School board chair to be selected

By Greg Gelpi

After calls for the chairwoman's resignation and public outcry that eventually led to her being defeated at the polls, the Clayton County Board of Education has an opening for a new chair and that person will be selected tonight.

One of the school board's first tasks will be selecting a new leader for the new board. The board has five newly elected members after elections and decisions not to run wiped five off the board, including controversial Chairwoman Nedra Ware.

After returning Vice Chairwoman Ericka Davis opens the meeting tonight, the board will select a new chair and vice chair from among its nine members.

Many of the board members attended a prayer luncheon hosted by Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eldrin Bell last week, Davis said.

"It felt so much like a whole new beginning," she said.

The previous school board endured a rough two years after some members fired then Superintendent Dan Colwell, holding secret meetings and suffering a yearlong probation by the school system's accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Although the probation was lifted at the end of the year, the school system remains on a yearlong warned status.

"I think the board would be well represented by any one of us," Davis said, running down the list of board members and detailing what each brings to the board. "Everyone comes to the board with their own strengths."

Davis, though, didn't dismiss the possibility of her becoming chairwoman of the school board.

"I wouldn't decline being considered," Davis said. "Whatever is the will of the board, I'm happy with."

The last board had several members with experience in education, but the new board brings together a variety of experiences and backgrounds, she said.

"We certainly have a great respect for each other," Davis said. "We have respect for each other's strengths as well as each other's weaknesses."

The board will hold an orientation at 6 and an executive session at 6:30 tonight.

The board will also hold orientation retreats from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Both are tentatively scheduled for the executive board room of the Administrative Complex and are open to the public.