Where We've Been
Thank you for coming here to learn more about me and why I am running (again!) to serve citywide on the Atlanta school board. I was first elected in 2013, and re-elected in 2017. In my third and final term, I want to build on what we as a Board of Education have accomplished in the past eight years and position APS for long-term success into 2025 and for generations to come.
We’ve come a long way since I was first elected. My colleagues and I walked into the largest cheating scandal in public education history, a previous Board which had nearly lost our accreditation, an interim Superintendent on his way out the door, and a school system which was failing way too many of its students. In just a few short years, with the help of a new administration and thousands of families, employees, and community members, we turned it around. We reduced teacher vacancies on the first day of school from almost 200 to single digits; we achieved pay parity and gave teachers and staff their first raises in years; we improved graduation rates by 27 percentage points; and, most important, we restored the trust of the community in the ability of Atlanta Public Schools to make a positive difference in the life of every child.
I am running for re-election to my final term on the Board for the same reason I originally sought office in 2013: I am fighting for every Atlanta child to have all the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. When Atlanta’s children receive the education they deserve, they thrive and our city thrives.
Businesses looking to start or relocate to Atlanta need an educated, creative workforce. Atlanta Public Schools teaches our children today for the jobs of tomorrow. Our new Atlanta College and Career Academy opened in August 2020 to give our students across APS opportunities to develop career skills in healthcare, automotive, HVAC, culinary arts, and more while remaining connected to their home schools for core classes, extracurriculars, and social life. Internships I helped develop in Atlanta and across the world show our students how they can contribute to our economy and society at every level.
The social and emotional health of all our kids is just as important as their academic success. I brought the ADL “No Place For Hate” program to APS, and over a decade later the lessons on restorative justice, tolerance, and peer-to-peer support we've taught every student and employee have reduced discipline incidents and improved mental health. Wraparound services -- medical clinics, counselors, social workers, and volunteer legal advice -- are like a big hug, loving and supporting our students and their families, and they’ve improved and increased dramatically under my watch.
At a higher level, I’m proudest of my work on our historic Equity Policy, enacted in April 2019 after more than a year of community input and Board retreats. Our efforts and my words have already affected the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, the choice of a new Superintendent, and our approach to serving students and employees during the twin crises of COVID-19 and racial injustice.
APS is in a much better place than when I took my first oath of office, but I, and we, have much work left to do. Read on for my vision for the future of all our kids and my plans for getting us there!