Straker retains school board seat in Clayton

Benjamin Straker, Sr., a Democrat, will get a second term on the Clayton County Board of Education, winning easily in District 9.

Kimberly E. Cowan-Keane, a Republican is a school teachers in the system and ran on her knowledge and experience. 

With about 100 percent of the vote counted, but not certified, Straker had an insurmountable lead with more than 84 percent of the vote to Cowan-Keane’s 14-plus percent, according to unofficial results.

He is a local businessman who is finishing an MBA degree from Clayton State University. He was also recently appointed to the Georgia School Board Associations Rural Task Force. 

Straker named some of his top issues as making sure schools are prepared for their critical role in preparing students to enter the workforce, funding and equity across the system, and teacher recruitment and retention. 

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“There is a growing gap between the skills needed by companies and what graduates have,” Straker said. “As a Clayton County board member, my colleagues and I have worked collaboratively with the superintendent, principals, teachers, students, families, business and community partners to bridge the growing skill gap.”. 

The district has also increased the number of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education programs that prepare students for the workforce in areas such as aviation, film technology, law enforcement, forensic science and firefighting. 

He is also concerned about teacher recruitment and retention. “There are fewer students going into teaching, and many are leaving the profession. Meanwhile, student populations are growing. Teacher quality is basic to providing a good education.”

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