Creative Loafing issued its endorsements for candidates in the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education race. Their picks and their reasoning are as follows (the links below are to the candidate websites):
District 1 – Leslie Grant – …[she] could become an important voice in transforming the public school system… She wants more active representation from board members, supports charter schools (but doesn’t think they’re a panacea), and wants greater accountability from APS leaders. Grant was involved with setting up the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and is an active parent advocate. She could bring some much-needed energy to the southeast Atlanta district.
District 4 – Nancy Meister – …Once at APS, she became one of the gang of five that pushed for more transparency.…Meister’s [is] aware of the issues, realistic, and could bring some stability to the board. She knows the ins and outs of the system, has been a longtime engaged parent of APS students and, as such, is well regarded among many fellow parents in the district.
District 5 – Mary Louise Palmer – While we like Raynard Johnson‘s engagement and genuine concern for the community, Mary Louise Palmer stands out as the most qualified, having chaired her NPU education committee, served as an officer on the Atlanta Council of PTAs, among other things, and is worthy of serving on the board. The IT professional and longtime volunteer is the mother of three APS graduates and would help keep the focus on supporting neighborhood schools…
District 6 – Eshé Collins – …one clear choice: Eshé Collins. The former educator … and law school graduate works on helping boost preschoolers’ literacy skills as the director of an educational nonprofit based at Georgia State University. That experience could bring some understanding and creativity to the board. In addition, she favors cutting the Central Office’s bloated budget…
At Large 7 – Courtney English – …English has an edge by coming armed with more facts, details, and ideas. The 28-year-old former teacher and current educational consultant, who’s also the board’s youngest member, pushed for more transparency during the cheating scandal, is responsive, and impressed us on the campaign trail….
At Large 8 – Tom Tidwell and Reuben McDaniel – Opt for McDaniel because he’s smart, engaging, and, as an at-large candidate should, has looked out for schools across the city. Or press the screen for Tidwell. The energetic political newcomer and current APS parent’s enthusiasm, hardcore campaigning, knowledge about the races, and focus on improving early education are commendable.
At Large 9 – Jason Esteves – …Esteves has doubled down on the importance of hiring a visionary superintendent and doesn’t have the same ties to the system as James, who worked in APS’ special needs program for more than 20 years. Esteves is a big-picture candidate — he understands the negative impact empty schools have on neighborhoods — and is worthy of a seat on the board.