Atlanta schools runoff sees only incumbent re-elected, 3 new members

12:37 p.m Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 Education
From left, Byron Amos, Kandis Wood Jackson, Erika Mitchell, and Michelle Olympiadis won their Atlanta Board of Education runoff elections Tuesday, according to unofficial results.

This story has been updated to include information about a recount request in the District 2 race. 

Voters returned Byron Amos to his seat on the Atlanta Board of Education, in one of four school board races in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Amos, the only incumbent on Tuesday’s ballot, narrowly defeated Keisha Carey in the race to represent central Atlanta District 2, according to complete but unofficial results from Fulton County. 

Carey said Wednesday she will request a recount, since the unofficial tally shows her behind by only 80 votes.

“The reason I ran again is I truly believe there’s still work to be done in Atlanta Public Schools and in District 2,” Amos said, in an interview late Tuesday. “Being in a runoff is definitely a humbling experience. I have heard the voters. They are requesting a different type of leadership.”

Amos said he plans to go on a “listening tour” to sit down and connect with different parts of his district to find out how he can best represent voters in his next board term.

In the open race for the west Atlanta District 5 seat, Erika Mitchell, president of a sports marketing and management company, beat Raynard Johnson, a consultant and software development project manager.

The two other races included votes in Fulton County and a portion of Atlanta in DeKalb County.

Kandis Wood Jackson won the at-large District 7 post, with all Fulton County results in and all DeKalb County precincts counted. Wood Jackson, an attorney and former Teach for America teacher, faced Patricia Crayton, who indicated on a financial disclosure statement that she is retired from a consumer services institute.

While Crayton filed paperwork saying she didn’t plan on doing extensive fundraising, Wood Jackson received campaign donations from Washington-based Leadership for Educational Equity, the political arm of TFA, and also from the founder of the Walton Education Coalition.

In the east Atlanta District 3 race, Michelle Olympiadis-Constantinides, a real-estate manager and afternoon Greek school coordinator, defeated Adzua Agyapon, an educator at the public charter school KIPP STRIVE Primary.

Agyapon also is a former TFA teacher who received campaign funding from Leadership for Educational Equity, while Olympiadis-Constantinides received support from the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

All nine school board seats are up for grabs during the same election cycle.

In November’s election, voters retained incumbents Leslie Grant, Eshé Collins, Cynthia Briscoe Brown, Jason Esteves, and Nancy Meister.

The outgoing board has set a reform-minded policy agenda as the district recovers from a major teacher cheating scandal. In the last four years, the board hired superintendent Meria Carstarphen and embraced a charter-system model in an effort to improve struggling schools.