While the Atlanta mayor’s race and seats on the City Council were clearly decided on Election Day, it will take another round at the polls to determine who will occupy all the seats on the Atlanta School Board. Four of the nine races will go to a Dec. 3 runoff election, as none of the candidates received more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday night.
Academic coach Mary Palmer and counseling center director Steven Lee will face off after finishing at the top of a four-way race for the District 5 seat. In District 6, Georgia State University program director Eshé Collins will take on investment property manager Dell Byrd. Board Chairman Reuben McDaniel, who gathered the most votes among five candidates for an at-large seat, will face top challenger Cynthia Brown. Jason Esteves will face Lori James in the remaining runoff contest for the District 9 at-large seat.
Brenda J. Muhammad was the lone incumbent to be ousted in an election, losing in her District 1 contest to small business owner Leslie Grant. Muhammad led for much of the night, but as more precincts reported late in the evening Grant pulled away, eventually winning the contest by nearly 1,000 votes and taking 57 percent of the vote.
Courtney English held onto his seat over school administrator Nisha Simama in a citywide election, and Nancy Meister was re-elected over film consultant Taryn Chilivis Bowman to represent north Atlanta.
Incumbent Byron Amos, who represents central Atlanta, ran unopposed as did newcomer Matt Westmoreland, who will represent east Atlanta.
Twenty-six people ran for seats on the Board and four of the nine Board members did not seek re-election. One of the new Board’s first priorities will be the selection of a replacement to retiring Superintendent Erroll Davis Jr.
Davis replaced Superintendent Beverly Hall on July 1, 2011 amid an increasing public outcry over allegations of test cheating during Hall’s tenure.