The incoming board will quickly have to make major decisions on who to hire as superintendent, how to improve academic results and whether to expand school choice options in a district where charter schools have flourished, with 1 in 12 students enrolled in charters.
The board will include four members who participated in the Teach for America program, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in low-income communities, often in charter schools. Their TFA experience increases the number of school board members who have taught in classrooms, but it also calls attention to how they’ll vote on issues concerning charter schools.
The four school board members who are TFA graduates are Courtney English, Matt Westmoreland, Jason Esteves and Eshé Collins. English and Westmoreland were elected last month, and Esteves and Collins won runoffs Tuesday.
Esteves, an attorney, defeated education business owner Lori James for a citywide seat. Esteves won with 71 percent of the vote.
In a south Atlanta district, Collins, an attorney and program director at Georgia State University, prevailed over Dell Byrd, a property manager and former teacher. Collins earned 59 percent of the vote.
In west Atlanta, counseling center director Steven Lee won election with 59 percent of the vote over Mary Palmer, an academic coach.