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?
I’m running for the School Board because I believe that every child in Atlanta deserves an excellent local school. Equal access to a quality public education is a fundamental right, and education is the most powerful tool we can give to future generations to increase their chances of success. I became a teacher in Atlanta to fulfill this dream for the students I taught, and I’m running for the School Board to achieve it for all APS students.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I am in a position to leverage my passion, experience, skills, and unique background to provide every student with equal access to high-quality education — no matter their neighborhood.
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
Its people: its students, teachers, personnel, and the APS community as a whole.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Inequitable resourcing and acceptance of the status quo. I think APS will need to focus on the following over the next several years. First, continuing the purpose of the Turnaround Strategy — to provide the additional critical support that our lowest performing schools need — while earning the respect and trust of the communities the Strategy impacts most. Second, garnering the respect and trust of all APS communities — trust that APS has their child’s best interest at heart.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
By focusing on 5 Ls:
Leadership: Recruit and retain effective, entrepreneurial , excellence-driven leaders.
Literacy: Implement strategies proven to increase reading and math literacy.
Learning: Minimize external barriers to a child’s ability to learn.
Life: Prepare students from cradle to college and career.
Love: Approach students, parents, teachers, and schools with love.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
Leadership, learning, and life, as outlined above.
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 am pleased with the energy, candor, and no-nonsense approach of Dr. Carstarphen. I am proud of the way she and the Board have started to address some of the issues at APS with a sense of urgency and an understanding of the importance of the issues at hand. Of course, the Board and Superintendent should also prioritize the concerns of the APS community with the same sense of urgency and sense of importance. This is essential for mutual trust, respect, and the ability to move forward together with our students’ educations at the center of all Board decisions.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Absolutely. My parents raised me to conduct myself that way, and that’s how I’ve conducted myself my entire life! Looking forward to it.