I first moved to Atlanta from St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of 9. The first school I attended in Atlanta was Margaret Mitchell Elementary, but then I moved to Sandy Springs where I attended Sandy Springs Middle School and North Springs High School. I then moved to Midtown Atlanta to attend Georgia State University, and I continued to live there throughout my 20's. A couple years after marrying my wife Tonya, we decided to move from our Midtown apartment and bought a house in the historic Howell Station Neighborhood, where we have been living and raising 3 children for the last 14 years.
I have been a hairstylist and business owner in Atlanta for 22 years and my experience has kept me in touch with people from all over the city, including teachers, school administrators, business leaders and public officials. As our oldest child began to reach school age, discussing education and asking my clients about schools and their school experiences became a constant subject.
When our eldest began attending Centennial Elementary School, Tonya joined the school's Local School Council where we both stayed informed on matters pertaining to the school and its community involvement. After a few years, each of our children were attending Centennial Academy, to which it was renamed and changed into a Conversion Charter School. That was the result of a major redistricting process and decision of the former Atlanta Board of Education and Superintendent. During that process is when I began to advocate for our family and our neighborhood's best interests.
Our oldest decided to move on to Inman Middle School for 6th grade, at which time I got more involved and represented Inman on the Council for Intown Neighborhoods and Schools (CINS). Through my experience with CINS, I began to get more into the workings of the Grady High School cluster and the schools that feed into it. There I continue to learn the issues that affect each school, in addition to the differences and similarities in each community. What I also realized are the same issues are affecting the communities on the Westside, where less attention and money is being allocated.
The Westside of Atlanta, especially the communities of District 2, are experiencing massive growth and gentrification at rapid pace. I am ready to represent all the people of District 2 and help them come together for better schools that help to strengthen communities. It is time for families to stop feeling the need to move to another area of the city or beyond where they see the schools are better performing and being given more support by those communities, counties and cities. It is time to be proactive and not reactive as we see so often within our city.
The current plans for Atlanta Public Schools do not include rebuilding or creating elementary, middle or high schools on the Westside. Millions of dollars are being spent on schools over the next four years within the Grady High School cluster. The addition of a new building at Grady High School will be the only part of that money benefiting a relatively small portion of District 2. I am not okay with that and would like to be your voice and help District 2 get what it deserves: equality in schools, in every way. Please vote Chadd Jonesmith, September 17th. WEST UP NOW!