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DeKalb watchdog Nancy Jester mounts school superintendent campaign

Former DeKalb School board member Nancy Jester announces a 2014 campaign for Georgia state school superintendent. (Submitted photo)

Former DeKalb School board member Nancy Jester announces a 2014 campaign for Georgia state school superintendent. (Submitted photo)

A former DeKalb County school board member and mother announced a campaign for state school superintendent, aiming to replace John Barge, who is mounting a 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Nancy Jester, an actuarial accountant who describes herself as “a mom with a calculator,” said her campaign combines her dedication to the improvement of education with her commitment as a watchdog for the taxpayers.

“Our campaign will provide a reality check on the return on investment you are getting for the largest single expenditure in our state budget. Our campaign will focus reforms that make certain that your money is spent on children, in the classroom and not to grow bureaucracies,” said Jester, who will be on Republican primary ballots alongside Fitz Johnson, Matt Shultz and Richard Woods.

Jester was one of six DeKalb School Board members suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal, after an accreditation agency placed the system on probation. But Jester points out that she was the first person to ty to address the district’s deficit spending, one of the reasons the system was placed on probation.

“Together we can fix thing. Together we can refocus Georgia’s educational spending and priorities. Together we can teach our children about freedom and make sure they can inherit it through a solid and meaningful education. Together we can put the classroom first,” Jester said in her announcement.

Sen. Josh McKoon, who is known as an ethics watchdog, joined Jester at her event.

“Nancy Jester brings the knowledge, experience and tenacity necessary to take on the awesome task of serving as our next state superintendent of education,” he said. “During her service as a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education, Nancy asked the tough questions that revealed the gross mismanagement which even now is resulting in positive change for children in DeKalb County. As an actuarial consultant Nancy has the experience and knowledge to drill down into our state education bureaucracy and make it work for our kids. As a mom she has a passion that in my view is unrivaled to see that we achieve the goal of access to quality education so every child in Georgia can realize their potential.”