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.
1) Why are you running for Atlanta School Board?
To continue the critical work begun during my first term.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
My service over the past three and a half years includes the following:
I HOSTED over Fifty Community Coffees so that CONSTITUENTS ARE CONNECTED
I LEAD the board’s participation in the Atlanta Pride Parade so that ALL STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF KNOW THEY ARE SUPPORTED.
I BROUGHT innovative ideas forward for board consideration, including a TWO-WAY Customer Service platform and development of a specific African American Male Initiative TO ATTEMPT TO PROVIDE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENGAGEMENT WHERE IT IS CRITICALLY NEEDED.
I INITIATED, CHAMPIONED AND DEFENDED partnerships that deliver a better quality education to District One’s most at-risk schools so that MANY OF OUR MOST DISENFRANCHISED STUDENTS RECEIVE THE MAJOR INVESTMENT THEY NEED, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
I SUPPORTED equitable implementation of the International Baccalaureate or other Signature Programming throughout ALL clusters so that ALL STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO QUALITY GLOBAL STANDARDS OF LEARNING AND THE PUBLIC RECEIVES GREATER DISTRICT ACCOUNTABILITY.
I RE-IGNITED the Internal Compliance function which, when properly resourced, can bring enormous accountability and return on investment in the future so that THE BOARD’S OVERSIGHT ROLE CAN BE PROPERLY FULFILLED.
I SERVED diligently with inquiry and integrity on the following: Accountability Committee, Chair 2014-2015, Audit Committee, Chair 2016-2017, Council of the Great City Schools, Board Representative, Atlanta Youth Commission, Beltline Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Fulton and DeKalb County Student Attendance Protocol Committee so that THE ATLANTA BOARD OF EDUCATION IS COMPETENTLY REPRESENTED.
I have developed a strong onboarding plan to help build a more effective, transparent Governing Process and will work with my colleagues to ensure that investments in our schools are working for ALL of our students.
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
We are an EXTREMELY rich district with more available resources than most of our size, in the country. Our people, partners and diversity are an extremely valuable asset for a large urban district.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Teaching through the effects of entrenched, generational poverty.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
The board must learn to focus on the role of governance and oversight so that we have a healthy functioning infrastructure that can bring together ALL assets from ALL municipalities to improve the overall quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
I will focus on building a more effective, transparent Governing Process, including adopting a more streamlined Board Management tool, with higher levels of access, transparency and accountability.
I will work with my colleagues to ensure that investments in our schools are working for ALL of our students through rigorous attention to the Audit process.
I will focus on having a more engaged presence for the Board of Education, in conversations planning for growth and development of the City of Atlanta. Many times, great conversations are going on around the city, but our board members aren’t as effectively engaged as they should be.
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 think she has done an admirable job of restructuring many essential functions. I think we have a turnaround superintendent who has worked very hard to reset expectations and performance of some of these essential functions including getting the business community to invest again in our schools, and to promote the brand. And no disrepect to your question, but happy is an emotion, and I think, at the end of the day, board members need to be factually critical of a superintendent’s performance, rather than emotional about it.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Of course. I have learned much in this first term about what some consider “ethics” and refuse to be frightened away from difficult issues that may present politicial discomfort. I will always act with integrity to the position, unfailing honesty, and transparency.