Ten-hunh! APS admin demanded attention, witness says

1:45 AM, Aug 30, 2013   |    comments
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Tamara Cotman is a former APS regional director, on trial for intimidating a witness in the cheating scandal.

ATLANTA-- A demoted school principal told a Fulton County jury that defendant Tamara Cotman wanted students to stand at attention when she walked through an Atlanta public school.

"She was upset" that the students didn't know who she was, said former Harper-Archer Middle school interim principal Allison Marks says when Cotman visited her school, she expected the students to know it. "She felt like they should stand at attention" when she came down the hall, Marks said. "Her point was they should be respectful of her presence in the building."

Much of the day's testimony was about what Cotman didn't like, as a high-level administrator who supervised school principals in APS. Marks and principal Caitlin Sims told the jury Cotman let them know she didn't like the GBI investigation into cheating on standardized tests.

"I felt like we were being coached into an adversarial stance with the GBI and it was tremendously uncomfortable," Sims told jurors, her voice breaking.

Cotman has pleaded not guilty to influencing a witness in the state investigation into the cheating scandal -- where teachers and others altered answers on students' standardized tests to bring up school scores.

But the day's testimony was also about Cottman's style as a manager of school principals, a style Cotman's own attorney described as "harsh."

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