From left, Gantt and Williams.
Carol Williams served a term on the state school board before winning election to two terms on the Clarke County school board, so there’s no denying her experience. Part of the board that had to deal with financial mismanagement left over from former superintendent Lewis Holloway's tenure and was appalled by the Cedar Shoals sexual assault debacle at the end of Philip Lanoue’s administration, Williams sees her job as holding new superintendent Demond Means accountable and ensuring that CCSD is on sound fiscal footing. LaKeisha Gantt has experience, too, but from the inside: She was a CCSD behavioral specialist until 2015 and has seen the system’s problems firsthand. She aims to improve discipline by addressing the root problems facing students, rather than merely punishing them.
Residence: Swanson Drive
Top priorities (from Gantt's candidate questionnaire):
I believe school climate is one of the most important issues facing schools. School climate has a direct impact on the quality of experiences our students, families, and teachers have. Based on my experience within the Clarke County School District, there are three areas of school climate that warrant ongoing focus: Leadership Development, Teacher Support, and Discipline.
1. Leadership development must be intentional. Leadership that is shared and ethical promotes positive school climates.
2. Teachers deserve environments in which their professional needs are met. Factors such as class size, course loads, planning time, as well as professional development are important in ensuring teacher support, and positive school climates.
3. Discipline impacts the quality of daily school experiences for students, teachers, and administrators alike. It is also important that student discipline: is done in a way that prioritizes relationships; preserves the dignity of all involved; includes teaching expected behaviors; aims to address the underlying needs of behaviors; and is equitable.
As a board member I will support policies and procedures that help maintain positive school climates. Furthermore, I will use my voice to advocate, ask questions, and carefully scrutinize policies, procedures, and practices that undermine these areas of school climate.
Occupation: Realtor and school board member
Residence: St. George Place
Top priorities: Williams did not complete Flagpole's candidate questionnaire.