Political Notes — State Board of Education hires chief turnaround officer

[private]The state Board of Education conducted a series of public interviews Tuesday and selected Virginia consultant Eric Thomas as the “chief turnaround officer” to assist low-performing schools in Georgia.

Thomas has been the chief support officer of the University of Virginia’s turnaround program, working with errant schools and districts nationwide.

A former teacher and principal, he earlier was the chief innovation officer for Cincinnati Public Schools, where he designed district-wide improvement efforts and supported the district’s lowest-performing schools.

He is the first person to hold the job created under the latest school improvement legislation passed by the General Assembly earlier this year. Thomas was among more than 60 people who applied for the position.

Dead heat in Alabama?

A new poll from Fox News shows Republican Roy Moore  tied with Democrat Doug Jones at 42 percent apiece in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

If accurate, the poll would be a shocker in one of the nation’s reddest states. Donald Trump carried Alabama by 28 points in 2016, but the Steve Bannon-backed Moore defeated the president’s candidate, incumbent Luther Strange, in the GOP primary.

The poll also indicated that among just the 53 percent of Alabama registered voters who are “extremely or very interested in the race,” Jones has a one-point edge over Moore at 46-45 percent.

Moore and Jones are running in a special election Dec. 12 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Jones is assisted in his by greater party loyalty, Fox contended, and hesitancy among Moore’s own backers.  The poll shows 42 percent of Moore’s supporters have some reservations about their candidate.  For Jones, that number is just 28 percent.

Deal gets a Rockdale appointment

Gov. Nathan Deal will get to appoint a new district attorney for Rockdale County, as District Attorney Richard Read announced Tuesday he will resign at the end of the year.

“I have recommended to Gov. Deal that he consider appointing Assistant District Attorney Alisha Adams Johnson to fill the remainder [one year] of my term of office,” Read wrote.

Read was chief assistant district attorney from June 1992 until October 1996, when he went into private practice. He ran for DA in 1998 against incumbent Cheryl Custer and took office in January 1999 at the age of 31.

Special court session in Athens

The Georgia Supreme Court will hold oral arguments at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens next Tuesday in the law school’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, beginning at 10:30 A.M.

Each year the court travels outside Atlanta to hear cases to make its business and the judicial process more accessible to the public.

While in Athens, the court will hear appeals in two cases:

Chrysler is appealing a $40 million verdict against it in a lawsuit brought by the parents of a 4-year-old boy who was burned to death in a Jeep Cherokee that was hit from the rear. Also, media organizations are appealing a gag order imposed by the Irwin County Superior Court in the high-profile murder case of teacher and beauty queen, Tara Grinstead.

The Long Goodbye

Former governor Zell Miller’s family has announced that the Miller is in badly declining health because of Parkinson’s disease and no longer able to make public appearances.

“Zell is not experiencing a lot of the tremors, but he is experiencing the cognitive symptoms that are associated with this type of Parkinson’s,” said his grandson Bryan Miller, in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Miller’s wife Shirley Miller released this statement:

“We want other families with loved ones suffering from Parkinson’s to know they are not alone. We understand the daily challenges that are associated with a disease that has no cure. In times like these, we lean on our faith and believe that there is no challenge too great that we cannot overcome with God’s grace.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Alabama Senate race , chief turnaround officer , Eric Thomas , Ga. Supreme Court , Rockdale District Attorney , Zell Miller