Brenda Joyce Muhammad (School Board District 1 Candidate)
10/9/2013, 12:06 p.m.
Campaign Web Site: www.brendajmuhammad.com
City of Residence: Atlanta
Do you, or have you had, children enrolled in an APS school?: Yes, my
children are graduates of Atlanta Public Schools.
How have you served your district and the city best in the past?: My entire career, indeed my entire life, has been one of service. Many people who are familiar with my story think that my service began with Mothers of Murdered Sons & Daughters (MOMS), started in 1990 in response to the senseless act of violence that took the life of my 16 year old son. The fact is that I was actively engaged in the community long before that. I was the parent who was always at the school, volunteering on committees, chairing fund-raisers, serving as PTA president, actively involved in political campaigns and running a public relations and advertising firm. In looking back, those early days of my children’s school years set the stage for my public service in education.
MOMS grew into an advocacy network of thousands of survivors of violent crime. Our lobby for public safety helped change the course of criminal justice policy. The MOMS volunteer-led movement influenced Dr. Louis Sullivan, who was then Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, to offer public health approaches to prevent violence, as an alternative to the sole option of the criminal justice system.
The best way I know to keep kids out of the criminal justice system is to ensure they have the tools needed to build a productive life. That is why I ran for a seat on the Atlanta Public School Board in 1997. For 14 years I have served with distinction as the representative for District 1, earning a reputation as a trusted leader who cares about the children. I was elected by my peers as the first African American woman president of the board. A few years ago, at the height of an unprecedented crisis, my peers elected me to serve as Chair of the Board for a second time. Mayor Kasim Reed and other prominent community leaders chose me to steer us through a tumultuous period in the wake of a cheating scandal and threatened loss of accreditation. Not only did the Board address a CRCT cheating scandal, we were able to met SACS requirements to receive full accreditation for all schools. We resolved legal charges against the board, disposed of an ethics complaint and hired a new superintendent, all during my tenure as Chair.
Here are a few other significant accomplishments made during my tenure on the APS board:
• Led the way to open Atlanta’s first neighborhood based public-charter
school, Neighborhood Charter.
• Established a Legislative Roundtable of Members of the Atlanta Board
of Education & Atlanta City Council
• Held first school wide “Youth Task Force” to discuss solutions to
violence in Schools and communities
• Championed the $40 million dollar renovation project of Maynard
Jackson High School which will be completed by the end of 2013