No variable specified
Seat 8 at-large Atlanta Board of Education candidates Q&A
by Megan Thornton
October 30, 2013 01:58 PM | 2119 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cynthia Briscoe Brown
Cynthia Briscoe Brown
Reuben McDaniel
Reuben McDaniel
Mark Riley
Mark Riley
Tom Tidwell
Tom Tidwell
Dave Walker
Dave Walker
Editor’s note: Cynthia Briscoe Brown, Mark Riley, incumbent Reuben McDaniel, Tom Tidwell and Dave Walker are battling for the Seat 8 at-large Atlanta Board of Education position in Tuesday’s nonpartisan election.

o Name, age: Cynthia Briscoe Brown, 52

o Occupation: Attorney

o Education: bachelor’s degree in modern literature and religion from Davidson College, 1983; law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1986

o Political experience: First time running for public office; has served as a leader on parent groups

o Family: husband Jim; children Caroline, 21, and Palmer, 17

o Why are you the best choice? “I’m the only candidate whose children have attended APS schools K-12 without interruption. My breadth and depth of perspective come from years of service citywide at every level. I have the knowledge of where we’ve been, appreciation of where we are, and new ideas to move us together into a brighter future for each and every child.”

o Top three issues: Develop a cohesive, coherent APS vision and mission, hire a superintendent who collaborates with the board and all stakeholders and put APS’ financial house in order

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $5,300

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Reuben McDaniel, 52

o Occupation: president and CEO of Atlanta-based asset management company RM Capital Management

o Education: bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 1984; master’s degree in finance from the University of Texas, 1988.

o Political experience: Elected in 2009; served as the school board chairman for past two years

o Family: one daughter

o Why are you the best choice? “I’ve spent a lot of time working throughout the city. While my daughter goes to North Atlanta High School, I’m interested in educating the entire city. … For the past two years I have been chair, we have had a board that truly is taking the collective nine opinions and making them into policy. … We are challenging the issues, not just signing off on them,” he said. “Once we come up with a path, we move lockstep with that path.”

o Top issues: improving graduation rates and having a responsible fiscal 2014 budget

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $9,284

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Mark B. Riley, 58

o Occupation: real estate/foundation executive

o Education: bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Vanderbilt University, 1977; law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, 1980

o Political experience: served as the Seat 8 at-large member on the school board from 2002 through 2009 and lost to Reuben McDaniel in 2009.

o Family: wife Becky; sons Rob, 21, and John, 19

o Why are you the best choice? “I believe my previous experience serving on the board coupled with my years of cumulative knowledge about what works in public education makes me the best choice. Through the charitable foundation that I run, I am exposed to cutting edge research and best practices, both locally and nationally, that are working for students. I possess the critical understanding, commitment, and leadership skills necessary to help recruit a high-quality superintendent and mount a community-wide effort to turn around this dysfunctional school system.”

o Top three issues: bringing a collective vision to the school board, recruiting and hiring the best possible superintendent and reallocating budget resources from the central office to the schools.

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $89,468

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Tom Tidwell, 50

o Occupation: Attorney

o Education: bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgia State University, 1989; law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, 1992

o Political experience: first time running for public office

o Family: wife and two daughters

o Why are you the best choice? “I will bring hard work and common sense leadership to APS. As a trial lawyer, I have a unique skill set that allows me to identify problems, analyze issues critically, communicate effectively with clients, jurors and judges, and negotiate compromises by finding common ground between adversarial parties. All of these skills apply to being an effective board member.”

o Top three issues: Restructuring APS so principals and teachers have the autonomy and discretion to be innovative and creative in the classroom, improving early childhood education so every child is reading at or above grade level by third grade and hiring a superintendent who shares these goals and visions.

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: $36,182

o Campaign website:

o Name, age: Dave Walker, 68

o Occupation: Downtown street vendor

o Education: n/a

o Political experience: In 1997 and 2009 he ran for Atlanta City Council president and lost to Robb Pitts and Ceaser C. Mitchell, respectively. Eight years ago he ran for Atlanta mayor and lost to Shirley Franklin.

o Family: n/a

o Why are you the best choice? “I’m running because citizens, regular citizens, don’t seem to understand government is for the people, by the people and of the people. I want to get elected to show the government should respond to the needs of the people and not the other way around,” he said in 2009.

o Top issues: n/a

o Net campaign funds through Sept. 30: n/a (He did not file a report and was fined $125 by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.)

o Campaign website: None
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides