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The Clarke County Board of Education member Greg Davis discusses agenda items in the regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6 in Athens. (Photo/Erin Schilling, 404.291.9654)

The newest Clarke County Board of Education member did not make an appearance for his first regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Board President LaKeisha Gantt read a statement from District 2 member Antwon Stephens, who was appointed to the seat last month, citing “sickness and stress” for his absence.

“I am a proud former student of CCSD and take responsibility for it being presented unclearly that although I attended Fourth Street [Howard B. Stroud] Elementary, BHL Middle, Coile Middle and Cedar Shoals High School, that I did not graduate from Cedar Shoals,” Gantt read from Stephens’ statement. “Despite the attempts to silence my message I have been hard at work over the past couple weeks for district two.”

After his appointment to the board, Cedar Shoals BluePrints discovered Stephens, who said he was “Cedar Shoals High School Class of 2014,” did not graduate from the school. Stephens has also shown questionable fundraising practices for previous political campaigns.

However, the board did not address these items at the meeting, and most of the speakers during the public comment section focused on the extended administrative leave of former Superintendent Demond Means.

District 4 member Patricia Yager and District 6 member Charles Worthy were also not at the Feb. 6 meeting.

The board approved the 3DE partnership with Clarke Central High School to start next school year, which is delayed from the initial plan to implement it this year. 3DE is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that uses business world techniques to teach high school students core subjects, though community members expressed concerns on Facebook about bringing in the company.

District 1 member Greg Davis supports the partnership and said it would be a “radical shift” in teaching at the school. Board members welcomed the chance to use this year for planning to learn more about the program and recruit students and teachers.

Board members also finalized committee assignments and approved a slew of policies to be posted for public comment, including a few about promotion and retention, surveillance cameras and graduation requirements.

Davis brought up the possible effect of state dual enrollment changes for the district’s high school students. A Feb. 10 joint meeting with the Athens-Clarke County Commission will go further into detail about whether they plan to talk with the Georgia legislature about the change.

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