Local teacher to make history in Atlanta as first teacher to serve on the APS Board of Education
On Monday, a metro area teacher will make history in Atlanta.
Albert “Shivy” Brooks will be the first teacher currently working in a classroom to be sworn into the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education.
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Teachers actively working have been barred from serving on the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education for 150 years. It’s a choice states and cities across the country have backed, according to Education Week, arguing teachers are employed by the schools the board governs.
But last year, Atlanta changed that and allowed teachers to run for election and Brooks won his race.
”I’m just honored to be able to be here and be a voice and to set some things straight and put us on the right path,” said Brooks.
Brooks works for Clayton County Public Schools and is a teacher at Charles Drew High School. However, he lives in Atlanta so he will serve on the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education.
The President of Atlanta and Georgia’s Teacher Federation, Verdaillia Turner, said the union is proud Brooks beat out his opponent.
“This is a win for all of us; for the City of Atlanta, the children, the citizens, the teachers, the school district,” said Turner. “He brings fresh ideas. He steps away from the same old state agenda, and we will hear from a teacher’s point-of-view where teachers and the school district need the rubber to meet the road, and that’s right there in the classroom.”
Brooks said his decision to run was born from tragedy.
His oldest son, Bryce, died on spring break last year in Florida. He jumped in the water to try to save a group of children drowning in a current. He was a 16-year-old APS student, and the board of education honored him as a hero.
“This run was all about Bryce Brooks and every child that looks like Bryce Brooks,” said Brooks.
That’s when Brooks said he noticed there were no black men on the board.
“I realized that there was no representative for children who look like him and fathers who look like me,” said Brooks. ”In a city where 75 percent of the children are black.”
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Georgia Department of Education data shows APS is home to 49,660 students. Broken down by race, data shows 35,116 are black.
Brooks said the topics he expects to tackle this year include affordable housing for teachers, choosing a superintendent, and giving more support to homeless students.
“By having an educator on the board, we will make decisions the first time the right way,” said Brooks.
The swearing-in ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Monday.
The first board meeting is scheduled for 2:30 Monday afternoon.
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