Tony Fasola, who represents Ward 2, said Thursday he thought long and hard about the decision to run for a third, four-year term Nov. 5, but decided against it after being promoted from vice president to senior vice president with Entertainment Studios, a television production and syndication company.
“My family and job are the most important aspects of my life, but I must say that my board services have defined a lot of who I am,” Fasola said. “The people have been very supportive and I’m going to miss it a lot.”
Ward 5’s Stuart Fleming announced in June that he would not run for a second term because he would be seeking the Ward 1 Marietta City Council seat now held by Annette Lewis.
Fasola said his new position will require more of his time and also more travel.
“For the last eight years, my travel was dictated by my board service,” he said. “I don’t want to compromise my service to the community.”
The 57-year-old was elected to the board in 2005 and began his first term in 2006.
So far, the only person who has stepped forward to say they were planning to run for Fasola’s seat is 37-year-old Jason Waters.
“This has nothing to do with me having an opponent,” Fasola said. “I was really looking forward to that dialogue in the election, having the issues brought up and discussed.”
Waters, a commercial banker with SunTrust who decided six months ago to run, said he heard about Fasola’s decision not to run Wednesday.
“I’m grateful for the service and dedication that Tony Fasola has given to the school board over the last eight years,” Waters said. “Tony is a true public servant and our community is better off for his service. I will continue the progress that the school board has made to make our schools the best they can possibly be for our children.”
Waters, who is originally from Douglasville, moved to Cobb County in 1998 and lives in the Lee’s Crossing subdivision with his wife Katie, a former teacher at Hickory Hills and Burruss elementary schools, and their two young children.
He also is the former chair of the Marietta Division of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association.
Proud to serve
Since being elected eight years ago, Fasola said there are many things he and his colleagues have accomplished.
“I’m proud that we just lowered the millage rate, haven’t let teachers go, haven’t reduced work days and that we’ve run a very fiscally conservative, efficient budget,” he said. “We haven’t cut back on our constituents.”
He said he was also spirited by the district being the second in the state to earn charter system status, that Marietta offers choice schools for students and that the system has implemented STEM and IB at all school levels.
“We have been very innovative over the last eight years, not that we’re perfect but things have improved,” he said.
Fasola told board members about his decision after their Tuesday night meeting.
“A couple tried to talk me out of it but they understood and supported me,” he said.
Board Chair Randy Weiner, who was first elected to the board the same year as Fasola, said they have developed a “strong working relationship” since that time.
“He has served the board well and will be missed by all,” Weiner said.
Dan Valentine, one of Fasola’s constituents who works in technologies sales and has lived in Marietta since 1985, said he too will miss his representative’s service on the board.
“Since he joined the board, they really seemed to have created a team that is bigger than some of the parts,” Valentine said. “The work they’ve all done together has been good.”
As far as Waters replacing Fasola on the board if no one else runs, Valentine said he would like to hear more about what Waters has to say about education.
“I want to know what his passions are, what his beliefs are and what he wants to do from an education system point of view,” he said. “Testing, teacher competencies, the things that drive the school system.”
Qualifying for the Nov. 5 election is Aug. 26 to 28 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and fees for each non-partisan board candidate are $207.36.