Fulton County school board member to retire before term ends

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Gail Dean, a Fulton County school board member first elected more than two decades ago, announced Tuesday that she’ll retire from her post at the end of October.

Dean, 70, joined the board in 2001 and represents District 3, which includes areas in Sandy Springs, East Point, College Park and Hapeville.

“This has been a really difficult decision for me,” Dean said. “We have accomplished so much together.”

Dean said she felt the time was right to leave office, citing physical challenges as well as a significant board turnover that will take place early next year.

The six remaining board members will appoint Dean’s successor to fill out the remainder of her term, which expires Dec. 31, 2024.

The board will accept applications from people who live in District 3 who are interested in filling her seat. Those applications are due by Oct. 3.

Dean’s departure means the board soon will have four new members. Kristin McCabe, Michelle Morancie and Lillie Pozatek will take over seats in January that had been held by long-serving board members who decided not to run for reelection this year.

The departing board members are President Julia Bernath, Linda McCain and Katie Reeves.

Dean cited the board’s financial stewardship of the state’s fourth-largest school system among the accomplishments she’s most proud of, along with building new schools and renovating others in her district. Her district is the only one to straddle both northern and southern parts of Fulton County.

Several dozen school officials and others in attendance at the meeting gave her a standing ovation after her announcement, and Superintendent Mike Looney hugged her.

Bernath, who said she’s known Dean since they were both PTA moms, credited Dean for helping the board navigate through tough issues.

“I am so proud to have been able to serve with you all these years,” Bernath said. “You always put students first.”

Dean, a beekeeper, said she would spend her retirement “taking care of my health, my family and my bees.”