Atlanta school board will get two new members in January

Alfred "Shivy" Brooks, left, and Ken Zeff, right, were elected in the 2023 election cycle to serve on the Atlanta school board. AJC FILE PHOTOS .

Credit: AJC FILE PHOTOS

Credit: AJC FILE PHOTOS

Alfred "Shivy" Brooks, left, and Ken Zeff, right, were elected in the 2023 election cycle to serve on the Atlanta school board. AJC FILE PHOTOS .

The Atlanta school board will welcome two new members to its ranks in January.

Ken Zeff won the District 3 seat in the Nov. 7 general election, defeating incumbent Michelle Olympiadis. Alfred “Shivy” Brooks won the At-Large Seat 7 runoff election Tuesday over incumbent Tamara Jones, according to unofficial election results.

Odd-numbered school board seats were up for re-election this year. District 1 incumbent Katie Howard ran unopposed. Incumbents Erika Mitchell (District 5) and Jessica Johnson (At-Large Seat 9) held onto their seats.

Here is a look at the two newest board members who will be sworn in next month.

Ken Zeff, District 3

Ken Zeff is the former interim superintendent of Fulton County's school system. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Credit: Contributed

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Credit: Contributed

Zeff is currently the founding executive director of Learn4Life, a group of nonprofits and businesses that have teamed up with metro Atlanta school districts to improve student achievement. He earned a doctorate in education leadership from Georgia State University and served as chief strategy officer and interim superintendent of Fulton County Schools from June 2015 to May 2016.

“I’m in this race because I can do better for our kids,” Zeff said during a debate. “I think (if) we push out resources to our schools, get the superintendent hire right, focus on strategy. We need to be laser-focused on literacy.”

District 3 includes the Midtown cluster of schools and Drew Charter School in East Lake. Zeff and his wife have three children who have attended APS. Their oldest graduated last year.

Alfred “Shivy” Brooks, At-Large Seat 7

Alfred "Shivy" Brooks kicks off his campaign for the At-Large District 7 seat of the Atlanta Public Schools across the street from Maynard Jackson High School on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Jenni Girtman for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Jenni Girtman

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Credit: Jenni Girtman

Brooks teaches economics and government at Charles Drew High School in Clayton County. He worked with state legislators this year to pass House Bill 792, which changed a long-standing regulation that banned teachers from serving on Atlanta’s school board while they’re still in the classroom.

“If you taught four years ago, five years ago, what you understand about our schools and our children and their needs ... does not line up with where we are today,” he said in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview.

Brooks has been an APS parent in the Jackson cluster of schools for 13 years. He has also been involved in education advocacy and founded a group called Teachers for Good Trouble, a national network of educators aimed at “creating safe, nurturing, and justice-driven school communities,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

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