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 am running to retain my seat on the Atlanta School Board because we still have work to do. As a graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools System, I never would have fathomed that I would play such a pivotal role in the rebirth of public education in my hometown. I understand the need to continue to advocate for strong and visionary leadership in our schools. The need to advocate for access to a more equitable education system. The need to increase the number of students reading on or above grade level and to push for fully funded Vocational, Technical, and Entrepreneurial Education in APS. Finally, we must find ways to continue to address the discipline in our schools.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
I am a native Atlantan who has been involved in community organizing for over 30 years and has established deep-roots in the Atlanta community. As a dedicated father, community leader, product of APS and a father of an APS student, I have a keener insight on what it is taking and will take to move the District forward. My years on the Board, where over the last four years, we have made some very difficult decisions, we are now seeing the results of them. We have M. Agnes. Jones Elem. The first STEM certified school in APS. The Junior Achievement Academy at Frederick Douglass High School, where our children will learn entrepreneurial skills. The multi-million renovations of Brown Middle School and the creation of the Michael Hollis Innovation Academy where our children are learning computer coding, robot technology, and our student-teacher ratio is about 1:12. Simply put… “Hollis represents public education done right.”
3) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength?
I think Atlanta Schools’ greatest strength are our stakeholders and our students. Together we have weathered the storms but stayed focus on attempting to deliver a quality education system. Our students have shown that they are able to complete on all levels, if given the chance to.
4) What do you think is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Atlanta Schools biggest challenges is creating access to an equitable education system for all. We need to ensure that all our students have access to a quality education, no matter the race, color, creed or economic status.
5) How would you address what you feel is Atlanta Schools’ biggest challenge?
Since there are various factors that will need to be addressed to close the achievement gap of different sub groups of the CCRPI index, our approach must be just as multi- faceted. I would advocate for programs that would take a wholistic approach to education. We would start by performing assessments on each sub group leading to the development of a IEP for each student. Our approach must be data driven and based off different best practice. Those students that need additional help in various subject, must be allowed to receive it. We have implemented several initiatives like Extended Day, Intensive Tutoring and additional support staff to reach our goals.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as an elected official?
· The need to advocate for access to a more equitable education system.
· The need to increase the number of students reading on or above grade level
· fully funded Vocational, Technical, and Entrepreneurial Education in APS
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 that the Superintendent has operated within the policy parameters that has been established by her employer, the Board of Education. I do think that the Board should offer stronger leadership through policy revisions and employer-employee relationship tactics.
8) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Yes, when re-elected, I will continue to conduct myself in an ethical and transparent manner.