Mark Riley
Mark Riley

Local attorney Mark Riley has officially announced his intention to seek the at-large Seat 8 on the Atlanta Board of Education.

The post is currently held by Chairman Reuben McDaniel. Riley previously held that post, from 2002 to 2009. Riley vacated that seat to run for the District 4, but lost to current District 4 incumbent Nancy Meister.

Riley joins three other challengers: Tom Tidwell, Cynthia Briscoe Brown and Dave Walker. Riley founded Urban Realty Partners, a firm that focuses on urban redesign. He said he became interested in running after “having watched all the chaos of the last four years and then seeing frankly Reuben prove to be a disappointing public servant at large school board member.”

“I think I see interests around the city coalescing in the interest of doing something dramatic,” Riley said.

Here is Riley’s full press release:

Mark Riley, an experienced Atlanta education reformer, has announced his candidacy for Atlanta School Board. Riley is running for Seat 8 At Large, the seat he previously held from 2002-2009.

“I believe this school board election and the selection of a new superintendent are among the most important decisions this community will make in this decade. I believe this in a ‘watershed moment’ to fundamentally rethink how we provide public education in our community.”

“Atlanta Public Schools have been under incredible scrutiny the past four years. Our response to that is not working and it is time for new leadership at the board level and a new administration.”

Riley has been involved in public education in Atlanta since the early 1990’s when he took part in a community wide coalition to improve the then dysfunctional Atlanta School Board. He was elected to the Atlanta School Board in 2002 and served two four-year terms in a city wide role. He is an attorney having worked at Atlanta law firm King & Spalding before entering the real estate business. After positions with Trammell Crow Residential and Cousins Properties, he established in 2000 his own real estate company, Urban Realty Partners, which focuses on building infill, walkable and environmentally sustainable projects in Atlanta’s revitalizing in-town communities. Riley has also served since 1998 as Director of The Sartain Lanier Family Foundation, a charitable foundation with a focus on improving and expanding education options for children in the Atlanta area.

Riley has deep experience in governance roles in addition to his Atlanta Board of Education experience. He is a member of the Downtown Rotary Club, the Board of Central Atlanta Progress, and the Board of Advisors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. He is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and the Regional Leadership Institute sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission. He has also served as a member on the board of the Georgia Charter Schools Association and Kipp Metro Atlanta’s Advocacy Committee. He is a former board member of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Atlanta District Council of Urban Land Institute, the Trust for Public Land, and the National Vanderbilt Alumni Association. He also previously served as President of the Atlanta Vanderbilt Club and the Lanier Scholarship Program at Vanderbilt. Riley has a BA from Vanderbilt University and a JD from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Dan Whisenhunt wrote for Reporter Newspapers from 2011-2014. He is the founder and editor of