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Berkeley Lake Resident Seeks School Board Post

Jen Falk announced she will run against incumbent Mary Kay Murphy in the November 2012 Gwinnett Board of Education election.

UPDATED: JAN. 17, 2012 (see italicized text for updated information)

Berkeley Lake resident Jen Falk, a long-time advocate for children, announced Friday that she is seeking the Gwinnett County School Board District III seat currently held by Dr. Mary Kay Murphy.

District III currently includes all or part of the Duluth, Norcross and Peachtree Ridge clusters as well as the GIVE Center West, Gwinnett Online Campus, Ivy Preparatory Academy Charter School, Monarch School, and New Life Academy of Excellence.

After the census, District III (which currently includes 21 schools), will have six additional schools. The Norcross and Duluth cluster schools will remain in District III.

A map showing the current borders and the proposed borders is included with this story.

Falk is a founding board member of of in Peachtree Corners as well as a founding member of the School-to-Prison Pipeline group. For the past eight years she has focused on education reform serving as a member of the Georgia Appleseed Advisory Council and project leader for "When My Child is Disciplined at School: A Guide for Families."

"I am running for this office because I believe the people of Gwinnett County deserve a school board that is transparent and accountable," said Falk in her announcement. "I will listen carefully to parents and turn their concerns into advocacy for better schools. Teachers and administrators also have an important voice; it's essential they have access to a leader that really listens."

Falk is the special projects director for Parent-to-Parent of Georgia, a statewide nonprofit, federally-designated parent training and information center under IDEA, which serves families of children and young adults with disabilities.

Falk has a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Florida. She has 20 years of retail management experience including holding the position of Human Resources Director for Macy's IT Corporate Divisions.

Falk has lived in Berkeley Lake for 15 years with her husband Ned and their two children, Harrison and Erin, both of whom graduated from Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Dr. Murphy was first elected to the District III seat in January 1997 and re-elected in 2008. She is the associate vice president for Institutional Advancement at Morehouse School of Medicine and is a resident of Duluth.

David Leader January 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I think there are members on both sides that could stand to move on, but I agree with you David, it's time to look at what's best for our city and stop quibbling over what side of the coin people were on. Their support or opposition to the city is NOT what is relevant here, it's what they can do for the children of Gwinnett County. Mostly I believe we need to find out who is willing to stand up against the Teachers Union and get rid of the crippling rules that are preventing our teachers from expanding their curriculum or the elimination of the bad teachers; the fact that the teachers of Georgia involved in the cheating scandal are STILL teaching speaks volumes. For my part I believe being a member of the board for a charter school does speak volumes for Falk; charter schools are what our public schools need to be emulating at this point. It's not fair that luck of the draw (literally, a draw) can have so much of an effect on a child's future. Every child at least deserves a chance at a strong education, and if Falk is willing to fight to get those values there, I am all for her election. Battling the school unions is a hard, uphill battle; but if we're not willing to fight for the next generation, who are we willing to fight for?
David B. Manley January 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Good points, David. As we move toward the City election on March 6 I look forward to seeing more of your thoughts.
Annette Rogers January 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I know that at one time our school board member was a teacher and after she was elected to the school board (many years ago) stayed involved in the schools and in her community. But after years behind the ISCastle walls, she seems to have lost an understanding of the reality for our students and our communities. I have been an active volunteer for an educational non-profit and generally involved in my community. During the last term, I've seen our school board member at celebrations, parades, and political events. However, I haven't seen her having lunch at our schools, attending Title I meetings, nor ever at Ivy Prep. I've also missed her at key meetings where issues deserving of her input and attention were addressed. This election decides whether we want the person with a passion for education or someone with old political connections. Falk has been involved and will fight for a strong education for every child. She is getting this republican's vote!
Michele L. January 26, 2012 at 02:27 PM
In both of your paragraphs you mention Teachers' Unions. Georgia does not have unions for teachers. At all. Exactly what school union is this for which someone will be battling?
lovinggwinnett March 31, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Look behind the curtain to see what Jen F. is really for before you vote... Don't just vote against Dr. Murphy. Be sure that who you vote for deserves your vote. Maybe someone else will begin the process to run for school board so we can have a good candidate to look at.

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