AL-7 Nisha Simama

Contact Information

Email – simama.nisha@paideiaschool.org

Phone – 404-394-6909

Nisha Simama Candidate Website

Background

I am a lifelong educator with over 30 years of educational experience. I am the daughter of a father who worked in a factory and had a 3rd grade education and a mother who worked most of her life as a domestic and had an 8th grade education. Although they were not highly educated, themselves, they instilled in me the virtue of hard work and the value of a good education for all students.
In 2011, I was appointed to serve as an interim member of the Atlanta Board of Education, where I helped the Board successfully meet the SACS requirements that led to its removal from probation. I made a positive contribution for harmony and professionalism while on the Board and served on the Board Development and Communications committees. Further, I was appointed by the School System to the Fulton County Board of Health and to the Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center, positions I still hold today.  I have worked in education at the preschool, K-12, and higher education levels.

I have worked for 20 years as a middle and high school counselor at The Paideia School, where I also teach social studies. Prior to that I served as the Executive Director of the largest Head Start program in the state of Georgia. I was also the project administrator for a Head Start program for migrant farm workers in Georgia and worked as an Assistant Professor at Clark Atlanta University. I hold a Master’s Degree in Educational Foundations and Urban Education from Atlanta University (presently Clark Atlanta University) and a B.A. from Northern Illinois University. I am married to Dr. Jabari Simama, President of Georgia Piedmont Technical College in metropolitan Atlanta, and I am the mother of 2 grown daughters.

[On Her Knowledge] I tell people all the time I don’t know a lot of things, but one thing I do know is education.  I know education, I love dealing with education, and I love health; those two go together for me,” she said.

[On Her Managerial Style] “Generally speaking–I’m a fighter now, don’t get me wrong–I also believe we need to bring sensibility, common sense, and talking about the common good for the masses, as opposed to what’s of interest to a small group or a small minority,” she said…. “I am a uniter, not a divider,” she said.

Education Priorities

… if elected she would push for improvements in student learning and outcomes.

We have a responsibility to make the Atlanta Public Schools a first class school system. We can accomplish this if we focus on the most important resource we have: Our Children.

 We need school board members who care about student learning and outcomes. Moreover, we need school board members who care about a school system that will produce a highly qualified and competent workforce to meet the demands of the global economy and the 21st century.

We must develop innovative policies that provide the necessary reforms
that focus first and foremost on student outcomes. To do this, it is important
that we support programs such as joint enrollment with colleges and strategic
partnerships with business and industry.

 We have a responsibility to ensure that our students meet high academic standards and rigor; that our faculty and staff are highly trained and afforded every opportunity for professional development; and that we are open and transparent in our communication to the community at large. 

[On Urban Education] “You can’t do urban education without doing a whole a lot of politics… 

Position on Revenues and Taxes

Position on Deficit Spending and General Fund Reserves

Position on Allocation of Resources

Position on Class Size Waivers and Average Class Size

Position on the Budget Process

We need school board members who will provide adequate budget oversight but not meddle in the day-to-day operations of the school system.

we must be good stewards of the budget for which we are entrusted.

Position on Overcapacity Issues and School Closings

Position on Board’s Oversight Responsibilities

We need school board members who are experienced public policy makers with the skills to govern a complex educational organization.

To be effective as a school board, it is imperative that we are responsible and accountable first and foremost to the families of the children who attend the Atlanta Public Schools.

Position on Charter Schools

As for charter schools, “Charters are here to stay.  When I was on the Board, we approved the charter of a number of schools.  But I don’t think we need to get into thinking charter schools is the panacea to save public education. APS has very good schools within the system that aren’t charters,” she said. What I think we’re saying is, we’ll try everything.  Charter schools have the same progress and achievement as do public schools,” she said.  I’m very clear on one thing: education is not a place where people need to start thinking about starting to make a profit.  It is not a profitable venture.  It’s a venture we have to give resources to because every child deserves the best,” she said….  I’m not for having us taking public taxpayer money and paying for private education,” she said.

Position on Other Issues that Have Financial Implications

[On Labor Practices] “We’ve got to be concerned about labor practices as well,” she said, noting that APS teachers work from day to night.  “There’s nothing as hard as teaching.”

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