Thank you to everyone who came out Monday for the Candidate Forum in Peachtree Corners. I love getting to meet people in District III. I always come away with a better sense of issues that are close to your hearts. I hope you know how much I value that input.
The evening was certainly illuminating. For example, my opponent Dr. Mary Kay Murphy stated that she was proud to fund two positions on the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and had evidence of their value. In July, GCPS issued a statement saying that the investment in the chamber “pays off and in return for funding the salaries, GCPS received $6 million which goes directly into the classrooms.” At that time, they offered no studies, reports or corroborating evidence of any kind that their investment created such a positive return. Indeed, you might expect such a wildly successful program to be fully documented in the annual budget. In fact, the salaries are hidden in a line item that includes banking fees and services for the central office. If the board has new evidence, I hope they make it publicly available soon.
Murphy also claimed that she is the only qualified candidate according to SB84. That bill says: “Board duties require specialized skills and training in the performance of vision setting, policy making, approving multimillion dollar budgets, and hiring a qualified superintendent. The motivation to serve as a member of a local board of education should be the improvement of schools and academic achievement of all students.”
I have nothing against Murphy’s record in academia. She is certainly a person of letters, and I don’t feel any need to impune her qualifications. For the record, I am every bit as qualified for the job as she was when she entered as a freshman board member. I have many years of experience shaping policies that affect our children. As a member of the Safe Schools Coalition, I helped pass the nation’s first and only ban on seclusion rooms for all students in Georgia. At a state level, I championed initiatives through the Georgia Department of Education including statewide transparency rules for local boards of education and alternative schools.
For the past three years, I have served as a director at Parent To Parent, a statewide nonprofit, federally designated parent training and information center. It’s my job to ensure that parents in Georgia are fully informed of their options and empowered to help improve educational outcomes for their children. Appointed by leaders in the field of education and advocacy, I have helped bring meaningful change to children across Georgia.
In other news this week, I am honored to announce that I have received the endorsement of the Gwinnett Forum. Thank you to Elliott Brack and everyone at the Gwinnett Forum for your vote of confidence.
Speaking of voting, if you want to avoid the long lines on Election Day, you can still participate in early voting Monday through Friday this week and next week. I hope you know how important each and every vote is to this campaign. Show your kids the importance of civic responsibility and make a real difference in their education.