Decatur school board member Annie Caiola (left) shown here with Decatur High teacher Jenna Black and Superintendent David Dude. Caiola announced her resignation Monday night with 29 months left in her second term. Courtesy City Schools Decatur

Decatur school board member Caiola announces resignation

Speaking before a tiny crowd of mostly central office staffers during Monday’s Decatur school board meeting, board member Annie Caiola announced her resignation, effective August 1. She was elected in November 2013 and again in 2017, running unopposed both times, and served as Board Chair in 2016 and 2017. She vacates her seat with 29 months left in her second term.

Caiola cited increased demands of her both her family and her law practice. In 2017 she and Elizabeth Rose started Caiola & Rose, a Decatur firm specializing in real estate and franchise law.

“The work load of the board has always been pretty consistent,” Caiola said after the meeting. “The shifting factors are my personal and professional lives. I haven’t spent a long time thinking about this. It just became apparent that, even though stepping down is not easy, I had no choice—I really couldn’t wait [to complete the term].”

Caiola is serving during one of the most dramatic transitions in City Schools Decatur history, or at least since the white flight era of the late 1960s, early 1970s.

During her tenure district-wide enrollment has nearly doubled, with the elementary grades getting reconfigured into separate K-2 and 3-5 schools beginning this August. In 2015 voters passed a $75 million general obligation bond that paid for various school construction projects to accommodate that growth. The bond’s final project, Talley Street Elementary, will open in August, CSD’ first new school on a brand new site in nearly a half century.

Also in 2015 she and her fellow board members selected David Dude from among 85 applicants as CSD’s 10th superintendent since 1902.

The board will appoint a new member to fill Caiola’s at-large seat through December. But November’s election will determine who will serve the final two years (Jan. 2020 through Dec. 2021) of her term.

In a press release CSD said, “The board will accept letters of interest from qualified individuals interested in serving for those four months. Details about the selection process will be shared in the near future.”

Two other seats are also up for re-election this fall. In January Garrett Goebel announced he was stepping down from district one next December, the end of his eighth year on the board. Meantime Vice Chair Tasha White has said she’ll seek re-election in district two.

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