Thayer knocks out incumbent for school board seat
by Hilary Butschek
July 23, 2014 04:00 AM | 7073 views | 10 10 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friends and supporters of Cobb Board of Education candidate Susan Thayer, second from left, gather around a laptop computer at Thayer’s Smyrna home Tuesday night to watch election returns. They include, from left: Mary Lou Hapner, Donette Konniker, Susan Pearson, Shirley Priest and Shannon Hardy.<br>Staff/Jeff Stanton
Friends and supporters of Cobb Board of Education candidate Susan Thayer, second from left, gather around a laptop computer at Thayer’s Smyrna home Tuesday night to watch election returns. They include, from left: Mary Lou Hapner, Donette Konniker, Susan Pearson, Shirley Priest and Shannon Hardy.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
MARIETTA — After a nine-week runoff, Cobb voters chose Susan Thayer over incumbent Tim Stultz on Tuesday night to fill Post 2 on the Cobb Board of Education.

With all precincts reporting, Thayer won the primary runoff with 3,030 votes, or 70 percent. Stultz received 1,271 votes, or 30 percent.

Thayer now faces Democrat Kenya Pierre, an attorney, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Post 2 covers southeast Cobb and represents 21 schools.

Thayer, who watched the results come in at home with friends and family, said she wanted to thank her supporters.

“I’ve been very appreciative to the voters who supported me and the people who still care so much about our schools, whether they have children or not,” Thayer said.

Thayer, a consultant with James Wilson’s Education Planners, said she has received consistent support from voters during her campaign.

“I just did the same thing during the runoff as before the primary,” Thayer said. “I’ve tried to be as accessible as I can be.”

Thayer said she arranged meetings with parents and other community members interested in seeing a change in south Cobb schools.

With more than 30 years of experience in education, Thayer said voters were confident she would know how to help schools in south Cobb.

“I have the time and energy to effectively represent our schools,” Thayer said.

She said she knew voters were ready for a change after the primary election because a majority of voters chose someone other than Stultz.

Thayer said she was encouraged to run by Cobb Chamber of Commerce CEO David Connell as well as three current school board members.

Stultz, who watched the results come in at home with family, said he was proud of his campaign and didn’t regret anything.

“I congratulate Mrs. Thayer on her win this evening,” Stultz said.

He said he was looking forward to moving on from his post on the school board.

“It was a lot of hard work and I feel very disappointed … but I look forward to what comes next,” Stultz said.

Stultz said his opponent had more financial support behind her.

“(Thayer) was well-funded and I think that helped her campaign,” Stultz said.

Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon called Stultz into the spotlight after criticizing the state of south Cobb schools during his State of the City address July 10. Bacon suggested Stultz’s history of inaction during his tenure resulted in the board “shortchanging” schools in south Cobb, such as Osborne, Pebblebrook and Campbell. When board Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci asked Bacon to apologize to Stultz and requested the mayor meet with her, Bacon declined, saying, “I don’t like arguing with Polacks.”

Thayer declined to comment on the events.

Thayer said she benefited from running against an incumbent.

“I think many people here were not happy with (Stultz’s) votes,” Thayer said.

Now that Thayer will be a member of the board, more questions may come about a possible nepotism conflict that first came to light after an MDJ report in June.

Thayer’s husband, Ed Thayer, is supervisor of Lassiter High School’s Concert Hall.

A state policy forbids board members from serving if they have an immediate family member who is a “principal, assistant principal or system administrative staff” in their district. Thayer said she was unaware of the policy even though she had signed an affidavit March 5 confirming she had “read and understand the code of ethics and the conflict of interest provisions.”

Thayer has a list of goals she plans to accomplish as a member of the school board: “To remain focused on the important issues of making fiscally sound decisions, increasing student achievement, improving facilities, hiring and retaining highly qualified teachers for our classrooms, strengthening the parent-school partnership and maintaining school safety.”

During the campaign, the two candidates differed on one highly debated topic: Common Core standards in schools.

Thayer said during her campaign they are a framework that can be adjusted and built upon. She said the issue is too politicized, and the standards will have little impact on the day-to-day learning environment. Stultz was against the Common Core.

During the May 20 Republican primary, Thayer won 1,878 ballots, or 45 percent of the vote, while Stultz took 1,405 votes, or 34 percent of the vote. Jeffrey Abel, a lending officer with Wells Fargo of Smyrna, was left behind with only 878 votes, or 21 percent. Abel endorsed Thayer after conceding his loss.

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Rude Guy
July 25, 2014
Just an observation, but all of the ladies in the picture look a little past the age of being really concerned with Cobb County Schools. Are they all getting their tax breaks? Was this just an "us" against "them" vote driven by Max and his theater of the absurd.

Oh glory, this is going to be a hot mess.
Wait A Minute!!!
July 24, 2014
Ms. Thayer is a consultant for Education Planners??? Hmmmm.....she may want to have a chat with Mr. Sweeney to see how that consulting gig is going to play out while sitting on the board, should she win that is. If she wins, that means her husband will be giving up his job at Lassiter and she will potentially have to curtail her "consulting" gig.....oh gosh....this gets better every day!!!!! Maybe Max can call a few more people names and help her find a new job.
East Cobb parent
July 23, 2014
Not in Post 2 but please don't forget, Susan Thayer is the one with a husband who is earning nearly $50K for a part-time job. His only responsibility is booking concerts at Lassiter Theater. Really? A secretary could do that in a few hours a month. ALSO, she is the one who said she loves the Development Authority of Cobb County, understands why they need secrecy, and supports their tax abatment/cronyism towards friends. I don't want to ever hear her complain about not enough money for Cobb schools!!
mom comment
July 23, 2014
We need to make sure which ever of these ladies do not stick with the foolish choice of the interim superintendent.

Cobb County has a real chance of picking up the best possible Superintendent Candidate out their. They can bring State Superintendent John Barge.

All Hell will be brought forward in Cobb before Christmas when the teachers and principals are in full revolt from having in inept Grant Rivera in the interim Supt. Cabinet. What a frigging joke. A Special Ed teacher that did not even do 3 years, but cheated on paper. Then a Principal who wants to play cheerleader with the girls. Inappropriately brought his girlfriend ( now wife to school events when she was still married to someone else.)
Proud Post2 voter
July 23, 2014
The voters in Post 2 did an excellent job getting out to the polls yesterday. Typically the runoff of a primary has an extremely low turnout and in this case there were actually more votes cast in the runoff than in the May primary. The parents in the area know the deal in the schools and are ready for change. With return numbers like that I don't think there is any question about who we support. So thanks to all my fellow Post 2 neighbors and friends for getting to the polls when it mattered the most!
Austell Parent
July 23, 2014
Let's not forget Democrat Challenger Kenya Pierre. The race is not over
Smyrna Native
July 23, 2014
The MDJ is going to have a field day with this lady.
South Cobb Parent
July 23, 2014
Yay! So glad to see Thayer win in a landslide, we need a new board member who can work cooperatively to get something done! Now KA and TS can ride off into the sunset - the future is looking brighter on the school board.
July 23, 2014
Once again, its too bad that those who are "bought" by the Chamber win a seat. Sad day for CCSD, we now have ANOTHER board member who has a conflict of interest.
July 23, 2014
Until the citizens of cobb wake up and get MORE motivated than the taxpayer teat lovin' hacks at the chamber of's pretty much gonna be BOHICA for Cobb taxpayers.

Cobb is looking a whole lot more like a democrat run county these days. That's NOT a good thing.

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