Crowded Field of Candidates in APS Board Special Election
(APN) ATLANTA — At least five people have expressed interest in running for the vacant Atlanta Public School Board of Education (District 2) seat, left vacant by Khaatim El, who resigned from the Board on July 11, 2011.
District 2 is located in the south central part of the City of Atlanta and is identical to City Council Districts Three and Four. It includes the Atlanta University Center and the Bankhead Highway and Hightower Road areas.
“A Municipal Special Election for the City of Atlanta will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2011; and if necessary a Municipal Special Run-Off Election will be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, to fill the office of District 2 Board of Education Member at the regular Precincts and Polling Places within the district,” a public notice written by Atlanta Municipal Clerk Rhonda Dauphin Johnson, and obtained by Atlanta Progressive News, states.
“Polls will be open between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. The last day a person may register and be eligible to vote in the aforementioned election is October 11, 2011,” the notice states.
“Candidates shall qualify to fill the Board of Education District 2 office on Wednesday August 3, Thursday August 4, and Friday August 5, 2011, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time each day with the Municipal Clerk/Election Superintendent or designated agent, at Atlanta City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, Second Floor, by one of the following methods,” the notice states.
“a.) Filing a Notice of Candidacy and paying a set qualifying fee to the Municipal Clerk/ Election Superintendent or designated agent for the desired office as follows: Board of Education Member $444.00,” the notice states.
“b.) Filing a Qualifying Petition and a Pauper’s Affidavit, with the Municipal Clerk/ Election Superintendent or designated agent, affirming under oath the candidate’s poverty or inability to pay the qualifying fee,” the notice states.
Dwanda Farmer–who previously ran more than once for the Atlanta City Council Post 1-at-large seat–told Atlanta Progressive News that she plans to qualify for the race next week.
Kwabena Nkromo–a community activist with an interest in urban gardening, who previously said he would run in 2013 for the Atlanta City Council District 4 seat–wrote in a Facebook post that he intended to run for the open APS seat as well.
Byron Amos–a community organizer in Vine City who runs Capacity Builders, Inc. and helped lead Friends for Vine City Parks–told APN by phone that he is planning to qualify next week as well.
According to Amos and Farmer, at least two additional individuals have expressed interest in the seat, including Angela Brown and Michael Jeter.
According to another source, a sixth person who has expressed interest in running is Ayana Gabriel.
Dwanda Farmer has years of grant writing experience, including both public and private grants, and is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on the HOPE VI public housing demolitions and redevelopments in Atlanta.
Farmer has been following the APS debacle over the last year and has generally been supportive of Khaatim El.
In response to a Facebook post by El announcing his resignation from the APS Board, Farmer wrote, “Khaatim thank you for your service. It is so shameful that doing the right thing is wrong in our city! Your courage and committment is exempilary. THANK YOU, THANK YOU and thank you for including me in your circle of community of leaders. All Love Brother Khaatim S. El Best of luck in your new position. I know you will go well and good things. Don’t look back.”
Farmer told APN she prefers the public school model over charter schools, and that, to the extent that there are best practices that can be learned from charter schools, that they should be implemented in a public school model.
Farmer also said that she believes public schools should offer more work-force preparation programs like trades for students who may not be interested in pursuing higher education.
Meanwhile, Kwabena Nkromo wrote on El’s post, “I am excited to hear about these developments, as I have decided to run in the special election to complete the remainder of your term in the spirit and truth of your leadership legacy (Inshallah).”
“My goals are clear: (1) to execute the education priorities established by this committee and other stakeholders in the district (2) support Chairperson Brenda J. Muhammad in her efforts to lead the Board & APS to redemption and progress (3) champion a vision of 21st century education for APS children, which includes a focus on preparing our students for green jobs industries and the sustainable economy of the future,” Nkromo wrote.
“I am committed to and will sign a pledge to only serve the remainder of your term and then resume my campaign for Atlanta City Council District 4 in 2013 (and only seek two terms there, as I believe in term limits). Thanks again for the information and continued leadership, brother,” Nkromo wrote.
“I will seek to name the Edible Schoolyard @ Brown Middle school after our friend & brother Khaatim S. El. Fare well, dear sir. We will remember and treasure your brave service forever. The truth will soon come out and we will all be set free,” Nkromo wrote.
Byron Amos previously ran against El in 2003 in another Special Election, and again in 2005, Amos told APN.
Amos told APN his top priority is improving the school system’s accountability to parents, including having adequate teachers and text books, as well as cracking down on cheating.
Amos said he is also concerned about improving the quality of education overall.
Amos said he agreed with El’s decision to take action in regards to the cheating scandal but disagrees with the way he went about it.
Angela Brown previously served on State Sen. Vincent Fort’s reelection campaign in 2010, according to Farmer.
Ayana Gabriel lives in the Westview neighborhood in Southwest Atlanta; and has organized numerous community events including Westview Tour of Homes, the Summer Solstice Cookout, and events with Kipp Strive.
Michael Jeter has served on the Westside Tax Allocation District Neighborhood Advisory Board, currently runs Gordon’s Body Shop on Simpson Road, and worked for the City of Atlanta Police Department from 1986 to 1995.
In addition, the APS Board is responsible appointing a temporary replacement for El, who will serve until the November Special Election is held.
Persons who are interested in serving as a temporary appointee have until August 03, 2011, at 5pm to turn in an application packet to the Board. Applications will be reviewed on August 04; interviews will be held on August 05; and the final Board Member approval is scheduled for August 08.
(END / 2011)