I moved to Rockaway in 1979 but never paid much attention to the local school stuff in District 27 other than to read The Wave's Howie Schwach's reports in his School Scope columns (I took over the column when Howie became Wave editor over a decade ago.)
Howie left the paper after Hurricane Sandy and how has an online presence reporting on Rockaway events.
Here is Howie reporting on Hall's death and recalling events around her superintendency almost 25 years ago. Scandals in District 27 and other districts helped bring the death-knell of community control and the rise of the even more disastrous Bloomberg mayoral control. In fact, controls were being put in place to control these scandals when community control was killed. I would go back to that a modified version of that system in an instant.
Dr. Beverly Hall, former CSD 27, dies of cancerPosted at 4:45 p.m. on March 6
Dr. Beverly Hall, the woman who sparked a contentious battle for the superintendence of Rockaway’s School District 27 in the early 1990’s and later led the Atlanta (Georgia) schools when it was hit by a massive test cheating scandal died of cancer on March 2 at the age of 68.
She will be memorialized at a service to be held on March 28 at 10 a.m. at Trinity St. John’s Church, 1142 Broadway in Hewlett.
Many who worked in Rockaway schools at that time will remember Hall as a tough boss who brought the Carnegie Middle School Reorganization Program to the district.
The battle between Hall and several other candidates for the position of School District 27 Superintendent quickly became racially-tinged and contentious with now- State Senator James Sanders, who was then the president of the school board, tainted by a vote-swapping plan to give Hall the job.
Hall, then the principal of a Brooklyn public school had been nominated by Sanders, as the new superintendent of schools for the district. There were a number of other candidates, both black and white, and the district, in the wake of a contentious school board scandal in which three members were indicted for crimes that danced around racism and cronyism, was sensitive to the issues.
Hall is black and many black parents demanded a minority superintendent for the district’s schools, which included Rockaway, Broad Channel and a large chunk of the mainland as well.
Hall won a contentious election when one board member was removed for trading votes and others were charged with unethical acts. The entire scenario was one that forced to city to do away with school boards and go to the community education council model that still exists today.
In 1994, Hall left to lead the city’s special programs. Then, she went to the Newark Public Schools as superintendent. From there, in 1999, she went to Atlanta, Georgia and made history be being indicted in a cheating scandal. She resigned from the Atlanta schools in disgrace in 2010, after being named National Superintendent of the Year” the prior year. Hall was charged, along with dozens of teachers and administrators.
Hall pled not guilty to a racketeering charge and other lesser counts. Because she was battling cancer, however, she was deemed unfit to stand trial, and her case was continued even as the others went on trial last year.