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Education

Ex-Atlanta School Superintendent, Charged In Cheating Case, Dies At 68

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Last fall, educators in Atlanta, 13 in all, went on trial in a widespread school cheating scandal. Now, one of the central figures in that scandal has died. Beverly Hall was Atlanta's Public Schools' superintendent, and she was once credited with turning around some of the city's lowest-performing schools. From member station WABE, Rose Scott has more.

ROSE SCOTT, BYLINE: No jury will decide if Beverly Hall was guilty of racketeering, theft by taking or making false swearing or writings. Hall died on Monday. She had stage four breast cancer. Last year, the presiding judge agreed to delay Hall's trial while she underwent treatment. Still, in the courtroom, where the other educators are on trial, prosecutors set out to reveal a culture of fear and pressure existed under Hall.

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FANI WILLIS: Because two open secrets were known in Atlanta Public Schools. One was people were cheating. The other was telling is not really a good career advancement.

SCOTT: That's prosecutor Fani Willis. Once the trial got underway, no one testified Hall gave direct orders to cheat. The district's former human resources director, who took a plea deal, did say Hall ordered the shredding of a cheating report. After Hall's 2013 indictment, her attorney Richard Deane said she only had expectations of setting high standards and goals if properly pursued.

RICHARD DEANE: It was to the advantage and to the benefit of the children, and that's what she was attempting to do.

SCOTT: In a statement, the Atlanta Public Schools credited Hall with garnering more than $40 million in academic grants. In 2009, she was named national superintendent of the year. Beverly Hall was 68 years old. For NPR News, I'm Rose Scott in Atlanta. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.