Occupation: President, Southprop, Inc.
Previous elected offices held: None
Other community service experience: Northside Youth Organization, Camp Twin Lakes, Chris 180, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, to name a few. I’ve worked in fundraising and provided thousands of tickets to Georgia Tech football games so mentors and young people in the organizations can enjoy an afternoon together. I also served former FCS superintendents in several policy development capacities over a number of years. I funded Playworks, a national program designed to improve children’s physical health and social and emotional learning, at Bethune Elementary School in Fulton County. In just one year Bethune experienced a 75% reduction in disciplinary issues.
What is motivating you to run for this office?
We need significant change. Fulton County deserves a world-class school system. Every child deserves a great education. No excuses. There’s no acceptable reason why we’re not there. I’ve worked behind the scenes on critical FCS administrative projects for years. However, seeing a new superintendent every 1.8 years for 15 years, huge cost overruns and construction delays, and financial waste and bloat in the central office motivated me to run for a position on the board. I will represent the entire District 3 constituency, as I truly believe that every student deserves a great school.
What is the biggest issue facing the school district and how will you address it?
Lack of consistent leadership has caused two major issues. First, during my opponent’s time in office, 15 years of a revolving superintendent door has caused turmoil and high teacher turnover. Great teachers seek stable leadership and professional respect. I propose succession planning with existing staff. Second, while my opponent claims construction management expertise, the budget for renovation/reconstruction of Riverwood High School in her own district has ballooned from $33 million to over $102 million with years of delays. This demonstrates lack of accountability and no transparency. Best practices start at the top.
What strengths and weaknesses have the coronavirus pandemic crisis revealed in the school district?
Strength: Considering his short time on the job, Superintendent Looney appears to have done the best he could with what he inherited. Many teachers and principals rose to the occasion. Weaknesses: There seems to be little system-wide consistency in online instruction. Instead of closing for spring break at the inception of this crisis, I would have hoped administrators would use that time to develop an effective program. Instead, much of the burden for planning and coordination appears to have fallen on principals and teachers. In addition, no effective plan seems to have been made for students without access to technology.