Extra laps – Runoff in DeKalb School Board race
There will be a runoff in the race for DeKalb County Board of Education District 3, a district that includes Avondale Estates.
Incumbent Michael Erwin led with 37.11 percent of the vote, not enough to avoid the July 22 runoff election. Local real estate investor Atticus LeBlanc came in second place, receiving 20.85 percent of the vote.
LeBlanc’s second place finish is a bit of a surprise for people monitoring the election results in the May 20 primary. After midnight, DeKalb County figures showed that Willie Mosley would be Erwin’s likely challenger. That changed after all the precincts were counted and the results updated on May 21.
LeBlanc said he would release a formal statement later today.
“We’ll just keep hiking uphill,” he said via email.
Erwin posted a message to his Facebook page on May 21 thanking his supporters and reminding them to vote in the July 22 runoff.
“Thank you for your support! The race is not won yet,” Erwin said. “The finish line has been moved to July 22nd. Stay tuned and please stay supportive!”
Erwin is a U.S. Navy veteran and has been an educator since 1998. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and the University of South Carolina, where he earned his PhD in biology. He supports the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Coalition, S.T.E.M. He is currently a faculty member of Georgia Gwinnett College serving as an assistant professor in the School of Science and Technology. He is also a member of the faculty senate. He mentors through the African American Males Elite Scholars Program at Georgia Gwinnett College.
LeBlanc is a real estate investor who lives in unincorporated DeKalb County near Avondale Estates. He was one of the founding members of the UrbanPlan education program in Atlanta and serves on the executive board. UrbanPlan is a project-based classroom program for high school juniors and seniors and collegiate undergraduate students. He’s currently a community council member for District 3 in DeKalb, a board that is involved in zoning and land-use decisions in DeKalb. He’s a volunteer soccer coach. LeBlanc graduated from Yale University in 2002 with a BA in architecture and urban studies.
The District 3 seat on the DeKalb County Board of Education is probably the most overlooked race in our area but also one of the most important. Erwin was appointed to that seat by Gov. Nathan Deal after the governor removed his predecessor, Sarah Copelin-Wood, along with five other School board members. The governor had to intervene because the previous School Board’s dysfunction nearly cost the system its accreditation. But his intervention had some political consequences for Erwin, whose opponents have tried to paint Erwin as Deal’s pick, not the voters’ choice.
Whoever gets this job will be responsible for working with other board members to continue the course correction to steer this school system away from controversy and make it more attractive to parents in DeKalb County.