Election Day marked a victory for DeKalb County’s brand new School Board member Vickie B. Turner, a neophyte who won her election with 59.74 percent of the votes.
Turner is set to represent District 5, defeating her opponent Thad Mayfield, who was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal. Her bid for the School Board was the first time she had sought public office.
District 5 consists of several schools such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Southwest DeKalb and Arabia Mountain high schools.
“The district is in need of reformation, and [there’s] some challenges that are in front of us,” Turner said. “But even with that awareness, there’s an excitement to become part of the change and to become part of the solution, so I do look forward with great anticipation and hope for positive things to impact our community and our children.”
Turner said that one of the major issues troubling the county is large class sizes. According to her, teachers can’t effectively reach their students in huge groups, so she would like to have more teachers hired in an effort to minimize the size of these classrooms.
Turner also wants to keep DeKalb from losing good teachers. She says providing them with a compensation package that will equate to their credentials as well as their experiences is one way to keep them.
Turner would like teachers to be able to educate children with various learning styles and to increase parent involvement by adjusting the budget and creating more incentives for parent engagement.
Turner said she believes her ideas and willingness to work resonated with voters who cast their ballots for her.
“I think that what probably stood out the most with me when it comes to connecting with people was the passion that I exude,” Turner said. “I’m passionate about the desire that I have that all children should be afforded the opportunity to be educated [on the] highest level that we can provide.”
Having been in education for over 24 years, the former educator said she believes that she can connect with many from the administration down to the mothers.
“I know what mothers need and want for their children,” she said. “I could relate to teachers because I’ve taught children, [and] I know what teachers want and desire in their classrooms. I could relate to administration because I understand [crunching] numbers. I understand what it is to work with a deficit and make day-to-day decisions.”
She feels as if her relations with these types of people go beyond her background.
“I think people are looking for authentic people who can relate to where they are in life, what their desires are, and I think that came across well,” she said. “The Scripture says that Jesus Christ was moved and touched with the feeling of our infirmity, and I embody that. It’s very easy for me to be moved and touched with the challenges that parents face.”
Turner thanked her husband, three children as well as voters for their support.
“It goes without saying that my family has been a source of great strength,” she said. “I’m very thankful for the citizens of DeKalb County, in particular those that are in District 5, that found confidence in me that I indeed could make a difference and afford their children a quality learning experience. I’m very thankful for the community at large.”
In other school board races, Incumbent Jim McMahan will keep his District 4 seat, receiving 4,618 or 57.57 percent of the vote. Competitor Karen Carter received 3,404 or 42.43 percent of the vote. Incumbent Michael Irwin will keep his District 3 seat, receiving 4,164 or 58.81 percent of the vote. Competitor Atticus Leblanc received 2,916 or 41.19 percent of the vote.