Georgia county votes to rename school for Michelle Obama

©TheAtlantaJournalConstitution

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

ATLANTA — The Clayton County Board of Education voted Monday to rename South Clayton Elementary School for a former first lady of the United States.

In a 7-2 vote, the south metro leaders opted to rename the school the Michelle Obama STEM Elementary School. Obama was chosen over civil rights leader and former U.S. Congressman John Lewis for the honor, who was the preference of the two dissenting board members.

“Both of them are great individuals,” board chairwoman Jessie Goree said before the vote was called. “All of us are willing to go one way or the other.”

Obama has ties to Clayton County. Her great-great-great-grandmother Melvinia Shields was enslaved on a family farm in Rex, a tiny hamlet in northeastern Clayton.

The next step for the school district is to reach out to get an agreement with Obama, Goree said.

“We are going to make contact with the family because we have to get permission,” she said.

If Obama turns down the school system, then leaders will seek permission to name the school for Lewis.

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