Nominating panel moves closer to short list for DeKalb school board seats

Gov. Nathan Deal’s nominating panel is moving closer to naming possible replacements for the DeKalb School Board. Today, the five-member panel is interviewing 50 to 60 candidates for the six suspended board members’ seats.


The panel conducted 20-minute interviews for 40 people over the weekend. The group hopes to make recommendations to the governor this week, possibly as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, officials say.


Also today, the governor is meeting with NAACP officials to hear their concerns. A press conference is scheduled after the meeting.

Meanwhile, of the 403 candidates who applied for the six school board seats, 101 have been disqualified because they did not meet residency requirements or other criteria, state lawmakers said.


Several DeKalb legislators met on Sunday to get an update and give input on the nominating process to two community liaisons appointed by the governor—Robert Brown, a member of the state transportation board, and Brad Bryant, executive director for Georgia Foundation for Public Education and former state school board superintendent (appointed in 2010 by Gov. Sonny Perdue). State legislators who wanted to make recommendations for candidates who should and should not be considered for the school board seats had an opportunity to do so, or to not participate in the selection process at all.


State Rep. Rahn Mayo said he thought it was important the governor reached out to include DeKalb’s state lawmakers in the nominating process.


“I attended because I want to understand the process,” said Mayo. “Because we are part of the community, we may have additional information that may be helpful in the decision-making process.”


Mayo said, however, that some lawmakers did not want to participate in the selection process at all because of the school board’s pending lawsuit challenging the removals as a violation of voters’ civil rights. Under a 2011 law, the governor has the right to suspend board members of a school district that has been placed on accreditation probation. The DeKalb School district was placed on probation in December after its accrediting agency cited numerous financial mismanagement problems and school board governance issues.

Photo caption: L-R: Kenneth Mason, who will serve as chair, James “Jim” Bostick, Jr., Sadie Dennard, Alicia Phillip and Garry McGiboney; comprise the panel who will nominate replacements for the DeKalb School Board.