Just as quickly as Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms offered the position of chief education officer, she yanked the offer back from the person who has already been hired to fill the role, reportedly because of resistance from within the Atlanta Public School system.

Atlanta native Aliya Bhatia, 30, a Harvard University graduate from the world-renowned John F. Kennedy School of Government, was to become the first Chief Education Officer in the history of the city of Atlanta.

In fact, Bhatia had already moved back to the metro area, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. This was part of the newly-elected mayor’s pledge to create the cabinet-level to work as an intermediary between the mayor’s office and APS to improve education for students

“Quality education can transform lives,” Bottoms said in a press release. “Aliya Bhatia’s experience, passion and commitment to creating high-quality, accessible educational opportunities will allow her to effectively partner with (Atlanta Public Schools) and other education and industry leaders from throughout the community as we work to improve access to education and training for all of our children and residents.”

Bhatia has not responded to the media’s request for her response to Bottoms’ reversal.


Overall, Georgia ranks in the bottom half of America’s public school systems, “U.S. News & World Report” reports. The state came in at No. 38 on the list and ranked 36th and 38th in quality and safety, respectively. That’s a three-spot drop from last year’s overall No. 35 spot. Fulton County, which houses Atlanta, has the state’s fourth-largest school system behind contiguous counties of Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb.


Bottoms’ campaign platform included her proclamation to bring on an educational connoisseur to augment the city’s educational quality, but it was reportedly not received positively Atlanta Public Schools’ leadership, with some sniping that it would increase the bureaucracy at Atlanta City Hall.

Bhatia is an alum from Teach for America before being an associate and consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. She procured her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard, which was punctuated by her efforts on workforce development and worked on projects for both the City of Atlanta Department of Performance and Innovation and Enterprise Community Partners Southeast.

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