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H.K. Dido: Republican Candidate for Gwinnett School Board, District 5

He will be running against incumbent Louise Radloff for the seat that covers many Norcross-area public schools.

Hussein K. Dido wants the best education for his children, as most parents do. Coming from a private school background, the Norcross resident doesn't believe the public schools in his area possess it, however.

"I wanted to enroll my kids into public school, but before I did that, I did a little bit of research," he said. "I found out that public school is really lagging behind private schools, big time."

He was appalled in some of the statistics he saw, including the fact that institutions such as Meadowcreek and Norcross high schools have graduation rates that are less than 60 percent, so he decided to take the plunge in trying to improve the school system himself.

Dido has decided to run for the Republican seat for District 5 in the upcoming November election. The district covers Norcross schools such as , , and , and also some in Duluth, too. Incumbent , who's been on the Gwinnett school board for nearly 40 years, will be running for the same seat as a Democrat after switching from being a long-time Republican.

Dido is currently an administrative fellow at Emory University's School of Medicine in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, but he has a professional background in schooling. At Dar-Un-Noor Academy, an Atlanta private school where his children attend, he served as an assistant principal for five years and taught foreign language, math and social studies for the 10 years before that. He still resides on the school's board of education, in addition to being on the board for the Oakhurst Medical Center and other organizations.

As a Kenya native, Dido has a master's degree in public health and a second master's in international affairs and politics. He moved to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 1995 through a diversity program, landed in the Atlanta area in 1996, and finally settled in Norcross in 1997.

For his campaign, Dido talks about three major goals he would aim to accomplish as the District 5 chairman: accountability, accessibility, and safety and security.

On his website under the accountability description, Dido wishes to "set high academic measurable standards, provide/allocate necessary resources to achieve these standards, monitor the return on investments by using data, and engage District 5 residents in the process and share with them the progress reports."

For data, Dido gave an example of administering a pretest for students at the beginning of the school year so that teachers can focus on the children's weaknesses and know their strengths before classes start.

"That way, we know how to focus on each individual child," he said, adding that teachers would be accounted for improving every student's progress through specific numbers. A specific percentage goal increase would be set for every student in order to better manage that child's progress.

He believes the school isn't doing enough monitoring through this type of data, which is one of the main reasons why District 5 students aren't doing as well overall.

"Right now, [students] go to class, everybody takes a test, some fail, some pass, and you move on until the child is about to graduate, and they drop out and become a burden to society," he said.

In terms of accessibility, Dido wants all necessary books, technology and resources available to students in order to provide the best education possible. He doesn't think there are enough parents and school members who go out of their way to approach the other, so he aims to make all parties aware of the possible relationship.

Providing accessibility to every student to make sure he or she succeeds sounds like it would cost the county funds it doesn't have, but Dido assured that the budget is not an issue.

"I get that question a lot, but it's not about money. It's about intention," he said. "Are you really there to help the kids, or are you there to collect funds? How many board of education [members] went to the community and said, 'We need volunteers'? We don't know, and that's the point. There are so many people willing to help, so many parents, retired people, who are willing to volunteer in tutoring, in making sure the environment is safe and making sure they can provide minor things. We haven't used all our resources that [are] free to us."

"There is a management problem and willingness, and the sincerity isn't there," he added.

When it boils down to it, Dido believes something in District 5 schools needs to change, and that includes its current board member.

"If Louise Radloff did not change anything in 40 years, are we expecting her to change anything in the next four years? Absolutely not," he said. "If she's confident enough about her work, she would not have switched parties. She is not loyal or honest, because [she ran] 39 years as a Republican, and when they changed the district boundaries, all of the sudden, she's a Democrat. This is misleading the community."

Do you agree with Hussein K. Dido's views on the area's schools? Do you plan on voting for Dido or Louise Radloff in the upcoming November election for GCPS's District 5 school board seat? Tell us in the comments.

See also:

Kathleen Allen August 25, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Nobody in PTA at NES invited any board member or candidate; when Ms. Radloff knew her district would include NES, she proactively reached out to get to know our school and students, to learn about our particular strengths, challenges and needs. In many places I’ve lived around the country, school boards are nonpartisan. Why they are by party in Georgia, I don’t know and I truly don’t care. The quality and success of my kids’ education is a much higher priority than political partisanship!
Kevin Thompson August 25, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Having been a member of this community for over 25 years, I have seen the good and the not so good side of having Ms. Radloff represent us. She has been a friend to Meadowcreek for years. She has done much in the way of being available for the community members. I've worked with her on several projects connected with Meadowcreek HS and if she couldn't get the request done, she directed me to the proper person that could. Her changing parties was a smart move on her part. Gwinnett County continues to change the demographic make up of the people she reperesents, so why not represent the people you've been given. As a life long Democrat, I've voted for her every time. Some people vote parties, I vote people. Why not eliminate the confusion. I don't always agree with all of her decisions, but I've come to understand her thinking when making these decisions. There are still a mulititude of changes that need to be made, but the PEOPLE of our clusters must get involved to make these changes. We can't just leave it in her hands to do alone.
Kevin Thompson August 25, 2012 at 07:56 PM
As for the test scores and graduation rates, come on. This is the most trancient community in Gwinnett County. How often does a child start school in elementary school and go all the way through high school in this cluster? We get an influx of new students throughout the school year that are from other countries and are not able to catch up or keep up with the students that began in this area. Do we refuse to admit them into the system? No, we accept them and find ways to acclimate them into the community and focus on how to help them get up to speed. If you remove the statistics of non english speaking students that have to overcome several obstacles to learn, you will see that Meadowcreek and Norcross Clusters are as successful as any in Gwinnett County. I as an informed parent did NOT hold the negative statistics against them when deciding where my children would attend school. I have a daughter that graduated in 2009, that was as prepared for college and life beyond as any school could have made her. She is now preparing to join the AF to serve her country and then further her education. I'm proud that she is a former Meadowcreek Mustang. My oldest daughter attended Meadowcreek but chose to transfer and subsequently did not finish school. It wasn't because she didn't like Meadowcreek, she just chose to live with her mother who lived in a different county. Would she have graduated had she stayed? Who knows? But her teachers would have kept her focused enough to try.
Hussein Dido August 27, 2012 at 01:37 AM
If students from other countries with less accessibility to education and technologies come to the United States and go to Harvard, Yale, Preston, Johns Hapkins, Emory, etc then why can't we set high academic standards that will facilitate for our children to go to these great universities. I am not saying all of our children should go to these universities but that's what makes the community stands out. These universities are in our backyard vis-à-vis other countries. We need to strategize and come-up with a clear road map for our children to succeed. These low graduation rates come with consequences including affecting negatively on our property values and keeping away home buyers and investors from our community. I would like to ask, why schools in North Gwinnett such as Suwanee and Dacula are better than south Gwinnett?. Aren’t we all paying taxes to the county?. Why property values in upper Gwinnett are higher than lower Gwinnett?, etc. I have heard a lot about demographic change. If the “demographic change” is the factor, then aren’t we suppose to plan ahead to avoid these negative results?. It really bothers me when I see a huge gap between private schools and public schools. We all want our children to be successful, productive and be plus to the society. Can’t we do something about these? The world has changed and today, the academic focus is math, science and language arts.
Kevin Thompson August 27, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I agree that Public vs Private school is not on equal footing. The educational opportunities are also not equal. Because of government funding versus private funding, more is offered to the private school students. For one, the classes aren't as big, and that makes a major difference to the students who require more attention. I was speaking primarily about the demographics being changed to group more of the transcient families into one area. The reason for the higher property value is due directly to the per capita income in the northern clusters in Gwinnett. When families were making more in unicorporated Norcross, the home value was higher. It has nothing to do with the school nor it's teachers, staff of students. Academically I would put Meadowcreek and Norcross students against any in Gwinnett and they would hold their own without question. If you have a plan that will change any of that without help from society itself, I would love to see it in writing.
Mil James August 31, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Golly, Mr. Dido, it seems to me that you have not found information that is out there waiting to be had. (I refer to your statement that Mrs. Radloff had changed nothing in 40 years.) Sir, you are grossly misinformed. But I will leave that to her to discuss with you, IF you will. But – enough of Mrs. Radloff, sir. Let us hear what qualifies you to govern a school system of more than 150,000 (and that’s just the students – doesn’t take into account any of the school faculty, staff, administrative and facilities employees, etc.) Have you governed a system that size. I see you were a teacher for ten years, and then you were an assistant principal at a private school . . . is that the same school where you taught for the prior ten years? Have you taught in any other schools? Have you ever dealt with public school students and public school parents, and public school financial issues, and such? And, how many separate schools and other facilities would a system the size of GCPS have, to accommodate these folks? I would tend to think that a public school system is a much larger entity – with a much larger set of issues and circumstances and, gee – budget! - to deal with than a private school. What size is your school, about 5,000 students (my uninformed estimate, to be sure), plus faculty, staff, etc and the administrative and facilities employees? And your budget? I would guess in the 2-3 millions? (continued)
Mil James August 31, 2012 at 04:42 AM
(I like the Tolstoy thing!) Do you see where I am coming from, here, HK, sir? I just have doubts as to whether you are actually qualified to govern the GCPS of today, let alone, the system of world-class schools of tomorrow. So, please, tell me so I can make an informed choice on November 6th. What qualities would you bring to this position? What makes you the better qualified candidate?
4 MER DUMB DEM September 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
What will become of Public Education with out the ability to understand Georgias' National Rankings , why being in the bottom is so comfortable and we are willing to accept it, defiently unwilling and incapable of change. Gwinnett, as one of the shining stars in this state, reflects the desparity involved regarding priorities that individuals set for educational standards and requirements in their respective home enviroments. Let us face the ugly facts, a lot of citizens values do not reflect basic disciplines or encouragement to foster and promote Education as a Valued Commodity. We the people of the community at large, provide the institution for all to attend and inorder for our rankings to rise should take a long hard look at our methods. GCPS fought the Charters as this is a business not just a service, I feel it is time for a fresh face on the board , innovative ideas, a practical business approach to this Industry we refer to as Public Education. I know Louise will continue to support the community even if it is not in an offical capacity. Look to our neighboring county, Hall, who has embraced Charters, they are attracting growth as they decided to innovate or a better description might be Deviate from the Old School Norm. 4 MER DUMB DEM 4 MER DUMB DEM
4 MER DUMB DEM September 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I met Mr Dido recently and I was impressed with his ideology. I am also familar with Louise from the '80's and '90's, when my children were attending GCPS. I personally would like to see Mr. Dido in this vital postion bringing his insight for new approaches to this Public Education Industry. The citizens of Gwinnett would greatly benefit from Mr. Dido's passion for Education in addition to his business qualifications. Committ to fearlessly change, as the only thing to fear, is fear itself.
4 MER DUMB DEM September 18, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Oh my, Frankly My Dear you should give a _ _ _ _ (care); stealing a line from a old southern flick. Southern school boards are in fact why GA's National rankings are so incredibly pathetic this Federalized Fractured System is a direct reflection of the lower educational levels attained in the USA verses the rest of the Industrialized World. We led by leeps n bounds in the 50's,60's and 70's and with a lot of Federal Title Bills, out of control Teachers Unions and perpetuation of apathy coupled with ignorance we have fallen academically, and I pray we can get up. Pay attention as this is a Business not a Service and they do work for you and can be fired for lack of production.
Hussein Dido October 09, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Mil James, I appreciate your concerns however, I am not sure how you put a school with a 67% graduation rate (Overall Gwinnett) and 60% of the same for District 5 in a world-class category. Did you get a chance to look at the performance of the only Charter school in Norcross?.."In 2011, a little more than 94 percent of students met or exceeded standards in math on the Georgia CRCT. Nearly 98 percent met or exceeded standards in Reading/English Language Arts", according to the state Department of Education. So, I am not advocating for charter schools, but I can comfortably call this a world-class that they earned with less money. James, to answer your qualification question, here are some useful info: Political experience: First-time candidate; president of homeowners’ association, Laurelbrooke Association, Inc., since 2005 Education: Master’s degree in public health from Morehouse School of Medicine; master’s degree in international affairs and development, international politics and diplomacy from Clark Atlanta University Professional experience: Currently administrative fellow, Emory University School of Medicine; assistant principal and teacher for 15 years; member of SACS/CASI committee to accredit private and charter schools in Georgia; on several board of directors, including Oakhurst Medical Centers, Stone Mountain. Please let me know if you have any further questions,
Mil James October 10, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Dear Mr. Dido and 4 Mer Dumb Dem, I believe that you probably mean well. You sound enough alike to be almost the same person. Mr. Dido, I seem to recall that you said running ‘A’ school is like running a business. And to a degree, I concur. But I feel you are naive not to realize there are things, beyond your ken, that make running a school system a tremendous amount of different than running a school or a small to medium sized business. And just how many of those have you run? Or large businesses? I do not doubt your intelligence, but I feel that, even with your educational and professional background, you are ill prepared for the job of running a school system the size of GCPS. Additionally, as a board member, I don’t believe you would have control over the day to day operations of the system. I believe that the board’s role is to set policy, rather than enforce it. Enforcement, measurement, accountability, all of that starts with the local schools, I would think, and is under the primary jurisdiction of the Superintendent of Schools. Ultimately, yes, the board is also accountable, but it is up to them to set the standards you say you want to strive for, to guide the system, starting at the top and trickling down to the local school levels, to- and through- the path that is the direction of their vision. (I know, I know, the Tolstoy thing again!
Mil James October 10, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Perhaps you want to make changes that you feel will be positive. But meantime, consider the arguments you are making and how they affect the students, parents, faculty, staff, administrators – everyone in the district. I challenge you to find within the district 5 schools at least – AT LEAST - 3 positives each week. Not what you hear about, but what you know for a fact because you were there and talked to the involved parties, whoever they may be. Those positives are there. You just sometimes have to exert a bit and look for them. And, finding those 3 positives each week, I challenge you further, to begin to rethink your negative opinions of the district and all those who have been fighting for it, with it and from within it for years and years. They ARE making positive changes – every one of them. And it is in all the ways that all these people, children to adults, are fighting to make a difference, that makes district 5 a very large part of a system of world-class schools. (one more time)
Mil James October 10, 2012 at 04:49 AM
A small shame on you for not looking before you lept, for making assumptions without having all the facts, for letting a political party wrap you around their finger, wind you up, and set you off without truly knowing all there is to know. As for them, what, if anything have they done to assist you? Not much, I’ll bet. But I hold out hope for you. You appear to be a religious man, of different faith than I, but your God and my God are the same God, in my mind. We worship him differently, but He will shine the Light and help you see a better path for your vision. And perhaps your fan, 4 Mer Dumb Dem, will also see this Light and realize it is time to let bygones be bygones and do what is best for the district. Respectfully, Mil James
Hussein Dido October 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Mil, What does my faith have to do with education?..I am glad that your true color has come out and please stop insulting yourself. I am more or equaly qualified with all current school board members and I am sure even if I hold 10 PhDs, you will not be satisfied with me because of who I am, as you said. When you cannot defend your "World Class" category, then insult me, insult the Republican, religion, etc
Mil James October 15, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Mr. Hussein Dido, Sorry, Mr. Dido, to have invoked faith. It was my own I referred to, but I also 'ass'umed you were a man of faith, considering your employment history. Obviously I was mistaken, and I sincerely apologize. As for true color? You have no idea of the person I am. I don't recall saying I was dissatisfied with you, in fact, I was beginning to think that, if you accepted the challenges I offered, you might realize all is not a bleak as it appears. There is a lot of ‘heart’ in district 5, sir, that you appear to be overlooking. I don’t feel the need to defend anything I have said. I have been sincere. You have the right to agree or disagree with me just as I have the right to agree or disagree with you. However you do yourself a disservice to fall into the trap of going on the offense in order to deflect the conversation from the questions asked of you. If you don’t want to answer, then don’t. But to say I am insulting you is far off base. I said nothing insulting. I certainly meant no offense to you or your religion. And to think I was insulting you as a Republican is quite funny. You see, I consider myself Republican. But I also believe in voting for the candidate rather than the party. I want the best qualified candidate running the school system, the local, state and federal governments, etc. I am merely attempting to determine whether the challenger is worthy of what I have seen of the incumbent. (one last time, I think!)
Mil James October 15, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Since it appears you are unwilling to accept my initial challenge, I feel the need to move on now. GoodBye Sir, my best to you.
anthony rivers October 19, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I have dealt with this Mr. Dido "professionally" and I have to say that he is one of the most unprofessional individuals that I have ever dealt with. Mr. Dido does not care about the public, has no moral ethics and is a poor representation of our board of education. I have been rudely rejected by Mr. Dido in the past and I can just imagine how he will treat the great people of Gwinnett County. If you care about our county you will seek elsewhere for good representation.
Yesenia October 19, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Mr. Dido, I have read several of the comments posted and I am wondering what school system the majority of these people are seeing. I have been in this area for 14 years and one of my children graduated from Meadowcreek High School. I have served on the PTA in different capacities as well as other school organizations. Even after my child graduated in 2005 I continued to participate even though I had no children in the school system. I realize that Louse Radloff makes appearances at different community events but what I don't see are the type of efforts that result in positive results for our children. It amazes me how easily impressed people are. I am going to vote for you regardless of your party. Mrs. Radloff has been in this position since the year I was born. Give me a break. I don't see anything grand that she has accomplished on behalf of the Meadowcreek cluster. We need some change with some new ideas. I won't even go into the whole switching parties aspect of this race. Good luck to you and I wish you much success for our children's sake.
Sharon Marion October 23, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I don't see your ideas are new. I do think you lack a lot of knowledge about what has been done, the efforts to involve the parents and community, the available resources there are in Gwinnett, and the quality of the schools. Graduation rate is not what it appears in the statistics. It only considers those students who graduate in 4 years and a couple months, not those who take a few more months or years due to language barriers and other educational or social issues. I would like to see you put your children in Gwinnett County schools and learn first hand. I might consider you as a potential for school board when you realize there is a budget and inform yourself about the rest of the programs, especially special education and other federally mandated responsibilities. Ms. Radloff has a history of new and innovative ideas including the Phoenix High School. I am not opposed to the money following the students but it has to be a carefully thought out plans not the typical education pendulum swinging far to one side and back to the other never staying in the middle to work for all students. Smart voters do not vote according to party lines but independent candidates and independent thinking.
The Truth shall Prevail November 07, 2012 at 04:58 AM
With due respect, we are applauded when many Parents reported to Ms. Radloff that a. Corrupted, unethical Principal retaliated at Lilburn Middle School who conspired to have parents falsely arrested because he did not like the individuals and used his administration and power to do as he wished while Ms. Radloff watched and supported. Her response, he is going no where in protection of the principal without looking at the evidence. Documentation shows she did not care. Yes, she goes in the schools and tells parents what they want to hear. She was fully aware of the internal corruption and coverups. When Principal sought further control, the Principal falsely arrested a parent who was a PTSA Board Member (dismissed by the Courts) because he couldn't bully members of the PTSA Board, so he had Board Member falsely arrested and she did absolutely nothing and pretended she knew nothing. Ms. Radloff only wants pom, pom situations and sweeps the real issues under the carpet. Ms. Radloff shows up where it is convenient for her and runs when it is not. Have a true crisis and you will find Radloff runs. We have the documentation to prove it. Ms. Radloff truly does not care. If she did, why are parents only given 3 mins to speak at Board Meetings. Yes, 3 mins. Ms. Radloff has been misrepresenting the Meadoscreek cluster with fluff and lies. We have documentation that if there is a true crisis, she works with the Board to sweep the matters under the table.
The Truth shall Prevail November 07, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Mr. Patterson, you are on target with your analysis of the facts. Ms. Radloff is very good about coming out to meetings.due to her hidden agenda . She is very sneaky and wants to make sure she keeps the parents confused with noting but FLUFF with false information and continued cover-up for GCPS (documented and proven). She is good at keeping the parents under control and at bay with gibberish, especially at Meadowcreek. It is so amazing to watch. he is very clever and manipulative if you allow her to get away with this continued misconduct, she will keep going, like the Ever Ready Battery.. We have been watching her for years. Kathleen and Sara, listen closely, she does not say much of anything and full of fluff while parents are often times fooled by the little old lady, the grandma type, often times she is easily believed because who dears questions Grandma. There is documentation that proves she dishonest and very manipulative. Ms. Radloff is good at one thing, MANIPULATION AND HELPING THE BOARD TO SWEEP SERIOUS CONCERNS UNDER THE CARPET. So sorry Kathleen is impressed with her visiting PTA meetings, One of the last meetings she attended at Meadowcreek, she was enticing parents not to vote the Charter School Amendment and her Campaign. There are those who knows the TRUE Radloff, she would win an academy Award for Best GCPS Board Actress having the ability to sweep critical concerns under the carpet Smooth Rocking and Smooth Rolling Radloff..
The Truth shall Prevail November 07, 2012 at 05:44 AM
What Makes Dido a better qualified Candidate? Easy.......Honesty!!!
Mil James November 07, 2012 at 06:14 AM
If the Truth Shall Prevail, then Truth Shall Prevail should be more than happy to do more than just open her big mouth. Truth Shall Prevail should provide all this proof and documentation or drop her very obvious grudge against Radloff. Saying a thing doesn't make it Truth! And really, you'd think Truth Shall Prevail would 'get' that.
The Truth shall Prevail November 07, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Louise Radloff has been dishonest and participated in misconduct in support of wrongdoings in Gwinnett County Schools. The little old lady who gets away with everything because it is easy for her to do. After 40 years, she has wowed the community because she has manipulated the system. So Sad that she has had the opportunity for 40 years to help support Wilbanks and the Board sweep the corruption under the carpet and keep on doing so.
The Truth shall Prevail November 07, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Ms. Marion Message Below: Bless her heart. Ms. Marion although she is a special ed teacher in GCPS, she is not in touch with reality. She would not have the ability to see the GCPS Misconduct, so long as she is getting a pay check. Ms. Marion is a a nice lady but not in touch with reality and does not have the true ability to see Ms. Radloff unethical behaviors in support of herself and GCPS. Ms. Marion is very much out of touch with reality, very passive. Ms. Marion, As of October 13, 2012, have limited knowledge about what has not been done to support true parent and community involvement. Long as GCPS have community $$$$, they find says to passify and accommodate.. True involvement is not desired in GCPS schools, Mam, including the school where you teach. Parents are not even allowed to volunteer or visit without first making an appointment, if even then. Parent and Community involvement is a very dishonest statement your you to make and to think you were willing to put in writing. Shame on you for following in the footsteps of Louise Radloff, the GCPS Board's and high ranking officials' profile.
Mil James November 07, 2012 at 07:05 AM
My response to 4MER Truth remains the same.
Hussein Dido November 07, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my supporters for their hard work for the betterment of our community. Our intension was to make our community competitive in all aspect of lives and it will remain the same. However, the people have spoken and we have to accept their voice and let the elected officials lead us to the next level. I also congratulate Ms. Louise Radloff on her victory last night. Lets put all our differences aside and unite for the betterment of our community and our country. Thank you,
Mil James November 08, 2012 at 03:16 AM
A bit of a class act, after all Mr. Dido! I approve.
The Truth shall Prevail November 08, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Mil James we thought you moved on as previously stated. The facts and appropriate documentation have been provided to the appropriate higher agency. If you feel the need to have shared with you and you are in the position to do something about the corruption, then you are welcome to provide your contact info.

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