Heather Tell Announces Candidacy For Decatur District 2 School Board Seat

Heather Tell’s campaign sent out this announcement…

On Friday, August 11th, Decatur resident Heather Tell announced her candidacy for the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) Board of Education. She’ll be campaigning for the District 2 seat currently held by Bernadette Seals, who is leaving the board after serving with distinction since 2007.

Heather lives in Oakhurst with her husband, Joe, and two daughters, who currently attend CSD at the 4/5 Academy at Fifth Avenue and Renfroe Middle School. She’s served the Decatur community and schools since moving to the neighborhood 15 years ago, volunteering thousands of hours in the community and classroom. During her terms on the Oakhurst Elementary and the F.AVE School Leadership Teams (SLTs), she worked on elementary school redistricting efforts, reviewed school budgets, crafted school improvement plans, and interviewed many new teachers and staff to support CSD’s growth. Heather currently serves as chairperson of F.AVE’s SLT.

“I have a track record of getting things done in our community,” Heather says. “I bring people together and build consensus around issues to move projects forward. Through my years of service in the schools, I’ve supported our teachers and staff to make our schools the best they can be. I take this responsibility very seriously and feel passionately about helping our great schools become even better. My goals for CSD include:

• Enabling every child to reach his or her highest potential, regardless of ability;
• Providing for all students an equitable and challenging education;
• Collaborating with city leadership to understand the impact of development and possible annexation on the schools, and to proactively identify innovative partnerships within the community;
• Emphasizing fiscal responsibility as we support the rapid growth of our student population;
• Encouraging the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) into the curriculum;
• Creating well rounded students through foreign language, art, music, and athletic education.”

Heather is a dedicated community advocate. She’s initiated several community service projects to improve pedestrian safety including: creating a new pedestrian path from Olympic Pl to Mead Rd, improving sidewalks and crosswalks, and improving city parks adjacent to schools and school grounds at Oakhurst and F.AVE. As Georgia Safe Routes to School representative for Oakhurst Elementary from 2011-2015, she led the school to win the Metro Atlanta Partner of the Year Award in 2015.

“My grassroots involvement in community initiatives has allowed me to develop lasting relationships with many city and CSD leaders,” Heather says. “These meaningful relationships will enable me to foster trust and goodwill with the decision makers in our community to help bring out the best in our schools and students.”

Heather has a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University and professional experience in engineering, information technology, and real estate. She is currently a Realtor and top-producing agent at Atlanta Intown Real Estate Services, where she has worked since 2007.

“My professional skills and experience allow me to provide a technical perspective and analytical approach to support planning and responsible expansion of our schools,” Heather points out. “In my career, I leverage effective project management, communication, and negotiation skills. I’ve also hired and managed teams of people, and always maintain high expectations for achievement and performance. Moreover, my real estate experience is focused on the City of Decatur and nearby neighborhoods. This gives me great insight into our city’s growth trends which ultimately affect and impact our schools. My professional skills will be a great asset to CSD in setting and achieving our goals.”

For more information, check out Heather’s website at: ElectHeatherTell.org, and her Elect Heather Tell Facebook page.

Decatur Elementary Schools To Become K-2

Decaturish reports that the School Board voted tonight to change Decatur’s elementary schools to K-2.

The plan will turn the current 4/5 FAVE into a 3-5 school and the school system plans to also build a second 3-5 school at Talley Street.  College Heights will remain as the Early Childhood Learning Center under the plan.

As Decaturish notes, community surveys heavily favored the K-2 plan.

Changes will go into effect for the 2019-2020 school year.


Decatur City & Schools To Hold Annexation Work Session Next Tuesday


Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss sent around an announcement this week stating that the City Commission and School Board would hold a joint work session this coming Tuesday June 7th at 7p to discuss “annexation policy”. That’s all we know at this point.

But back in February, after the GA legislature failed to pass the city’s annexation bill, the city and schools stated in a joint statement

It is anticipated that the City Commission and the Board of Education will revisit annexation later in 2016 to determine what options should be pursued in the future.

So there you go.

New Decatur Superintendent Introduces Himself to Community

David-DudeDecatur Superintendent David Dude wrote this letter to the Decatur school community in the latest CSD eNews email blast…

Dear City Schools of Decatur families, staff, and supporters,

It is with sincere pleasure that I write today to introduce myself to the community. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead one of the greatest school districts in the nation. As a lifelong educator, I am committed to the pursuit of excellence and I eagerly anticipate working with CSD faculty and staff in continuing their ongoing pursuit of the same.

During her tenure in the district, Dr. Phyllis Edwards did tremendous work. With enrollment now projected to exceed 6,000 students by 2020, we are facing unprecedented growth. Furthermore, no doubt influencing the district’s growth and success, most of the current five-year strategic plan has already been accomplished. Recent ACT and SAT scores show CSD students scoring at the top of the state and the nation.

With a change in leadership comes opportunity, an opportunity to reflect on the past, its challenges and its successes. It’s an opportunity to examine our current potential and an opportunity to look to the future with a vision of all the district can be.

Throughout my career in education, excellence has been achieved through a continuous focus on students, empowering all those around them with smart systems, transparent leadership, and innovative solutions to challenging problems, designed and implemented collaboratively. As I look to the future, I envision City Schools of Decatur continuing to excel, while boldly addressing the complex challenges resulting from success and growth. We will celebrate and build on the many skills and talents of our passionate students, faculty, and staff while nurturing the district’s personalized approach to teaching and learning without compromising Decatur’s distinctive spirit and identity.

I thrive in environments with high expectations by people who value success achieved through a combination of collaboration, innovation, and persistence. In Decatur, my wife and I have found a caring community committed to the same ideals. We, along with our three children (ages 4, 6, & 9), are excited to join the Decatur schools and community.

David Dude

Decatur Schools Gets Legislative Support For Senior Tax Exemption – and Other Notable CSD News

CSD logo

A couple of interesting, newsworthy bulleted items included on the agenda for the November 10th Decatur School Board Meeting

Decatur Election Results – Bond Passes Easily, Candidate Results

2015 Decatur ballot

Welp, after all the weeks of contentious conversations and prognosticating, many of the Decatur races and votes didn’t end up being all that close.

With 5 of 7 precincts in Decatur in, the CSD GO Bond looks like it will pass quite easily.  It currently has support from 78% of the electorate.

Tony Powers also has a sizable lead for the At-Large Commissioner seat, with 86% of the vote.

On the southside, Brian Smith has 85% of the vote for the open District 2 commission seat, while Tasha White has 66% of the vote for the open southside school board seat.

The closest race of the night is the northside Commission seat between incumbent Scott Drake and Eric Tumperi.  With two northside precincts yet to report, Drake holds a 55% lead to Tumperi’s 39%.  The unofficial results from one of the two yet-to-report precincts shows Drake with a lead, but we’ve heard the final northside precinct may show a lead for Tumperi, so we won’t call that one just yet.

UPDATE: The latest updated results show only a 128 vote lead for Scott Drake. Though it looks like all precincts have now reported.

UPDATE II: Drake holds the 128 advantage for the victory.

Get a Sneak Peek at the Decatur Ballot For Tomorrow’s Election

2015 Decatur ballot

Chris sends along the ballot that’s up at City Hall for Decatur’s local election tomorrow.

All your favorite candidates are on the list, along with CSD’s $75 million G.O. Bond, and a vote on the DeKalb County Board of Ethics Referendum.

We’ll get to the G.O. Bond in a sec, but were you aware of the Board of Ethics vote?  Well, apparently many folks aren’t.  DeKalb Commissioner Kathie Gannon sent a note around last week mentioning that she’s been hearing that many folks are unaware of the Ethics Referendum vote and urged approval.

The ballot reads “Shall the Act be approved which revises the Board of Ethics for DeKalb County?”  What the heck does that mean?

According to Commissioner Gannon, the new legislation will:

  • Create an independent Board of Ethics. No longer will the Board of Ethics be appointed by the CEO and Board of Commissioners.

  • In addition to elected officials, all County employees, appointed officials and contractors must comply with the ethics standards.

  • The Ethics Board will hire an Ethics Officer to make certain all County officials and employees are aware of the standards. This ethics officer will monitor a hotline and report alleged ethical violations to the Board of Ethics.

  • The Board of Ethics has the power to fine, refer for prosecution and reprimand.

Now it’s on the Decatur Schools’ G.O. Bond.  You’ve had months, if not years, to consider it.  Now it’s time to cast your vote.  Take our unofficial, informal, unscientific poll!

If you’ve waited to the last possible moment to learn about the Decatur school system’s $75 million ask, you can check out CSD’s informational pamphlet HERE.  There’s also a pro-G.O. Bond website put together by local residents with info HERE.