Andrew Ziffer of Dunwoody, who volunteers with several local school groups, announced Nov. 6 he is running for the District 1 seat on the DeKalb County Board of Education currently held by Stan Jester. His said his agenda includes creating an atmosphere of collaboration between school officials and the community rather than one of division.The District 1 seat includes voters from Dunwoody, Chamblee, Brookhaven and Doraville. The election is May 19, 2020.
Ziffer has a daughter attending DeKalb Schools. He volunteers with the Peachtree Charter Middle School Foundation, is on the Peachtree Gateway Council on Schools, was on the Dunwoody Elementary School Principal Advisory Council, and was a Dunwoody Elementary School PTO volunteer and chair of its technology committee. He has a background in Information Technology, real estate investment, and commercial property management.
“[I am] a firm believer that a community working together solving problems is much better than working apart or against each other,” Ziffer said. “Few people in District 1 are happy with the way the DeKalb Schools are being run. The incumbent has been elected twice, running with no opposition.”
Jester said he is planning to run for a third term next year. He was first elected to the school board in 2014. He has been outspoken and critical of Superintendent Steve Green and his administration on issues ranging from spending to redistricting. He accused Ziffer of working behind the scenes with the school district.
“He stands for closed doors and backroom deals,” Jester said.
Ziffer responded to Jester’s comment by saying his campaign is about prioritizing students needs, taking responsibility, operating with Integrity and building bridges.
“A leader must operate with integrity and be open,” Ziffer said. “I will be focused on solving problems.”
Ziffer said in his announcement he wants to create a collaborative environment between the community and school district that results in a “partnership and not war with our school system.” He also said wants to raise awareness about overcrowding in schools and the importance of long-term planning, so students aren’t having to learn in trailers.
“I will represent our community better by reaching my hand across the table looking for solutions and not faulting the other side of the table for the problems. I will represent our community better by listening more and talking less,” he said.
Addressing deferred maintenance and facilities’ needs; ensuring that long-term enrollment planning is accurate, regular, and matches facility capacity; and improving the culture and climate of the DeKalb County School District are also on his agenda, Ziffer said.
“I will represent our community better by taking action and looking forward for solutions rather than looking back to complain and I will represent our community by calling out misinformation, mismanagement, and fiscal irresponsibility,” Ziffer said. “My platform is laser-focused. I will represent our community better with messages of partnership and not war with our school system.”
This story has been updated with a comment from Andrew Ziffer in response to a comment by Stan Jester.