The victor will face Democratic candidate Kenya Pierre in the November general election. The district includes Vinings.
“I am running for re-election to the Post 2 seat on the board because there are many challenges that still exist for the school district, such as an achievement gap between students in different areas of the county, an imbalance between increasing costs and sustainable revenue, state and federal mandates that increase the cost of providing education and an inability to provide competitive salaries for teachers and administrators,” Stultz said.
He said he believes offering conservative solutions is the best strategy to combat those challenges.
“I have been a consistent, conservative voice on the board, making sure that the children, teachers, businesses and all taxpayers had a seat at the table when decisions were made,” Stultz said.
He said his three years on the school board, in addition to his business experience as an information technology director and analyst, serve as good experience for his candidacy.
Challengers Abel and Thayer both have no prior political experience but have been involved with the school system in other capacities. In Abel’s case, he is a parent of two children currently attending Cobb schools. Thayer is a retired Cobb educator.
Abel said he is running for office to provide a concerned voice and ears for the parents, teachers and students in Post 2. “Our area of Cobb County labors under a perception problem,” he said. “We have fantastic teachers and administrators in this post. They need the tools and support to allow them to excel at providing a high-performance education. This requires a strong local advocate on the board. My wife and I have been actively involved with the education of our two daughters for 14 years now. I have both a vested interest and a front-row seat regarding education issues from elementary to high school.”
Abel said the budget, school facilities and class sizes are the biggest issues currently facing the school board. He said his experience as a parent and community volunteer and his business background in financial services make him a well-qualified candidate.
“I’m the only candidate for this post with children actually attending the public schools,” Abel said. “We have existing board members with experience specific to educational administration. We need a balance to this by having members with an interest in today’s application of decisions rendered by the board of education.”
Thayer said she believes her past experience in education makes her the best candidate for the position. She has 36 years of experience, including working for Cobb schools as a high school counselor, high school principal, director of leadership management and executive director of high schools. Thayer also worked in school districts in Clayton and Douglas counties. “I know the school business from the ground up,” she said. “I am a good listener and will always seek input from my community. I know what is needed to ensure the best educational outcomes. I know how to distinguish between schools’ wants and their critical needs. Our current budget doesn’t allow for both categories to be funded.”
Thayer said she also understands the needs of the business community, having previously worked in real estate and with an educational consulting business. She has also been a member of several education-based associations and community organizations.
Thayer said the top three issues facing the school board are selecting a strong superintendent, balancing the budget and concentrating less on operational issues and more on providing a quality educational experience for all students.
Meet the Candidates:
Name, age: Jeff Abel, 45
Occupation: lending officer at Wells Fargo
Education: bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Michigan State University in 1991
Family: wife Traci, two children: Cydney, 14, and Jordan, 10
Campaign website: www.electjeffabel.com
Name, age: Tim Stultz, 35
Occupation: IT director and analyst
Education: bachelor’s degree electrical engineering from Georgia Tech in 2004
Family: wife Jodi, two children: Mackenzie, 6, and Sean, 3
Campaign website: www.timstultz.com
Name, age: Susan Thayer, 66
Occupation: retired educator
Education: bachelor’s degree in social studies and education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1970, master of education and specialist of education degrees in educational leadership and guidance and counseling from the University of West Georgia in 1973 and 1987, respectively
Family: husband Ed, two step-children: Matthew, 26, and Kimberly, 22
Campaign website: www.susanthayerforschools.org