Jim Kinney Running For School Board

Tucker resident wants to put the focus back on education rather than "a totalitarian focus on discipline."

I was first introduced to the idea of running for the school board when the parent of a tutoring student, then DeKalb County Commissioner Judy Yates, suggested it based on my enthusiasm for teaching. As time went by and I was exposed to the school system as a parent, I began to realize that my physics and math background provided the analytical skills that seemed lacking in the decision process.

The ongoing and current budget crisis, the egregious ethics violations in the central office, the cover-up of a known pedophile in the schools all were the final points that made it clear a change in leadership was required. The apparent focus on education being replaced with a totalitarian focus on discipline first is not productive of an healthy educational environment.

The last straw came at my son's honor awards ceremony at . None of the students were smiling at all as they approached and shook hands with the principal and assistant principal. Then assistant principal called out by name two students who had a history of discipline issues and proceeded to publicly humiliate them by discussing how bad they had been in the past. Many parents were appalled at the total lack of student information privacy and the humiliation was painful to watch.

We can do better than this. We have to do better than this. This generation of school children is supposed to fund out the retirement process. 


I am a Georgia native who grew up in Rome, Ga. I am a public school graduate from East Rome High in 1980.

I moved to Atlanta area permanently in 1983. Attended various schools in the area from Georgia Tech to Georgia State University and DeKalb College studying fields from chemical engineering and chemistry, business and accounting, biology and pre-med, and finally physics and math.

I met my future wife at DeKalb College in 1988 and we married in 1989. My first child to attend DeKalb County Schools was born in 1990 and was two years old when I went back to school at Georgia State to finish my BS in Physics with a minor in Math.

I continued at Georgia State to complete my MS in Physics in 1997 with the research project "Surface Analysis of Poly-Crystaline Diamond." I joined Emory University Department of Physics after graduation as the undergraduate physics lab coordinator where I taught physics, wrote lab manuals, wrote classroom software and mentored students until I left to join a tech start-up in 2000.

After the implosion of the tech bubble, I started and ran a technology consulting practice which provided support, programming and design solutions for small to mid-sized business.

In 2006 I was the technical architect of a highly successful school technology project for Atlanta Public Schools. I leveraged my extensive knowledge of RedHat Linux and educational technology to provide Linux-based thin client computing for seven schools in a pilot project that was the largest of its kind in North America. A deployed 2:1 ratio of students to computers in the classroom benefited 4000 students academically and the teachers were thrilled.

I left private practice in 2008 and joined Google. I have since worked at Cox Communications, Georgia Tech Research Institute and am presently at IBM Security Solutions where I am a Linux Systems Engineer.

Jim Kinney is the husband of Patch contributing writer Ginny Mauldin-Kinney.

Tucker Patch encourages candidates for office to submit articles for publication. Patch does not endorse any particular candidate in any election.

Jim Kinney June 04, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Last and not least: I think the cell towers on school property are a bad idea. I see them in the same way I see for-profit business buying research access from public university scientists as a bad idea. I provides a non-electable route into the school decision process that can hold a funding sword over the neck of the educational or research process. I don't like the idea of a soda company providing vending machines for their products, even if they are "just bottled water", as a fund raiser for the school. To allow for-profit business to literally set up shop on campus is a slippery slope towards a future I see as not conducive of high educational aspirations. "This next topic lecture was brought to you by Dewey, Cheatham and Howe Attorneys at Law. They get the most money for your pain and suffering" is a phrase I don't want to hear from any teacher. (with apologies to the Car Talk guys for using their lawyer names)
Cheryl Miller June 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Glad to hear you make that connection between the disregard for the rights of the taxpayers and the cell tower issue. They would love for us to debate the science all day because that takes the heat off of them for making a controversial decision without the input of the community affected. I tend not to trust people who are behaving in a dishonest and sneaky manner. It forces the rest of us to try and figure out what they are trying to hide. The majority of the schools getting the towers (all but 1) are elementary schools. Our children do not have cell phones so there is no need to warn us about the dangers of allowing our children to use them. They don't. And the issue of obessity is certainally important, but it is a matter of direct choice of the child and the guardian of what is served and what is consumed. We don't have the choice with a cell tower to say "that's enough," or "my child isn't allowed to have that," or "honey, watch how many microwatts of radiation you get today when you are on the playground." This is something that would be added to the exisiting background levels already in existence and is completely not necessary nor is it even legal by virtue of our own county ordinances for safe sitinig practices. The schools were being used as a way around the rules. We should not accept that from our teachers, our board members or the businesses we patron.
Cheryl Miller June 04, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Well, good. At least we can agree on that note. There were school policies in place to assure the community that the schools would not be used in this manner and that they would be notified if the school was considering any change the might affect them as well. Of course that is all disregarded with the chance at some coin. The money, by the way, cannot be put to any real use at the schools. Since it is not from taxpayers, it cannot be used to fund any of the basics of education. So, any of the things one might think the money could help with - it likely will not. Incumbant Paul Womack even suggested to a group of irate parents that they use some of the funds to "throw a party." Yeah, that's what we want to do. Radiate the kids for no other reason that to assist with the corporate objectives of Womack's business buddies and, as a direct result we can throw one big PTA Party and call it even.
Cheryl Miller June 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Please refer to my blogs on the Tucker Patch from a year ago when the topic of cell towers on school grounds was first brought to us via our school system. And, to follow the timeline, see www.GETtheCELLoutATL.com. So, Jim has taken a soft stance against the cell towers, saying they are a bad idea, but not making a firm committment that he would not vote in favor of them if given the opportunity to place more towers at more schools in the future. If you decide to take a position that is opposed to the cell towers, Jim, even if only because you know this is how the majority of parents in District #4 feel, please let us know. We will be glad to award you our second "Get the Cell Out - Atlanta, Seal of Approval" if we can get your word publically that you will uphold the wishes of the school communities with regard to keeping cell towers away from our homes and schools if the issue comes up again.
Cheryl Miller June 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
to review the comments from around DeKalb, see: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/GTCO-ATL


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