Keep Calm and Vote Jester

This week I announced my candidacy for the District 1 seat on the DeKalb Board of Education. You can learn more about me and the issues at my website,
I am a parent, active school volunteer, education blogger and IT professional. I am dedicated to reforms in DeKalb that put the classroom first and protect the taxpayer from wasteful spending.
I will bring an important technical perspective to the board. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin and bring over 20 years of experience in technology and data analysis. My professional experience includes developing business intelligence data systems that drive executive decisions as well as complex, multinational software development.
My most important job is being a parent. Nancy and I have three children attending public school in DeKalb. I know firsthand the condition of our schools and the challenges of parents and teachers. I am invested in the success of DeKalb’s schools and will bring an important and effective voice to the DeKalb Board of Education.
This May, “Keep Calm and Vote Jester”.

9 responses to “Keep Calm and Vote Jester

  1. Bill Armstrong

    Stan: I voted for Nancy, and I will be following both campaigns closely, but I will say that Nancy is colored by a perception by some that she served mainly as a “gadfly” & didn’t “play well with others.”
    I don’t really want my board member to be a gadlfy or a fact-checker. I want more – a coalition builder, getting things done, forging change. So I’ll be watching & listening. – aka ChambleDad

  2. Bill,
    I bet some people who were stealing money and not doing a darn thing for kids called Nancy plenty of names. If you side with that group, good luck. I remember the old board. It would be impossible to build coalitions and forge change with that group. She made a big difference by exposing them. That was some real change. It is hard to believe that you wouldn’t want someone to check facts and vote on accurate data. If getting things done means ignoring the facts, what do you think will get done? That will add up to more bad decisions and waste. The kids deserve better. We’ve had enough of that poor decision making for a lifetime.
    Stan, you check the facts. Vote based on the facts. No one wants an ignorant board member. I for one, appreciate your facts. The only people who will oppose the truth and facts are those that fear they will be hurt by it. Keep it up.
    I’ll be watching and listening too.

  3. Bill Armstrong

    “It is hard to believe that you wouldn’t want someone to check facts and vote on accurate data.”
    Never said that, I appreciated that from Nancy, I just that I want more than that.
    I remember the old board & apppeared before them during public comment more than I care to remember – often to correct facts.

  4. Bill Armstrong

    I’ll add this I just shoe an email to the entire board, Thurmond, the Region 1 Super. & several facilities administrators because of lack of heat this morning – an onling problem for years. I accompanied the inspectors they had a couple of years ago – our furnance looks like it is from the Civil War. We’ve had band-aid fixes for a long time.
    Point being that when I would do that in the past, when I had issues, Nancy was one of the few that would reply – Edler & Speaks sometimes, noone else. Lewis & Moseley I could only get them to tell me things in person, never in writing.
    So I respected that in Nancy, never got it from Redovian – but by that time he had “checked out” in my opinion. And I expect that Stan would be as responsive as Nancy.

  5. Wow Bill. You did say what Sherman is referring to. You seem to be holding two positions on opposite sides. You say you observed the BOE often. I have too. Did you not notice that no matter what some BOE members did that they were outvoted by a block of people not always thinking about the students. Each member has but one vote and cannot turn a vote without help. Nancy and two other BOE members often stood against the block. Capitulation is not the same as a coalition. Do you just go along to get along or do you sometimes have to draw a line in the sand and stand for something? Just where do you stand? You confuse me.

  6. Bill Armstrong

    OK doodlebug, slight correction I should have said: “I don’t really want my board member to be JUST a gadlfy or a fact-checker. I want more – a coalition builder, getting things done, forging change. So I’ll be watching & listening.”
    Yes, I watched the votes, & yes I too was frustrated by the board more often than not. I hoped that a coalition of Jester, Speaks & Edler, could get something done if just 2 more could be pulled in sometimes. Perhaps it was impossible, but perhaps a different approach might have worked? Maybe it was tried & failed. Sometimes compromise is required to get things done – we see in Washington when lines are drawn in the sand & nothing gets done – or only one side wins every time. Exactly what to give & how to give it, and what to take & how to take it – that can be very nuanced. Dealing with someone who never gives an inch – is always right & you are always wrong – that can be draining & frustating & eventually a deadlock. And if the majority can almost always get their way regardless of what you do, why even try to work with them? I get all that.
    But you did see I voted FOR Nancy, right? Over Redovian. I thought he was “over” dealing with those people, but I think over his time he did work with them & got some things done.
    This is what wears on me as an “over 285” Chamblee guy, I tend to get lectured by Dunwoodians if I even question anything they say. You can beat me over the head telling me I’m wrong to even think of criticizing Nancy for not getting more done other than exposing some issues that needed exposing (and for which I applaud her). That’s cool, I’m a big boy. I think on the whole I got some good value for that vote for her.
    Along the same lines, when I look at her current campaign I see much emphasis on the push for “new city” schools. Even if she’s not a “single issue” candidate, she is perceived that way by many – especially those not in Dunwoody.
    And Stan Jester, with the same last name, people immediately know who he is. For good or bad in their eyes, he can’t control that. Other than make clear his positions & address the preconceived views many have. You can tell me I’m wrong about them, but I don’t think I’m wrong about the perception many people have about them – it exists, true or not. Good candidates carefully address misperceptions, and don’t simply lash out or dismiss those that disagree.
    I’m a potential voter, for both of them. But instead of automatically voting for him as I did for her (or voting for her in the upcoming election) I’m simply saying I have some concerns, and will be watching & listening. And I’ll try to attend some of the events as I did before. An ally doesn’t have to agree with you 100% of time. If Stan is to win, and Nancy for sure, they’ll need more than a few like me.

  7. Bill,
    Having attended several board meetings over the years I am surprised that you thought Jester, Edler, and Speaks would be a coalition. Ms. Edler almost never voted with Speaks and Jester.
    I agree that Jester was not always right, but she always tried to expose inconsistencies. A couple of others on the board did also. They were always outvoted by the Walker block. Don’t you see Jester asked the board to evaluate their process. She was working for a consensus that you would never get. Redovian tried and he was defeated by the block. Jester and those who voted with her were always expected to do the compromising. That is not consensus building. You said it best about those who will never give an inch. It was Nancy and two others that were always asked to give an inch. That is not compromise..
    I respect your opinion, but as you said you may not always be right. You may have seriously misread some of the people on the previous board. Also I am not from Dunwoody and do not just blindly support Jester. The new board up for election in May needs to ask the hard questions like Jester did.
    It is good that you are involved. Stick with it..

  8. SouthDekalbParent

    I live in South Dekalb and my board member never responded to my emails or phone calls. Nancy and Don always answered when I called. I have no doubt Stan will do the same. BOE members that don’t listen have their own agenda.

  9. Bill Armstrong

    Yeah on Edler – my hope was more based on the fact that she was coming in new at the same time, and that when I would email the entire board, other than Nancy, she was the only one who would reply, normally with a cell phone call within minutes. And the conversation was substantial. But as time went by it was clear from her actual performance that my hope was misplaced. I’ll admit any time there is new blood, I have hope things will change for the better, there certainly is a chance for that, however slim. And perhaps San will have that chance too.
    But as for misreading – I think I knew what to expect from the old guard based on track record – especially Walker & SCW & Z. Roberts. Their interaction during meeting was painful to watch. I did have hope for Bowen from time to time. But it was too rare that I was pleased with his voting record.
    Let’s both keep watching – sounds like you are top of it. Can you imagine what would happen if more voters were, especially in the other districts? If 1 or 2 of the ousted get back on – which I’m afraid could happen, that will be a very good indication of the immediate future of the next board.