Incumbents running for re-election to Atlanta’s Board of Education and City Council did well in the Nov. 5 elections.
All of Buckhead’s representatives on the Atlanta City Council won re-election, including District 7 Councilman Howard Shook, the unopposed District 8 Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean and District 9 Councilwoman Felicia Moore.
Buckhead also picked up representation on the council. Buckhead resident Mary Norwood beat incumbent Councilman Aaron Watson by 2,623 votes for the council’s Post 2 At-Large seat.
Incumbents did well in the school board elections, too. Conventional wisdom held that the tumultuous last four years at Atlanta Public Schools, which included a test cheating scandal that lead to criminal charges against the former school superintendent, would mean a likely defeat for incumbents.
But that wasn’t the case on Nov. 5.
District 4 Board of Education member Nancy Meister fended off a challenge from Taryn Bowman, and won in a landslide, receiving 65 percent of the vote.
“I am extremely happy our message was heard and my commitment to our community resulted in voters reelecting me to the District 4 seat,” Meister said in a “thank you” message to her supporters.
Board of Education Chairman Reuben McDaniel survived against four challengers, winning 36.7 percent of the vote, and making it to a Dec. 3 runoff against Cynthia Briscoe Brown, who received 25.8 percent of the vote.
Brown is the former president of North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools. Most of McDaniel’s opponents were from the Buckhead community. Many Buckhead parents were enraged by McDaniel’s actions in response allegations of racism North Atlanta High.
In the fall of 2012, Atlanta Public School officials removed Principal Mark MyGrant days before his retirement and replaced the school’s leadership team. APS then launched an investigation into the allegations. The investigation concluded there was no evidence supporting racist behavior by school staff.
McDaniel addressed the North Atlanta investigation in a videotaped interview released a few days before the Nov. 5 election.
“It’s not my job to get inside the school and evaluate whether that’s right or wrong, but it is my job to take that down to the administration and say, ‘A lot of people are concerned about this.’ One of the challenges about racism in our culture today is that we just don’t want to have the real conversations about it,” McDaniel says in the video.
“It’s not so much that people are overtly trying to hurt another class or another type of person because they hate them because of their race. It’s really more of a negligence or not understanding of what the sensitivities are.”