Kelly Girtz

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Kelly Girtz
Mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia
Assumed office
January 8, 2019
Preceded by Nancy Denson
District 9 Commissioner for Athens-Clarke County
In office
Personal details
BornNovember 12, 1971 (1971-11-12) (age 48)
Bath, Maine, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Andrea Griffith-Girtz
Children1 son
OccupationPolitician, educator

Kelly Darryl Girtz is an American politician currently serving as mayor of the unified government of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, having succeeded Nancy Denson in January 2019. Before he was sworn in as mayor, Girtz maintained a long career as a teacher and school administrator in Northeast Georgia.

Early life

Girtz was born on November 12, 1971, in Bath, Maine to Darryl Sylvester and Joanne (née Kirsch) Girtz (now Claridge), while his father was stationed aboard the USS Dale. The Dale was homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, where Girtz and his family then lived for a year before moving to Oakland, California for a year. From 1974 to 1994, he was raised and resided in Norfolk, Virginia, where he graduated from Lake Taylor High School in 1989 and Old Dominion University in 1993.


Girtz earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Piedmont College. From 1998 to 2014, he was a teacher and administrator in the Clarke County School District in Athens. He then served as Regional Director for Student Services and Special Education for Foothills Charter High School, a public charter high school. [1]

Political career

County commissioner

In November 2006, Girtz was elected to serve as a member of the Athens-Clarke County commission, representing District 9. He was re-elected unopposed in both 2010 and 2014.

Mayoral candidate

In May 2017, Girtz announced that he would run for mayor of Athens-Clarke County. On May 22, 2018, he defeated fellow commissioner Harry Sims and local businessman Richie Knight, earning over 60 percent of the vote, to become mayor-elect.


Girtz was sworn in as Mayor on January 8, 2019. Former Clarke County School District Board of Education member Ovita Thornton was sworn in as Girtz's replacement for the District 9 commissioner seat. [2] During the 2020 COV-ID 19 pandemic in the United States, Girtz urged Athens residents to continue sheltering in place, opposing Governor Brian Kemp's April 20 announcement that non-essential Georgia businesses, like gyms and hair salons, could re-open that week. [3] [4]

During the Black Lives Matter protests of late May/early June 2020, Mayor Girtz joined protesters in calling for the removal of a Confederate monument on Broad Street. The demand came after local law enforcement teargassed protesters at a March for a World Without Cops demonstration in front of the University of Georgia Arch on the night of May 31. [5]

Electoral history


Athens-Clarke County Commission, District 9 general election results, 2006 [6]
Candidate Votes %
Kelly Girtz 3,185 42.02%
Chuck Jones 784 10.34%
Alvin Sheats 2,736 36.10%
Ed Vaughan 874 11.53%
Athens-Clarke County Commissioner, District 9 runoff election results, 2006 [7]
Candidate Votes %
Kelly Girtz 2,636 58.89%
Alvin Sheats 1,840 41.11%


Athens-Clarke County Mayor, election results, 2018 [8]
Candidate Votes %
Kelly Girtz 10,924 60.20%
Richie Knight 1,664 9.17%
Harry L. Sims 5,499 30.31%
Write-In 58 0.32%


  1. ^ "Kelly Girtz". Athens for Everyone. 2016-04-07. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  2. ^ Shearer, Lee. "Commissioners used Bibles, other books in taking oaths". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  3. ^ Ward, Myah. "Coronavirus lockdowns pit Republican governors against Democratic mayors". POLITICO. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  4. ^ Mettler, Katie (April 21, 2020). "Georgia mayors push back on governor's decision to reopen businesses". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  5. ^ "Mayor Girtz Calls for Removing Confederate Monument". Flagpole. 2020-06-05. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  6. ^ "2006-11-07 General Election Official Results". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  7. ^ "2006-12-05 General Election Runoff Unofficial Results". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  8. ^ "2018-05-22 General Primary Election Summary Report". Retrieved 2019-01-22.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Nancy Denson
Mayor of Athens-Clarke County