School board unanimously elect former Vice Chair Collins as new chair


The Committee to Re-elect Eshé Collins

Former Vice Chair Collins was recently unanimously elected by the Atlanta Board of Education to become the new chair after Former Chair Esteves’s term limit expired.

Ava Smith

After reelection to her third term on the Atlanta Board of Education, Eshé Collins, who represents District 6, was recently voted in as the new chair of the board.

“I’m really excited and really truly appreciative of the great work we’re going to do together,” Collins said.

Collins previously served as the board’s Vice-Chair.  Jason Esteves, the previous chair, nominated Collins to become the new chair, as Esteves reached his term limit.

“I think that she is the best choice because of her experience in the classroom as a teacher in Atlanta Public Schools, and as a community leader in Southwest Atlanta and across the city,” Esteves said. “I thought she was a natural leader who can help guide the board moving forward, but also drive success in the school system.”

The rest of the board voted unanimously in favor of Collins’s nomination.

“I think it says a lot to the district that our communities, our families and a city, at-large, to have the full support of the board and leading as their chair,” Collins said. “It has been a seamless transition, being in key spaces and leveraging the relationships that we need to take the work forward and take us to our next level.”

Newly-elected Mayor Andre Dickens, as well as 10 City Council members were at the board’s swearing-in ceremony. According to Collins, such a significant presence from city leaders has never occurred at a board’s swearing-in ceremony. Collins said one of her major priorities as the chair will be to strengthen the school district’s relationship with the rest of the city.

“We all know that collective action and a holistic approach to great citizens and just great contributors to the city requires everyone to be at the table; so, I’m just really excited to step into the opportunities to strengthen our relationship, not only with our city leaders but also with our community,” Collins said. Esteves said he thinks the two biggest challenges facing the board are ensuring the APS community is successful, given the pandemic and meeting the community’s need for engagement and communication. He hopes the board can accomplish these while continuing to keep education policy child-centered.

“I hope that the board continues to function in a child-centered, student-centered, professional manner, and I fully anticipate that Chairwoman Collins will be able to do that,” Esteves said.

Collins previously served on the accountability committee, which is tasked with evaluating the superintendent. Collins said previously holding this position gives her unique insight as the chair of the board.
“Being in that liaison role just increases the feedback communication and also the relationship that you definitely want your board chair to have with the superintendent,” Collins said.

Collins said her “number one” priority for improving the board is to focus on engagement.

“I think there are opportunities that we’ve missed to really continue to connect with our community as chair to re-engage our board and re-engage our superintendent into the community,” Collins said. “I think communication
and engagement has been the key piece that has been lessened a lot, because of the times that we’re currently in.” ?