Longtime DeKalb County School Board member Jim McMahan died last month in an accident at the age of 53. The death of McMahan, who represented an area which includes the Tucker Cluster schools, made the news because of his position as a former elected official. But here in Tucker, his death had people talking because of the type of person he was and because of what he stood for: our students. Some of McMahan’s closest friends and colleagues talked with InTucker about what they’ll miss most.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of JimmyMac. He was a tireless advocate for the children in his community. He was my friend and colleague for several years on the Board of Education and the sudden loss of his voice weighs heavily upon me. My heart goes out to his family and friends at this time of profound and sudden loss.”
Stan Jester, District 1 - DeKalb County School Board
“I first met Jim in early 2011—he and I were both attending a community meeting at the home of a Sagamore Hills resident. The topic was arguably the most controversial in public education: redistricting. I was struck by Jim’s ability to handle such a contentious issue with grace, humor, and charm. (Who else can do that?!?) Little did we know that our life paths would dovetail for years to come…Not only did Jim say he would support me in running for the Board of Education, he outlined his vision of sustainable leadership which included his continued assistance if/when I was elected. Thankfully, his vision became reality. He intentionally guided me every step of the way and was doing so as recently as last week. When we last texted, he was at the lake with his family. I told him I hadn’t been as available for our regular discussions because I’d been spending time in Oklahoma with my father, who had been hospitalized. Not only did he completely understand my situation, he encouraged me to go make new memories with my dad. As usual, he offered his number one recommendation: family first. I’m taking his advice.”
Allyson Gevertz, District 4 - DeKalb County School Board
“Jim’s advocacy for the schools in DeKalb County reached far before his time serving on the Board of Education and would have continued long after he left his seat. He had big plans to further lift our school district by working with parents and stakeholders and I will miss our hour-long conversations about all the possibilities in our schools.
Jim did not like it when it was mentioned how the TCC got started by him chasing us after a meeting to encourage gathering a group of people to work on a stronger connection among the Tucker Cluster schools, but he was the inspiration and the drive.
His enthusiasm and motivation were impactful, and he leaves a legacy for all that knew him to leave our mark just as he did.”
Erin Kirn, Co-Founder of the Tucker Cluster Council
“The loss of Jim McMahan has stunned us all. The broad reach of his life extended far beyond those that were lucky enough to know him and call him ‘friend’.
Jim lifted up all of the children of DeKalb County through his work as a public servant and volunteer. But I will always remember Jim at Tucker High football games, sitting with Principal Jackson, cheering on our Tigers - loving football.
I will forever be grateful to Jim’s beautiful family for sharing him and supporting his service to our community. I will keep them close in my heart now and forever. Thank you, Jim, my friend, for embracing all of our children. “
Michelle Penkava, District 3 - Tucker City Council