In an effort to help voters prepare for the Nov. 7 elections, Atlanta Loop sent questions to candidates running for Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Mayor and Atlanta School Board. Early voting begins Oct. 16. To see district maps, click here. Note: This Q&A was received after our Sept. 18 deadline to submit answers. We will not run any new Q&A’s after Oct. 16.
1) Why are you running for Atlanta School Board?
As a husband and father of 4, I personally know how important it is to have access to quality education. Also as a business owner, real estate broker and community activist I understand the impact that educational options for our children can positvely or negatively impact our communities. I have chosen to run for APS Board of Education-Dist. 5 to bridge the gap between the needs of our children, teachers and staff that support them- and the resources available in our community to insure a viable and effective educational system for our youth.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
Of all the candidates running for Dist. 5, I was the first to declare. Even before word got out that the Incumbent was not seeking re-election, I had made the commitment. To me this speaks volumes to my abilility to make decisions early when it may not be popular. Also of the candidates running, I am personally the most heavily vested in the District. I have 2 children currently in APS, and will have a pre-k starting next year. In my earnest opinion, it is very difficult to match the passion I have for this job unless you have children that these APS decisions directly affect.
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
The city it represents. Atlanta is named in many, if not all, circles as a top destination in the US. For many reasons, short of education, people from all over seek to make Atlanta their home. Our education system should match and exceed national standards and be on the short list of reasons why families with or without children choose Atlanta.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Overcoming the reputation it has garnered in the city and beyond in the areas of teacher morale, ethics, and financial budgeting. In a city as attractive and promising as Atlanta, our education system must be at the pinnacle of the city’s success.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
I believe APS is slowly opening up to new ideas that show hope. I would focus on connecting with the community and establishing better rapport and trust with the teachers, which truly are the system’s lifeline. This approach will give us the proper insight on the passion points that matter most to our children and families our District supports.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
I want to first start with building better alliances with our communities and teachers to ensure that we are always a step ahead of obstacles and debate.
Next I want to look at the APS budget line by line to see where resources can be used more effectively and limit waste. Also create a revenue stream where APS, its teachers, and city employees are not at the sole mercy of received property taxes to take care of district business and needs.
7) What is your opinion of the current superintendent? Are you happy with her leadership or do you want the school system to go in a different direction?
I have no personal opinion of the superintendent. I believe that has been part of the problem, putting personal needs over the needs of the masses. I believe she has made some positive changes, some not so popular. The truth is she has a very difficult and important job, and it will take a Board of competent, professional, and resourceful representatives to help her make the best decisions going forward. This is why I am offering my experience as a Special-Education and K-12 teacher, entrepreneur/ Real estate broker, and corporate business executive to my city and my APS district for service.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?