Published: Jun 29, 2011 8:28 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 29, 2011 7:28 PM EDT

ATLANTA (AP) - Longtime Atlanta schools chief Beverly Hall has been lauded nationally as a leader for turning around struggling urban districts.

But the 64-year-old Hall leaves office this week amid allegations of widespread cheating in the Atlanta system and accusations that she ordered a cover up of test tampering. The district has denied the allegations against Hall.

It's not quite the ending Hall's supporters imagined for her nearly 12-year career as superintendent of the 50,000-student district.

Hall's actions are being scrutinized as part of a yearlong criminal investigation into the cheating allegations. A state report showed high numbers of erasures on standardized tests given to Atlanta students in 2009.

And the district faces losing accreditation after school board squabbles over the cheating scandal led to the system being put on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)