The District 2 appointee for the Clarke County School District Board of Education misled the board about his high school graduation.
Antwon Stephens, who was appointed Jan. 16, gave a speech to the board where he suggested he graduated from CCSD in 2014.
“My story is that of a young person that is recently out of the Clarke County School District, Cedar Shoals High School Class of 2014,” Stephens said in his Jan. 16 speech.
However, the Cedar Shoals High School graduation list for 2014, obtained by The Red & Black through an open records request, does not have Stephens’ name.
Stephens also listed himself as a “Clarke County School District native/ Cedar Shoals High School 2014” in his District 2 application materials, according to emails obtained by The Red & Black through the same open records request.
Stephens admitted to Cedar Blueprints, a publication at Cedar Shoals High School, that he did not graduate from the school.
“I definitely apologize for it coming out that way but the graduation was not from Cedar Shoals,” Stephens told the paper.
BOE President LaKeisha Gantt released a statement in the wake of the article saying that her and the vice president are talking with Stephens.
“While the unfolding of events and information is not optimal, it is not a legal disqualifier,” Gantt said in the statement. “Being a high school graduate is not a requirement for serving on the Board of Education and the Affidavit signed does not contain any representation about being a graduate. Therefore, this revelation does not change his eligibility for the office. Additionally, the Board of Education did its due diligence by having Mr. Stephens sign the qualifications affidavit before being sworn in.”
The Red & Black reached out to Stephens for comment about his graduation.
Stephens gained the support of four board members to solidify his appointment, edging out three other candidates.
District 9 member Tawana Mattox and District 4 member Patricia Yager voted for Stephens as their first choice for the appointment. District 1 member Greg Davis and District 5 member Kara Dyckman switched their votes from another candidate to Stephens, pushing him to the majority.
During the meeting, Mattox said she personally knows Stephens and wanted to have the perspective of “a person that has recently graduated from our district” on the board.
“This young man has done everything he said he did he actually did in terms of making this community better,” Mattox said at the meeting. “I definitely would love to see a younger person and younger voice on this board.”
Stephens said he plans to run for a full term to represent District 2 when the seat is up for election in May.
Before his appointment to the school board, Stephens was in the race for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District, despite missing the minimum age requirement by two years.
I was appointed to School Board District 2 of Athens-ClarkeCounty tonight. I will seek a full term as district 2 member in May and prepare for a congressional run in two years. My full support and resources will go to @DevinPandy who is ready to defeat Collins. Thank you #GA09! pic.twitter.com/aBDowNO1vr— Antwon Stephens (@AntwonS2020) January 17, 2020
Stephens also ran for Athens-Clarke County mayor in 2018 but dropped out of the race.