Marietta Board of Education gets two new members
by Hannah Morgan
November 06, 2013 02:00 AM | 2452 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jeriene Grimes
Jeriene Grimes
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Jason Waters
Age:37
Family: Wife, Katie, children, Virginia, 3, and Hank, 2
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia
Occupation:  First vice president, commercial relationship manager, SunTrust Bank
Jason Waters Age:37 Family: Wife, Katie, children, Virginia, 3, and Hank, 2 Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia Occupation: First vice president, commercial relationship manager, SunTrust Bank
slideshow
MARIETTA — Two new members joined the Marietta Board of Education on Tuesday, mixing up the seven-member board that oversees the city’s roughly 8,800 students.

Jeriene Grimes, the daughter of Cobb NAACP president Deane Bonner, won the Ward 5 seat, beating out Marietta dentist Paul Gilreath by about 50 votes, according to unofficial results posted on the Cobb Board of Elections website.

Incumbent Ward 1 board member Brett Bittner fended off his two challengers, Justin Clarke, an assistant vice president for Bank of America, and Chris Everett, who owns a local rental property management company, by taking close to 57 percent of the vote.

All roads lead to Bittner in Ward 1

Bittner, who was elected to the board in a special election in 2012, said he was pleased with the number of people he saw vote at the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy on Tuesday night.

He felt his previous service on the board helped to gain support within the community, as well as the door-to-door visits within the city’s neighborhoods.

“The line to get in to vote today was about as long as it got today for the people picking up their kids,” he said, as he watched voters park in the nearby Agape International Church and walk to the school to vote to avoid the line.

Bittner said the fact that this year’s race was a competitive one helped to draw out the vote as well. The fact that the city was voting for a mayor and council as well as the school board helped get people engaged, he said.

Clarke, an assistant vice president for Bank of America who has a daughter at Hickory Hills Elementary School, said that while it was “really cool” to see his name on the ballot, he was confident he had done his best to get out the vote.

Clarke ran on the platform that he was the only candidate with children currently in the school system.

“I just want to take part in my kids’ education,” he said, while waiting for the results to come in Tuesday night.

Christopher Everett, who owns a rental property management company, said he was too busy at work Tuesday evening to speak about the election.

Bittner won just over 56 percent of the votes, Clarke, just over 25 percent, and Everett close to 18 percent of the vote, according to the county election’s website.

Grimes takes Ward 5

With close to 58 percent of the vote, Grimes will take over as Ward 5 representative, edging out Gilreath.

Grimes has a daughter at Marietta High School and serves as the vice president of the PTSA Council for Marietta City Schools. She has been campaigning for more than two months, she said, and feels that going door-to-door and getting her name out into the community helped to garner support.

“I did my best,” she said Tuesday night, before votes began to come in.

Gilreath said he had received a lot of positive feedback from the community as he knocked on doors for his campaign, and knew that it was going to be a close race.

“I’ve gotten a lot of support, but I know Jeriene has worked really hard too,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Gilreath predicted the race would come down to the number of people who showed up at the polls. The county elections website reported 320 votes for the Ward 5 race as of Tuesday night.

Waters unopposed

The Ward 2 seat was filled by Jason Waters, the first vice president and a commercial relationship manager at SunTrust Bank. Waters, who has two young children, ran unopposed.

The new board members will begin their terms Jan. 1, 2014.

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