Jim is a native Atlantan and a 1983 graduate from Northside High School of the Atlanta Public School System. Jim attended Georgia State University and Wofford College in South Carolina before being hired by Dean Witter Reynolds Investment Firm in 1985 at 19 years old. He spent the next 17 years as a short options margin clerk and then as a fully licensed registered investment advisor. In 2002, after having two children, he decided to focus more on his family and community. He left the investment business and became a mortgage professional and a stay-at-home dad. He currently works for Amstar Mortgage Network, based in Marietta, Georgia.
He is married to Susan Kitchens McMahan, and they have two daughters who attend DCSD schools. Jim credits his involvement with education and community to his wife and parents who have been so supportive throughout his life.
Jim’s Platform Includes:
- Advocacy for the best possible education for all children of DeKalb.
- Transparency from the Board to the schools and constituents.
- Communication with residents, including televised DCSD meetings.
- Working with School Councils, PTAs and school administrators who voice concerns about their schools.
As a broker, Jim works with finances each and every day. His financial acumen has helped DeKalb County erase a $15,000,000 deficit.
- DCSD removed from “SACS Probation” and is moving in direction to restore full accreditation.
- Restored financial stability to the district by erasing a $15,000,000 deficit and creating $10,000,000 in reserves for the current school year and anticipating increasing reserves to more sustainable levels. Moody’s increased the district’s financial rating as a result.
- Authorized strategic planning committee to ensure student, leading to higher education, work and life-long learning.
- District Flexibility options / Charter, IE2, or traditional system.
- FY 2015 budget process / Remove ALL furlough days in fund 180 days of school, increase teachers pay, create efficiencies in our central office to allocate additional funds to schools.
- Superintendent search for sustained leadership to implement flexibility system choice with a proven track record of educational leadership and excellence.
- Push governance authority of our schools to a local level engaging our communities and stakeholders to be active partners with all of our schools in DeKalb.
Jim’s Contract with Constituents
- I will advocate for the best delivery of instruction for all the children of DeKalb. I will listen to the school councils, PTAs and school administrators who voice concerns about their schools.
- I will ensure all DCSD finances are transparent to the taxpaying public including an online check system to view all expenses for DCSD. We must build “Trust” with our community and business partners based on transparency and accountability.
- I will communicate with DeKalb County residents via a series of mediums, such as my webpage, blogs and emails. I will also meet with the public to answer questions and concerns regarding DCSD and our students.
- I will lead by example. If our teachers are asked to take pay cuts, reductions to their retirement accounts and increased costs for their benefits then I want the Central Office to take even LARGER cuts. The teachers are what make our children and students great. I feel the salary structure is inverted. The best teachers should be the highest paid employees within our school system, not administrators. This will take time but I will advocate for due compensation in the classroom! I remember my teachers from school, not the principal or the administrators. The teachers are the ones that impacted our children’s life on a daily basis.
- I will advocate for ALL school board meetings, including committee meetings being available on the internet and on the DCSD website live.
- I promise to represent the citizens and students of DeKalb County to the best of my ability through accessibility, transparency, and accountability.