Tamara Jones is a mother of two APS graduates and one current APS student. She has served on school and district-wide teams and committees throughout her 15 years as an APS parent.
Jones’s goals include ensuring that lines of communication are open between the board and APS families to make sure their voices are heard. She also wants to increase literacy and language proficiency by aiming to get 100 percent of the class of 2032 reading proficiently by 5th grade.
“I have the experience of K-12 in APS and I’m a mom. I’ve been under the hood of APS long enough to see the structural defects but also the opportunities we have to be a stellar school district if we’re able to connect more dots and build more bridges.”
Royce Mann is a 2020 graduate of Midtown High School and a current political science major at Emory University. As a student, he was a member of Midtown’s GO team and worked on the effort to rename the school.
Mann wants to make changes to the curriculums taught in APS to include works by more women and people of color. He wants to implement more life skills courses like financial literacy. Mann also would increase access to work-based and vocational training for APS students.
“While we can’t elect a student to the board of education, the voters of Atlanta have the opportunity to elect a recent graduate. Someone who has been an outspoken and passionate advocate in the community. It’s not about electing me, it’s about electing someone who is able to show students that they can have a seat at the table when it comes to decisions that affect them.”
Stephen Spring is an education and equity consultant for public school districts across the country. He worked as a public school teacher for over 20 years and was previously elected to the board of education in Portland, Oregon.
Spring wants to make changes in APS that will increase equity overall throughout the district. He wants to decrease the number of standardized tests given to students, make sure tax money is being spent in the classrooms and give more power to families and teachers in APS.
“I’m experienced, I’m an educator and I know school systems inside and out. I’ve taught thousands of children and I continue to do work in the public education sphere. I know education policy inside and out. On top of all of that, I have a thick skin that I will use to deflect any types of attacks that might happen for me to do the right thing for students and parents.”
Kanesha “KaCey” Venning has worked in and around Atlanta Public Schools for over a decade. She was a tutor to first and second graders in APS through AmeriCorp and provided wraparound services when she worked at Families First. Currently, she runs a nonprofit focusing on empowering black male youth working mainly with students at Washington and Douglass High Schools.
Venning says she wants to make sure the district is just as committed to technical and trade education as it is to college track education. One of her main goals is to Increase collaboration between the school board and the city council to make sure students are taken care of between 3 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“People should vote for me because I definitely have experience working with students in terms of what happens when they are or are not educated well in classrooms. I come with a robust experience, being one of the few candidates in the race— across all the districts, that are still presently working with students that attend Atlanta Public Schools.”
Patricia “Granny P” Crayton did not respond to the Atlanta Voice’s interview request.