Three school board races decided, one headed to runoff

CONYERS -- Three of the four contested school board races are decided, but another won't be decided until later this month.

Rockdale County residents voted in two new members on the Board of Education to fill vacated seats held by longtime board members -- Mandy North and Sharon Pharr. Incumbent Brad Smith will keep his Post 2 seat.

Post 5 candidates Tony Dowdy and Willie Washington will face off in the runoff election.

-- Post 1

Most voters cast their ballots for business owner and mother of three boys, North, 45, for the Post 1 seat, which is held by Jean Yontz, who is not seeking re-election this year.

She received 9,915 votes, or 65.38 percent of the votes, compared to Charcella Green receiving 5,218 votes, or 34.41 percent.

"I'm thrilled," said North, a Certified Public Accountant and owns an outdoor advertising company. "I'm looking forward to getting involved for the betterment of the teachers, students and community. I feel like it's my time to give back since my kids are getting older and I have more time now."

A constant volunteer for schools and sports, North has two children in Rockdale County Public Schools and one who graduated two years ago and is now a student at the University of Georgia. She has lived in Rockdale County for 19 years.

She feels her experience dealing with budgets and financial statements will help aid her on the board. While in office, she plans to look into options to better balance the budget, such as lengthening the school day while shortening the calendar year and more efficiently transporting students.

-- Post 2

Incumbent Brad Smith will retain his Post 2 seat.

Smith, 46, who currently is serving his first time in office, avoided a runoff in a three-person race.

He received 8,443 votes, or 57.81 percent, compared to Kimberly Baker, who received 4,418 votes, or 30.25 percent, and Timothy Williams, who got 1,720 votes, or 11.78 percent.

Smith owns Olde Town Awards, is a firefighter for the City of Covington Fire Department and is a retired 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

He has been a resident of Rockdale County for more than 30 years and has one child in Rockdale County Schools. He is a graduate of Leadership Rockdale 2007.

-- Post 4

More residents also voted for Pharr, 58, for the Post 4 seat, which is currently held by Darlene Hotchkiss, who also is not seeking reelection.

Pharr received 8,614 votes, or 58.05 percent, compared to Darrell Stephens, who received 6,194 votes, or 41.74 percent.

"I'm relieved," said Pharr, who has worked at Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc. since 1998. "I think it speaks a lot to what people in Rockdale want to see."

She had three children attend RCPS since she moved to the county 34 years ago.

Stephens, a Newton County School System administrator, lost to Jim McBrayer in the 2010 election for the school board's Post 1 At Large seat.

-- Post 5

Candidates Williams "Tony" Dowdy, 51, and Willie Washington, 48, will compete in the county's only runoff, scheduled for Aug. 21. Current Post 5 representative Don McKinney also decided not to seek reelection this year.

Dowdy, received 6,783 votes, or 45.70 percent, while Washington received 3,350, or 22.57 percent. A candidate had to receive 50 percent plus 1 of the votes to secure a seat.

Dowdy has worked as a concrete sales representative for Ernst Concrete for 23 years and has served as associate vice president of the Rockdale County Home Builders Association for more than 15 years and also is on the Rockdale Rotary Club's board.

He has six children and three grandchildren.

If elected, he said he hopes to help provide a high quality education to students during these hard economic times.

Washington is a business owner who is retired from law enforcement in the U.S. Navy after 24 years.A constant parent volunteer, Washington has lived in Rockdale since 2008 and has two children in RCPS and one 2-year-old child.

He hopes to increase parent involvement if elected.

School board Chair Wales Barksdale will keep his Post 3 seat for another four years. He ran unopposed this election year.

Board members Katrina Young and Jim McBrayer are not up for election this year.


VPublicola 3 years, 3 months ago

"Stephens, a Newton County School System administrator..."

We do not want foxes guarding the hen house or candidates who violate state ethics laws.


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