Equity in Education (EiE), in partnership with ALi at Lakewood, hosted the first School Board Candidate Debate of this election season Wednesday evening. Representatives from Equity in Education with candidates left to right: Nkoyo Effiong Lewis, Tamara Jones, Jessica Johnson, Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, and Michelle Olympiadis. Photo by Isaiah Singleton/The Atlanta Voice

Early voting begins in less than a month for the Atlanta School Board elections with 10 candidates vying for votes and the opportunity to help shape the city’s public school system. The 10 candidates are running for five open school board seats (out of nine) in Atlanta Public School districts 1, 3, and 5, plus at-large citywide districts 7 and 9. 

Early voting is scheduled from Oct. 16 through Nov. 3. Election day is Nov. 7 and runoff elections for any seats, if necessary, take place in December. 

The 2023 Atlanta School Board candidates are: 

I.     District 1, Maynard Jackson Cluster: 

  • Incumbent Katie Howard, who is running unopposed, was first elected in 2021. For the last 15 years, Howard has served as a staff member for three city councilmembers giving her a wealth of experience in government and policy making systems, as well as providing meaningful relationships with people and organizations throughout the city. 

II.   District 3: Midtown Cluster 

  • Incumbent Michelle Olympiadis has served on the school board since 2017. She is also a board member for the Georgia School Boards Association. 
  • Ken Zeff is the executive director of local education nonprofit Learn4Life. He served as Fulton County’s interim school superintendent for the 2015-16 school year. 

III.  District 5: Mays Cluster 

During the community Q&A, community members brought up questions regarding Atlanta Public School properties, board meeting awareness, produce when it comes to student lunches, resources, and more. Photo by Isaiah Singleton/The Atlanta Voice
  • Incumbent Erika Mitchell was first elected in 2017. She’s the vice president of business development for ChanceLight Education, which contracts with public school districts and other educational institutions to provide special education programs.
  • Raynard Johnson, is a digital media and IT consultant. He lost bids for an APS board seat in 2017 and 2021.  

     IV: District 7: At Large 

  • Incumbent Tamara Jones has worked in architecture and urban planning for over 25 years, according to her campaign bio. She was elected to the board in 2021. 
  • Alfred “Shivy” Brooks teaches economics, personal finance and government at Charles Drew High School for Clayton County Public Schools. Brooks unsuccessfully ran for Post 1 at Large on the Atlanta City Council in 2021.  
  • William “Will” Sardin has worked as a registered nurse for 30 years in both the clinical and administrative areas.

     V: District 9: At Large 

  • Jessica Johnson was appointed to the school board in January 2023 to fill former board member Jason Esteves’ seat. Esteves resigned because he was elected to the Georgia Senate.  
  • Nkoyo Effiong Lewis is an education advocacy attorney and directs the Law Practice Management program at the State Bar of Georgia.