April 24, 2014

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DeKalb board OKs Atkinson’s resignation

LORAIN — Cheryl Atkinson’s separation agreement from DeKalb County Schools was approved Friday night.

Atkinson served as Lorain Schools superintendent from 2007 to 2011 and was hired by DeKalb County Schools in Georgia in August 2011.

In a 5-4 vote, the DeKalb County Board of Education accepted Atkinson’s resignation effective immediately.

According to DeKalb County Schools spokesperson Lillian Govus, some people were shocked with Atkinson’s decision to leave after serving as superintendent in the district only since Aug. 29, 2011.

“We have a school district that serves 99,000-plus students, so I am sure some people were shocked,” Govus said.

According to a statement released by the district, the school board and Atkinson each determined and believed that it was “in the best interest of all concerned that there be a mutual separation.”

Govus said Atkinson did not give a reason for her departure, but that the two parties agreed to the mutual separation.

However, Govus said Atkinson was experiencing family issues.

“She recently had a loss in her family, so I believe she will be taking some time to deal with that appropriately,” Govus said.

Atkinson was not present at the meeting Friday night.

For the next five months, Atkinson will receive $22,916.66 per month, for a total of $114,583.33. Payment will cease at the end of June 2013.

As part of the separation agreement, Atkinson agreed to refrain from making any public or private statements.

The interim superintendent for DeKalb County Schools is Michael Thurmond. Thurmond is a well-known attorney, author, lecturer and public servant in the district.

“He is familiar with the district and is from Georgia,” Govus said.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.