Georgia SchoolWatch Interviews Superintendent Candidate Nancy Jester

Who: Nancy Jester
When: Friday (5/9) @ 8:30pm
Where: This Post

Nancy Jester is a tireless advocate for children and taxpayers in Georgia. She has grassroots experience working to improve education. She’s served on school councils and as the founding president of a public school foundation. Nancy was also elected to serve on the DeKalb Board of Education and became the first person to find and publish deceptive budgeting practices that plundered the accumulated reserves of the 3rd largest school system in Georgia.

Nancy Jester began her career working as an actuarial consultant in Georgia and Texas. Upon starting her family, she devoted her time to improving the educational lives of children. Nancy hosts regular community meetings around the metro area; bringing together elected officials, education experts, advocates and parents to discuss current education topics in Georgia. She has also served as a consultant to a charter school organization. Nancy is a member of The Rotary Club of Dunwoody. She is also a member of the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute, Class of 2014. Nancy remains a sought-after speaker and hosts a web radio show discussing current education topics.

Nancy grew up in Georgia and earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She and her husband, Stanley, have three children that all attend public school.

“I want to transform Georgia’s Department of Education into a vigorous and diligent advocate for the children and taxpayers of Georgia. The department has many smart and hard-working professionals who are capable of doing great things for Georgia. I will lead them with clarity and purpose to improve the educational lives of Georgia’s children and provide prudent oversight for the taxpayers of our state.” –Nancy Jester



Filed under Georgia State School Superintendent, Nancy Jester

7 responses to “Georgia SchoolWatch Interviews Superintendent Candidate Nancy Jester

  1. We are joined by Nancy Jester, Georgia State School Superintendent candidate. Please enter your questions as comments. We will hold, collect and moderate the questions as they come in.

    Nancy Jester, thank you for taking the time to join us. Please tell us a little about yourself. Have you held an elected office before? Everybody has a story around why they got into politics. What were you doing when you decided to run for State Superintendent?

  2. Thanks GSW! I appreciate your forum here tonight. I’ve been traveling but have finally returned to my hotel so I’m ready for questions.

  3. I worked as an actuarial consultant before focusing on education finance and policy. I was elected to the DeKalb BOE where I became the first person to identify and publish information about the deceptive budgeting techniques that wore away $54 million in the accumulated cash reserves of the district. I have been a frequent speaker and author on education finance and policy topics around the state.

    I decided to run for State Superintendent when it became clear to me that our state has poor fiscal controls and disclosures regarding the funding for education. It is the single largest expenditure of the state. We spend more than every state that borders us and have lower graduation rates.

    I believe that the Superintendent must lead our state to improved financial disclosures that drive the money into the classroom and away from the bloated bureaucracy. This will improve achievement for kids while providing better stewardship for the taxpayer.

  4. Can you go into more detail about the “improved financial disclosures” you would like to see implemented?

  5. We do not measure and disclosure how we are spending our educational dollars. This is why we see increased spending and lower student achievement. A good example of a state that is measuring, disclosing and rating education spending is Texas. They have 20 indicators (statistics) they measure to rate a systems financial “integrity”. We have zero. These 20 measurements are compiled by the state and a rating assigned to the district that measures the financial integrity of their district. The system is designed to ensure the maximization of money being spent on direct instructional purposes.

    Once a district receives a rating they are required to hold a public meeting about it. There are consequences for poor results. In Georgia school districts are not required to even hold a public budget hearing. A public hearing is only required for a school district if they are going to increase the millage rate. Transparency breeds better financial accountability and decision making.

    We have no incentives or systems of measurements that drive money into the classroom. We do not have consequences for bloating bureaucracy. We do not have consequences for performance failures at the district level. This must change. I intend to bring a financial accountability measurement system to Georgia. I want to measure, disclose and rate how districts are spending your money. This is the first step to improving outcomes for kids and better returns for taxpayers.

    It is your money. They are your kids. You deserve to know.

  6. Ms. Jester, I know you have a hard cut off time. I wanted to thank you for joining us. Are there any public events you are going to this weekend that you would like to tell us about?

  7. Thanks for hosting this GSW! I’ll follow-up on this comment thread on Sunday evening. So, if anyone has further questions, please feel free to post them and I’ll be back online Sunday evening to answer them. Tomorrow, I’ll be at a candidate forum in Savannah in the morning.

    Good night to all! See you on the campaign trail soon.