Close contests force runoffs for Atlanta school board

Four races for Atlanta Board of Education will be decided in runoff elections after multiway contests split the vote.

But a few other city school board contests were settled Tuesday, including one in which voters threw out a sitting board member.

Small business owner Leslie Grant defeated longtime board member Brenda Muhammad to represent southeast Atlanta.

Incumbents prevailed in two other races: Courtney English held onto his seat over school administrator Nisha Simamma in a citywide election, and Nancy Meister was re-elected over film consultant Taryn Chilivis Bowman to represent north Atlanta.

Runoffs will be held Dec. 3 to decide on representatives for west and southwest Atlanta, as well as two citywide seats.

One of those runoffs involves board Chairman Reuben McDaniel, who gathered the most votes among five candidates for an at-large seat. He’ll face attorney Cynthia Briscoe Brown.

In another at-large race, attorney Jason Esteves will compete against education business owner Lori James. They were the top two candidates among five running.

In west Atlanta, academic coach Mary Palmer and counseling center director Steven Lee will face off after leading a four-way race.

In south Atlanta, a runoff will determine whether Georgia State University program director Eshé Collins or investment property manager Dell Byrd emerges as the winner from a four-candidate race.

Two candidates won seats on the school board without facing any competition. They are incumbent Byron Amos, who represents central Atlanta, and newcomer Matt Westmoreland, a high school history teacher who will represent east Atlanta.