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 understand that the position is not about me but how I can improve the lives of our children and their education. I believe in our children and all the potential they posses. This is my life’s calling and I am committed and up to the task in providing an equitable world-class education to all of Atlanta’s children.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I love children. I am a bachelor with no biological children, but I have advocated, mentored and taught children as if they were my own. For the past 12 years of my life, I can attribute my passion for children to my mother’s tireless dedication of 33 years as a retired educator. She provided me with a sound blueprint for success and longevity in the education of children.
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength would be the children and the potential they possess. When we provide them with an equitable world-class education, there is no limit to the positive things they can accomplish.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge would be the proper remediation of children who cannot read and write. If the children can read, they may face problems with comprehension. Children cannot progress academically without these basic fundamentals. A school system such as APS will continue to struggle with discipline issues and threats of school takeover if the problem is not remedied. This would be a district wide initiative.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
In conjunction with the board, we should start with a serious emphasis on the fundamentals which are reading, writing and arithmetic. We must also create an environment that nurtures the soul of our children. When our children began to trust in their teachers and believe in their ability to learn, they’ll be willing to attain higher heights. In turn, we will have a more disciplined and capable student which will benefit the school system and mankind as a whole. In order to be successful, the school board must take this initiative on with a sense of urgency. This will be our cornerstone for district success.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
In conjunction with my fellow board members, I would do the following:
1. Make sure that children are reading on or above grade level with confidence. This would include enhancing their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.
2. Make sure that we are improving and providing an equitable world-class education for all of our children. Equity brings about equality.
3. Eliminate the “Culture of Fear and Intimidation” or what I consider the bully tactics of APS on faculty and staff. Currently, their are more than 100 teachers suing the superintendent and the district for age discrimination. We cannot allow the ghosts of the past to continue to haunt our school district. We must have a system of inclusion in order to be successful for our children. It must start from the top.
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?
The current superintendent’s record shows that she is not in tune with the concerns of the community. A prime example of this would be the case where the governor’s Opportunity School District (OSD) was defeated overwhelmingly by the voters of Georgia. Not only did the superintendent hire the architect of the OSD initiative, she closed and merged schools as if the initiative had passed. To add insult to injury, she has handed over our traditional public schools to private interests without a standard measure of oversight and accountability. As a board member, I would want the system to go in a different direction which wholeheartedly benefits the children.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?