Atlanta school board races could bring sweeping change to APS

Voters will pick from a crowded field of 30 candidates to fill all nine spots on the Atlanta Board of Education.

The Nov. 7 election could usher in sweeping change for the roughly 52,000-student Atlanta Public Schools. Or, voters could retain six incumbents who are among the candidates who qualified by Friday’s deadline.

Four years ago, 27 candidates qualified to run.

The current board pushed for a bold new direction, starting with hiring Superintendent Meria Carstarphen in 2014 in the aftermath of a massive cheating scandal. The board also embraced a charter-system model as a way to turn around struggling schools.

“I think having a new superintendent… has been just an incredible transformation for the district,” said board vice chair Nancy Meister, who is running unopposed in the north Atlanta District 4 for her third term. “I want to see that work through. I think it’s just being implemented, and I think we are going to need a few more years.”

The board’s work will be up for review when voters head to the polls this fall to decide contested races for all but her seat and that of Jason Esteves, an attorney who wants to retain his at-large seat 9 and is also unopposed.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution tried to contact as many candidates as possible by press time, but could not find occupation information for some.

The school board contest features a trio of open races because three current members are running for other elected offices.

Current board chairman Courtney English hopes to trade his at-large seat 7 for a city council spot.

Five contestants will vie for his school board seat: attorney Kandis Wood Jackson, John Wright, Patricia Crayton, Micah A. Rowland, and Nathaniel Borrell Dyer, who is self-employed as a creative director and art and writing instructor.

District 3 representative, Matt Westmoreland, is also running for the city council.

Candidates hoping to represent his east Atlanta district are: Adzua Agyapon, a grade-level chair at the public charter school KIPP STRIVE Primary; Lewis Cartee, a territory sales manager for Mohawk Industries; Michelle Olympiadis-Constantinides, a real-estate manager and afternoon Greek school coordinator, Antoine Raynard Trammell, and Rashida Winfrey.

The school board’s District 5 representative, Steven Lee, is running for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.

His west Atlanta school board seat is sought by human resources manager and former APS teacher Jatisha Marsh; retired educator and real estate agent Jackye Rhodes; Bobby Montgomery, senior director of marketing with PALM Agency; D’Jaris James, Raynard Johnson, and Erika Yvette Mitchell.

Conflicting documents provided by the city Friday had Mitchell running in the District 5 race and another race, but on Saturday a city spokesman said she is a District 5 candidate.

In southeast Atlanta District 1, incumbent Leslie Grant faces Ade Oguntoye, a social worker and executive director of the nonprofit organization One World Link.

In central Atlanta District 2, incumbent Byron Amos competes against former Douglass High School principal and LEADright chief learning officer Tony Burks, and Keisha Carey, who works in a corporate position for Sprint.

In south Atlanta District 6, incumbent Eshé Collins is challenged by Patreece Hutcherson, a Douglas County Schools counselor; Valrie Walker Sanders, a part-time field representative with the U.S. Census Bureau; and Donta McMichael, a mental health assistant.

In the at-large District 8, incumbent Cynthia Briscoe Brown will battle with Ben Stone, an environmental insurance underwriter, and Charlie Stadtlander, chief executive officer of consulting firm Stadtlander and Co.

Atlanta school board members make $15,170 a year. The board chair receives $16,588, and the vice chair $15,879.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Education

APS to train students to protect themselves from school shooters
APS to train students to protect themselves from school shooters

Atlanta Public Schools is developing training to teach students how to respond and protect themselves if there is a school shooting. The training will teach students what to do if they are surprised by an attacker, how to respond, and how to use items in the classroom to protect and defend themselves. Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said the district...
APS to get deeds to 7 more properties after city council OKs deed transfers
APS to get deeds to 7 more properties after city council OKs deed transfers

Atlanta City Council on Monday agreed to transfer deeds to seven more properties to Atlanta Public Schools. Council voted Monday to give the school district the deeds to five current and former elementary school sites: Morris Brandon, Humphries, Bethune, E.S.Jackson, and D.H. Stanton, now known as Barack and Michelle Obama Academy; as well as the deeds...
Nominate the best teachers in metro Atlanta
Nominate the best teachers in metro Atlanta

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is taking nominations for its annual Celebrating Teachers awards. Last year, friends, family, students and co-workers nominated 375 teachers who went above and beyond the call of duty to work with their students and make sure they are successful. Ten teachers from across the metro Atlanta area were chosen...
Georgia online school’s closure means one less option for high-risk students 
Georgia online school’s closure means one less option for high-risk students 

When Georgia’s first online statewide charter high school closes next month, it will leave behind roughly 1,700 students without a diploma— many of whom have struggled in school — and a mixed legacy as an education pioneer that ultimately perished. Graduation Achievement Charter High School failed to meet state academic standards...
Who’s No. 1?  Should Georgia abolish class rank?
Who’s No. 1?  Should Georgia abolish class rank?
The class rank quagmire has led many private schools to abandon rankings, which means no valedictorian and salutatorian are named. Perhaps, public schools should follow suit.  The status of being No. 1 in a high school graduating class can bring scholarships, including the Zell Miller and automatic admission to the University of Georgia and ...
More Stories