shortly after the names of the finalists were released that she was contacted about the position during the same time she was in contention for the superintendent job in Cleveland.
Both jobs piqued her interest because they were of comparable size with similar educational challenges and opportunities.
After an exhaustive search, Cleveland did not hire any of the external candidates for the job and instead appointed its chief academic officer, Eric Gordon, as its new chief executive officer.
Bromery said plans are in the works to have Atkinson and Coleman-Potter return to Atlanta mid-week next week for follow-up interviews and to meet the public. The dates and times of those activities have not yet been finalized, he said.