Gwen Sykes

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Gwen Sykes
Gwen Sykes.JPG
Candidate for
Board Member, Birmingham City School Board, District 4
Elections and appointments
Last electionOctober 8, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Birmingham City Council
2001 - 2005
Bachelor'sBirmingham-Southern College
Master'sUniversity of Alabama, Birmingham
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Gwen Sykes was a candidate for the vacant District 4 seat on the Birmingham City School Board. Sykes received enough votes in the general election on August 27, 2013 to continue on to the runoff election on October 8, 2013. She was defeated by Daagye Hendricks in the October 8 2013 runoff election.


Sykes resides in Birmingham, Alabama. Sykes earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Birmingham-Southern College, an M.A. in Early Childhood Education and a Class AA certification in Educational Administration from University of Alabama, Birmingham. She also has completed some work toward a doctorate at Nova Southeastern University.[1] She began her career as a teacher at North Roebuck Elementary School and later served as an assistant principal at Green Acres Elementary School before retiring.[1]

In 2001, Sykes defeated incumbent Aldrich Gunn for the Birmingham City Council District 4 seat.[2] She experienced some controversy as a city councilor due to her role as a landlord, mother and grandmother to several Birmingham residents alleged by their neighbors to be disruptive and engaged in criminal activity.[3] In 2003, Sykes launched an unsuccessful bid for Birmingham Mayor, receiving 0.38% of the primary vote and failed to proceed to the runoff election.[4] Sykes lost her re-election bid to her City Council seat in 2005 to Maxine Herring Parker.[5] In 2009, Sykes campaigned unsuccessfully for the Birmingham City School Board District 4 seat.[6]



See also: Birmingham City School District Elections (2013)

Gwen Sykes ran for the District 4 seat on the Birmingham City School Board against Daagye Hendricks. Hendricks and Sykes defeated fellow newcomer Rodney Huntley in the general election held on August 27, 2013. Since no candidate received a majority of the vote, Hendricks and Sykes continued on to a runoff election on October 8, 2013.[7]

Birmingham City Schools, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngGwen Sykes 41.3% 1,235
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDaagye Hendricks 39.6% 1,185
     Nonpartisan Rodney Huntley 19.1% 570
Total Votes 2,990
Source: Birmingham Office of the City Clerk, "City Election - August 27, 2013," accessed August 28, 2013 These results are unofficial and not certified. They will be updated once certified results are available.

Birmingham City Schools, District 4 Runoff Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDaagye Hendricks 73.8% 730
     Nonpartisan Gwendolyn Sykes 26.2% 259
Total Votes 989
Source:, "Birmingham Election Run Off Results," accessed October 9, 2013 These results are unofficial and not certified. They will be updated once certified results are available.


As of August 28, 2013, no campaign donations or expenditures for Gwen Sykes had been reported to the Alabama Secretary of State.[8]>


Gwen Sykes has not received any official endorsements for her campaign as of yet.


Sykes first campaigned for the District 4 seat on the Birmingham City School Board in 2009 against incumbent Carolyn Hollman Cobb and fellow challenger Edward Maddox. The primary election was held on August 25, 2009. Sykes did not receive enough votes to proceed to the runoff election where Maddox went on to defeat Cobb. According to a profile of her campaign, Sykes' most important campaign issues were "transparency, community involvement, [and] leadership."[1]

Birmingham City School Board, District 4 Primary, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Carolyn Hollman Cobb Incumbent 37.6% 725
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEdward Maddox 49.2% 950
     Nonpartisan Gwen P. Sykes 13.2% 255
Total Votes 1,930

What was at stake?

Nine seats, including every board officer position, were at stake on August 27, 2013. Three members of the controversial "Gang of Five" coalition of board members were on the ballot. These members were Emanuel B. Ford, Virginia S. Volker and Tyrone H. Belcher, Sr., all of whom lost their re-election bids.[9] Incumbents Carol E. Clarke, W. J. Maye Jr. and Phyllis F. Wyne did not seek re-election.[10] Districts 1, 4 and 6 held runoff elections on October 8, 2013.[11]

State takeover

On June 26, 2012, the Alabama Department of Education assumed control of Birmingham City Schools after the school board failed to pass a measure that would have cut hundreds of jobs over two years to bring the district into compliance with state law.[12] The discovery that schools in the district were operating without the mandated month of emergency reserve funds, which amounted to approximately $20 million, was another contributor to the state takeover.[13] Since the takeover, the school board has consolidated seven schools and six office buildings in an effort to save the district approximately $8 million.[13]

About the district

The Birmingham City School District was created in 1910 when the Alabama State Legislature passed a bill creating Greater Birmingham. Through this bill, 40 schools were annexed by the Birmingham Free School, most of them substandard and in disrepair. Birmingham City Schools is now comprised of 51 schools including 25 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, seven K-8 schools, seven high schools, and one alternative school.[14]


Birmingham City Schools is located in Jefferson County, Alabama
Birmingham City School District is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, located northeast of the capital, Montgomery. According to the 2010 US Census, Birmingham is home to 212,237 residents.[15]


Jefferson County outperforms the rest of Alabama in terms of median household income, poverty rates and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income for Jefferson County is $45,750 when compared to $42,934 for the state of Alabama. The percentage of people below poverty level for Jefferson County is 16.2% while it is 17.6% for the state of Alabama. The 2010 U.S. Census also found that 29.0% of Jefferson County residents aged 25 or older attained a bachelor's degree compared to 22.0% in Iowa[16]

Racial Demographics, 2012[16]
Race Jefferson County (%) Alabama (%)
White 54.3 70.0
Black or African American 42.6 26.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 0.7
Asian 1.5 1.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 1.1 1.5
Hispanic or Latino 3.9 4.1

Presidential Voting Pattern[17]
Year Democratic Vote Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote Republican Vote (%)
2012 159,876 52.50 141,683 46.53
2008 166,121 52.15 149,921 47.07
2004 132,286 45.15 158,680 54.16
2000 129,889 47.45 138,491 50.59

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[18][19]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2, "Birmingham Board of Education District 4: Gwen P. Sykes," September 9, 2009
  2. Office of the City Clerk, "2001 Municipal Council Runoff," accessed July 24, 2013
  3. Black & White, "Naked Birmingham," October 23, 2003
  4. Office of the City Clerk, "2003 Mayoral Election," accessed July 24, 2013
  5. Office of the City Clerk, "2005 Council and School Board Election," accessed July 24, 2013
  6. Office of the City Clerk, "2009 City Council and School Board Election," accessed July 24, 2013
  7. Stan Diel,, "Sykes, Hendricks go to runoff in Birmingham's District 4 BOE race," August 27, 2013
  8. Alabama Secretary of State, "Search FCPA Reports," accessed August 28, 2013
  9. Marie Leech,, "Three incumbent Birmingham school board members voted out (update)," August 27, 2013
  10. Marissa Mitchell, ABC 3340, "Qualifying candidates for Birmingham mayoral, city council, school board races," July 12, 2013
  11. Brianne Britzius, Fox 6, "William Bell wins new term as Birmingham mayor," August 28, 2013
  12. Sherea Harris and Brianne Britzius, Fox 6 WBRC, "State will take over Birmingham schools starting Wednesday," July 3, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 Evan Belanger,, "Birmingham schools intervention could stretch into fall 2014, education official says," June 27, 2013
  14. Birmingham City Schools, "History of the Birmingham City Schools" accessed July 16, 2013
  15. United States Census Bureau, "Guide to 2010 Census State and Local Geography - Alabama," accessed August 13, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 United States Census Bureau, "Jefferson County Quick Facts," accessed August 13, 2013
  17. Alabama Secretary of State, "Elections Information," accessed August 14, 2013
  18. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  19. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.