Editor’s note: Throughout the week, Reporter Newspapers will be publishing portions of its voters guide for the upcoming Nov. 5 elections. Candidate info can also be found in the Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 editions of Reporter Newspapers. In the Oct. 18 print issue of the Buckhead Reporter newspaper, candidate Mark Riley was inadvertently omitted. He is one of four running for this seat on the Board of Education. 

Reuben McDaniel

Reuben R. McDaniel, III (Incumbent)

Occupation: Investment Banker

Prior political experience: Incumbent Atlanta Board of Education At Large Seat 8 Member (Since 2010) and Atlanta Board of Education Chair (Since 2012)

Why are you seeking this position? In January 2010, I joined the Atlanta Board of Education with two goals in mind: to help move the school system beyond the well documented, controversial scandals, and to ensure that all students receive a high quality education. I am committed to continuing to work for all Atlanta students to deliver the high quality education that they deserve.

Why should voters choose you? While we have made progress, there is more work to do. Our students deserve a world-class education, and we have begun to take the necessary steps to meet our obligation to Atlanta’s youth. A significant part of continuing to move in the right direction is hiring Atlanta’s next superintendent, a superintendent with a proven track record who has the ability to understand the diverse needs of our students, while maintaining stability in the organization.

As you know, our students have endured enough instability over the years and it is our responsibility to maintain a stable environment that fosters student growth and real achievement. Our students deserve a school district that continues to move in the right direction; we can’t turn back now, and I will devote my time, talent and resources to ensure that we deliver for our students.

Never has there been a time when our actions will weigh so heavily on the future of Atlanta’s children. Fortunately, we now have a clear understanding of what we want to accomplish and a clear plan to get us to that destination. We are on the right track, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. We can’t turn back now.

Campaign webpage: www.reubenmcdanielaps8.com

Cynthia Briscoe Brown

Cynthia Briscoe Brown

Occupation: Attorney

Prior political experience: None

Why are you seeking this position? Every child, in every corner of our city, deserves a world-class education, and I want to make that happen.

I am committed to finding common goals, promoting unity, excellence and opportunity at every grade level and across the system. Over the last twenty years, I have chaired committees, run fundraisers and teacher incentive programs, served on every PTA executive board for our local schools, formed and served on foundations, advised students on college and scholarship applications, represented the community in facilities construction and renovation, and testified before bond rating companies. As co-President of NAPPS I worked to unify the North Atlanta cluster, involve families and business partners, and advocate for neighborhood schools in every part of the city throughout the years of scandal and dysfunction.

I have something important and valuable to offer our children and our community. Practical, result-oriented service is an essential part of who I am, and serving on the Board of Education is the logical next step, building on what I have done to improve education in Atlanta for so many years. I am honored that so many parents, teachers, colleagues and fellow volunteers across the City are encouraging and supporting my campaign.

Why should voters choose you? I am the only candidate in this race whose children have been in APS schools continuously throughout elementary, middle school and high school without interruption. The breadth and depth of perspective I have earned come only from years of service at every level and in every part of our community, which is the right kind of experience to bring us together and move us forward. My twenty years of engagement as a parent, volunteer, advocate and community leader, my connection with others throughout our city, and my proven skills in bringing people together will enable me to make positive contributions to the Board of Education, the citizens of Atlanta, and – most of all – to each and every child in our schools.

Two of my opponents in particular have the wrong kind of experience. First on the Beverly Hall Board, and then on the SACS Board, they each had a chance to fix problems that plague APS, but did not address our most serious challenges.

I have both the head and the heart for a fresh start, and for new ideas to turn vision into measurable progress. I have the knowledge of where we have been, an appreciation of where we are now, and a commitment to move us together into a brighter future for each and every child.

Campaign webpage: www.cynthiabriscoebrown.com

Tom Tidwell

Tom Tidwell

Occupation: Attorney

Prior political experience: I am not a politician. I have no political experience other than the past 3 1/2 months of campaigning.

Why are you seeking this position? I am excited about being on the Board and making a difference in our children’s education. No one had to recruit me, no one had to talk me into running. For 12 years we’ve had a strong centralized bureaucracy where nothing gets done. We need to clean house and start fresh. I am passionate about education. Education can end poverty, reduce crime and increase economic prosperity for everyone. I will bring the energy and hard work necessary to actually get things done and make our educational system one we can all be proud of.

Why should voters choose you? I will bring hard work and common sense leadership to APS. As a trial lawyer, I have a unique skill set that allows me to identify problems, analyze issues critically, communicate effectively with clients, jurors and judges, and negotiate compromises by finding common ground between adversarial parties. All of these skills apply to being an effective board member.

My top three issues are to (1) Restructure APS so principals and teachers have the autonomy and discretion to be innovative and creative in the classroom; (2) Improve early childhood education so every child is reading at or above grade level by 3rd grade; and (3) hire a superintendent who shares these goals and visions.

Campaign website: www.ElectTidwell.com

Mark Riley

Mark Riley

Occupation: Managing Partner, Urban Realty Partners

Prior political experience: I was elected to the school board for Seat 8 (Citywide) in 2002, serving two terms through 2009.

Why are you seeking this position? I believe this is a watershed moment for our city and our school system. This election and the hiring of a new school superintendent are among the most important decisions our community will make this decade. We have the opportunity to set a new direction for our schools and enact real reforms within our system. These reform measures are working in other cities around the country – Denver, Nashville, and Indianapolis – and we need to bring them here. Essentially, these measures consist of a district administration that empowers local schools and allows the principals and teachers to do their work without interference from the central office. The recent letter from Dr. Gene Taylor, principal of North Atlanta High School, when he rescinded his resignation, provides a clear and personal account of the challenges a principal faces when working with the central office.

Why should voters choose you? I have a 20 year commitment to public education in Atlanta. I was elected to the Atlanta School Board in 2002 and served two four-year terms in a citywide role. During that period, APS made significant strides citywide, and this included attracting families to northside schools. Tremendous physical capacity was added (including Brandon Primary Center, Smith Intermediate Campus, and the decision to build a new North Atlanta campus) and talented new leaders joined northside schools.  For 15 years I have led a grant-making organization that focuses on educational organizations and reform where I have studied educational reform efforts that work both locally and nationally, particularly for children without many opportunities.

Campaign webpage: www.MarkRileyForSchoolBoard.com

Dan Whisenhunt

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