DESOTO (CBSDFW.COM) – She won’t officially start work until next week but the new DeSoto Independent School District Superintendent is already under a cloud of suspicion.
New hire Dr. Kathy Augustine comes to DeSoto from the Atlanta, Georgia school system.
Earlier this week the Georgia Governor’s office issued a report naming Augustine as one of the school administrators suspected of giving investigators false information in their probe of massive test cheating.
DeSoto school board trustee Sandra Wheeler, who voted against hiring Augustine back in May, says the district has no business hiring anyone who is under suspicion.
“You can’t even be a police officer, you can’t be a firefighter, you can’t even be teacher and go and get a job when you’re under investigation,” said Wheeler. “So tell me why our kids don’t deserve the same thing?”
Allegations of cheating surfaced in 2010 when suspicious erasures on standardized tests, at two-thirds of Atlanta’s public elementary and middle schools, became public.
Dr. Augustine informed DeSoto Board Trustees of the ongoing investigation during her job interview, but Wheeler says the information released since then has her very concerned. “The governor’s report that actually points the finger at her and discusses what she did and didn’t do – that’s what’s new,” she said. “Before they were all merely accusations, they were speculations.”
On July 6, through her attorneys, Dr. Augustine issued a statement that said, in part, “Nothing in my experience ever prepared me for the possibility that professional educators would ever act this way and cheat students. I assure you that I was neither involved in nor aware of that kind of behavior. I care too much about children and their education to falsify, misrepresent, omit or erroneously report information.”
Dr. Augustine, who served as associate superintendent of instruction for the Atlanta Public Schools, was hired to head the DeSoto ISD for $188,000 a year. Her first day on the job will be July 11.