Waters gets ready for Marietta school board Ward 2 post
by Rachel Gray
December 27, 2013 11:29 PM | 1866 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Incoming Marietta school board member Jason Waters sits with his wife, Karen, and their two children, Hank, 2 ½, and Virginia, 4, on the front porch of their home. On Jan. 14, Waters will be sworn in to represent Ward 2, a spot vacated when Tony Fasola decided not to run for re-election. <br> Special to the MDJ
Incoming Marietta school board member Jason Waters sits with his wife, Karen, and their two children, Hank, 2 ½, and Virginia, 4, on the front porch of their home. On Jan. 14, Waters will be sworn in to represent Ward 2, a spot vacated when Tony Fasola decided not to run for re-election.
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — Chairman Randy Weiner is advising the two newly elected members of the Marietta school board to put on their listening ears.

On Jan. 14, Jason Waters will be sworn in to represent Ward 2, a spot vacated when Tony Fasola decided not to run for re-election. Jeriene Grimes will become the new representative of Ward 5, which was previously represented by Stuart Fleming, who will be joining the Marietta City Council.

Weiner said his first year on the board eight years ago was dedicated to being a good listener.

“When I was new to the board, I thought I knew a lot,” Weiner said. “But, my first year I was basically a sponge, absorbing all the information.”

In high school, Waters was involved in service projects and was a part of student government in college, he said.

“Serving others is what I am supposed to do as a mission,” Waters said.

Board goes for touchdown on stadium

Weiner said the next term of the school board will include tackling the renovations at Northcutt stadium, where the Marietta High Blue Devils play home football games, directly west of Marietta Middle School at the corner of Winn and Polk streets.

A $6.5 million budget will be used to renovate the entire stadium, including a covered concessions area and a new field with wider sideline areas.

“We have one shot to redo the massive shell,” Waters said.

Waters said the updated stadium should provide a better fan experience and increase the revenue drawn from the games.

Waters said he talked to an athletic director of a Gwinnett high school who said an new Jumbotron scoreboard paid for itself in three years from the advertising space.

Now that the previous school board members finished their turf war and decided on keeping a grass field, Waters says, “Let’s make it the best grass field we can.”

MCS setting standard for academics

Waters said Marietta is already ahead of the curve by being a charter system and having the Choice program, which allows parents to send their young child to an elementary school outside of the zone where they live.

Now Marietta schools are navigating a two-year rollout of a pilot program on teacher evaluations.

The Georgia Department of Education’s Teacher Keys Evaluation System measures teacher effectiveness based on observation assessments, surveys by students and academic achievement.

Waters said Marietta’s redesign of teacher salaries gives educators the opportunity to make more money earlier in their careers and take on more roles with additional opportunities.

If the school system is projected to have a need for more high school math teachers, then the system will pay for teachers to go back to school and also offer bonuses for them to stay in the system after graduating, Waters said.

A father tied to the community

Waters has two young children, Hank, 2½, and Virginia, 4, who will soon be attending Burruss Elementary, directly across from the subdivision where Waters lives with his family.

Waters said he met his wife, Katie, at a church they both attended in Buckhead. Katie Waters is a stay-at-home mom and a former teacher at Burruss and Hickory Hills elementary schools.

Born in Austell, Waters said he has lived inside the city of Marietta for the past six years.

Waters has a degree from the University of Georgia in finance, and now works for SunTrust in Atlanta.

For 15 years, Waters said he has worked for both community and regional banks on the business side, making lending decisions to help grow companies.

Now, as an elected official, Waters said he has been most surprised to see how funding structures at the state and federal level impact a local school system.

“That has been eye-opening for me,” Waters said.

Waters said he might be a numbers man on the school board, but with a focus on student achievement.

Waters said he will be asking, “What do we need to spend to maximize student achievement?”

Weiner said the board is about team work, more than individual projects, and how to better the Marietta school system as a whole.

“We have not been very territorial,” Weiner said.

The Jason Waters file:

Age: 37

Children: Virginia, 4, and Hank, 2 ½

Residence: Lee’s Crossing, off Manning Road from Whitlock Avenue

Occupation: First vice president and commercial relationship manager at SunTrust Bank

Prior experience: On Planning Commission for more than a year

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