By Curt Yeomans
The Clayton County Board of Education will have nine members sooner, rather than later.
The board is scrapping plans to wait until the new year to swear in Pamela Adamson and Charlton Bivins, the winners of last week's run-off elections in Districts 1 and 2. Instead, Adamson and Bivins will be sworn in before the Dec. 15 board work session.
"They won elections," said board Chairperson Alieka Anderson. "They've worked hard. With all hard work they've done, we should go ahead and let them take office now."
Adamson and Bivins will fill the remaining two years in the unexpired terms of former board members Michelle Strong and Sandra Scott. Gov. Sonny Perdue removed them from office in August for alleged unethical behavior and violations of the state's Open Meetings Act.
Adamson, a former Clayton County assistant superintendent, said she is ready to take office. However, she expects to be filled with a mixture of anxiety and excitement during her first meeting. She has several friends and relatives coming to the meeting to watch her take office, and it will be the first time she has gone from attending board meetings as either a school system employee, or observer, to being a board member.
Adamson has been wanting to get a board meeting packet for three months, and is eagerly anticipating its arrival later this week.
"I'm a task person, and I will devour it," she said. "I will simply go through it line by line, item by item, and begin to learn what's going on in this school system."
Bivins, the former chairman of the Concerned Citizens of Clayton County (C4), said he is equally ready and excited to join the board. He has already printed out every board policy available on the system's website and put them into binders for easy referencing.
His only hope is that he does not get on the board and try to act like a community advocate. He is afraid such a mindset would lead him to act like former board members who were ultimately accused of micromanagement. Since his election, he has been doing his homework, including going over school system's website, and attending the Georgia School Boards Association conference last week.
"I have dissected that entire website," Bivins said. "I want to know everything about my district. I don't want to ever be questioned about this school district and not know the answer. I want to be an expert of Clayton County Public Schools."
Wanda Smith and Ophelia Burroughs, winners in Nov. 4 general election for the Districts 2 and 5, will not be sworn into office until Jan. 5. Their seats are occupied by Lindsey McDaniel, III, and Trena Morris, who will not leave office until Dec. 31. Adamson, Bivins, Smith and Burroughs will join the board at its retreat this weekend in Peachtree City.
During the retreat, the board members, and board members-elect will receive training from officials from the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government; the Georgia School Boards Association, and the State Board of Education.