Kelley, a chemistry professor at Georgia State University Perimeter College, is Sandy Springs’ first Black elected official since the city incorporated in 2005. Friday, she described the swearing-in ceremony as surreal and humbling after a long campaign season.
When Kelley announced plans to run for office in January 2021, she was the first candidate to stake a claim in November’s local election. She said she was running because it was “vital to create a more vibrant, inclusive and forward-thinking community where every voice is heard and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
Friday, the new councilwoman said it was important to have her 15-year-old daughter, Kiara, by her side during the ceremony and added that Sandy Springs has to do a better job of engaging youth in the inner workings of local government.
Kelley added that she wants her daughter, as a person of color, to know that all paths are open to her.
“I feel a duty to model the limitless potential that I feel she and every young person has,” Kelley said. “I have a duty to model that she belongs everywhere.”