De’Andre S. Pickett which office are you seeking?
Fulton County Board of Education
Name of district:
What is the demographic?
Predominantly African American and Hispanic
Why did you enter politics?
I entered “public service” because I knew problems require solutions, and the reason why we continue to have the problems that we have here in South Fulton is simply because we keep expecting people to provide an answer when they never understood what the problem was. We need vocal, visible, and strong leadership to change our communities.
What challenges are municipal governments facing?
Education is a major challenge; not just the educational system but educating the residents on the issues. If we go back to a community involved structure, many of the bureaucrats that are making our lives difficult would not have the power. It puts it back in the hands of the stakeholders: the residence.
Name the top three priorities you will address in your district if elected?
❏ Graduation Rates – Currently in the high schools in South Fulton, we are performing at a 60% graduation rate. We need to not only find a way to close the achievement gap, but we also need to find a way to get our students on a workable standard. We send our students to alternative schools because of behavior, truancy, and other factors but what is the alternative for them to succeed. We need to spend more time searching for solutions rather than creating alternatives.
❏ We need to encourage increased communication between parents, teachers, students, and administrators. We must involve the community, students, parents, and others in the conversation as to why this benefits everyone in the end if the students succeed. By providing the platform for transparency allows open dialogue towards getting the South Fulton portion of our district on target and hold them accountable. By ensuring that these various groups of accountability are linked to learning, we see an increase in student improvement.
❏ We need to implement workable solutions to measure student’s growth and academic achievement on a scale. Providing solutions that would assist in SAT and ACT scores increase including offering a SAT and ACT prep course as an elective.
What steps will you take to ensure you meet these goals?
❏ We also must recognize that not all of our students are four-year institution bound. It is our obligation to provide our students with alternative resources to encourage their success. Many students in South Fulton don’t see the importance of graduating because they feel you only graduate to go to college. We must show our scholars that you can graduate, not necessarily go to college and still become successful. I intend to begin the conversation towards the pushing of a partnership with Point University in East Point to utilize the empty campus in creating a Career, Technology and Vocational Center. This center, which is for our students and their parents, will offer training and certifications towards alternative career opportunities. We must be community partners — students, parents, and the school system.
What are the key components of your political platform?
- Identifying the root of the deficiencies i.e., primary education detection, creating a district wide student achievement evaluation module, and continuing to use measurable performance standards to help gauge our students’ success.
- Parent Involvement – Providing effective communication to increase parent involvement. The most informed parent is the most involved parent.
- Encourage increased communication between parents, teachers, students, and administrators. When you increase the communication you can increase the collaboration and cooperation.
- Involve the community, students, parents, and others in the conversation as to why this benefits everyone in the end if the students succeed. Providing the platform for transparency allows open dialogue towards getting the South Fulton portion of our district on target and hold them accountable.
- These various groups of accountability are linked to learning; we see an increase in student improvement.
- Implement workable solutions to measure student’s growth and academic achievement on a scale.
- Providing solutions that would assist in SAT and ACT scores increase including offering a SAT and ACT prep course as an elective.
- Weekly visits to low performing schools to measure growth process and guarantees my accessibility as a board member.
What is your perspective on sales tax?
Sales tax is important, especially for a school system to receive funding. We need to make sure we have adequate schools and resources needed for our students to be successful.
How important is political experience to effectively perform the office you’re seeking?
I honestly don’t think politics should be a part of our educational system and how it functions. Unfortunately, that has been the problem. We do, however, need those who have been in the school system, whether in the classroom or as an administrator, who can move our educational system forward. I have the business relationships lined up and educational experience to begin work on day one!
Who are your political role models and/or allies?
State Rep LaDawn Blackett Jones(D)-Atlanta, State Senator Nan Orrock(D)-Atlanta, State Rep Kevin Cooke(R)-Dallas, Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City, State Rep Dee Dawkins-Haigler(D)- Rockdale, State Rep Alisha Thomas Morgan (D) – Austell, Rockdale County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, SC State Rep John King (D) – Dist. 49, Mayor of Spring Lake, North Carolina, Chris V. Rey.
Define public servant?
An individual who provides selfless and unwavering labors of love to make the lives of those around them better; understanding that the calling is much bigger than them, and that they are not in control of destiny.
Complete the following sentences:
• I am the best candidate because I bring the most classroom and administration experience. I understand what it means to be on the front line in the schools. Also, I AM South Fulton. I am its product. It’s easy to throw around good ideas but without substance and a clear understanding of the people you are representing or trying to represent, that’s all they are … good ideas.
• I represent my constituents because I am a product of this community. I didn’t move into the area to try to win the people over by trying to talk fancy or try to fit in. This community molded and nurtured me. I am the possibilities that this community hopes for and I want to bring along more young men and women in continuing to press the belief that our community can and will continue to produce greatness.
• The leadership books that have inspired me are Boys Into Men, by Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Ph.D. & A framework for Understanding Poverty, Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D.
• The two quotes and affirmations that I live by are “A Vision is only a Dream that only needed a little attention” & “Every man and woman was born into this world to do something distinctive and unique, and if he or she doesn’t do it, it will never be done.”