Georgia to begin working on lowest-performing schools

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Georgia to begin working on lowest-performing schools

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David Barnes/DAVID BARNES / SPECIAL
April 27, 2017, Atlanta - Gov. Nathan Deal signs House Bill 338 for intervention in low-performing schools. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

State education leaders will take their first step Thursday toward intervening in Georgia’s lowest-performing schools.

The First Priority Act, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in April, establishes the office of a Chief Turnaround Officer, who will target schools and determine how to intervene.

That officer has not yet been hired. He or she will report to the Georgia Board of Education, which must conduct a national search in consultation with the elected state superintendent, Richard Woods, and an appointed, 11-member Education Turnaround Advisory Council.

That consultation begins Thursday at 1:30 p.m., when the group convenes for their first meeting at the education board’s offices in downtown Atlanta.

So far, all but one of the 11 council members have been named. The panel, by law, must include appointees from seven specified teacher and school leader advocacy groups plus four from the leadership of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Senate. The panel so far:

  • Valerie Wilson, executive director of the Georgia School Boards Association,
  • John Zauner, executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association,
  • Allene Magill, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators,
  • Melissa Ladd, a teacher with the Georgia Association of Educators,
  • Jimmy Stokes, executive director of the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders,
  • Tyler Barr, president of the Georgia Parent Teacher Association,
  • Rosemary Vaughn, a staffer with Educators First,
  • Kim Evans, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named by Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle,
  • Cassandra Washington, the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Director for Bibb County Schools and a board member for the district’s Hutchings College and Career Academy, named by Cagle,
  • Lex Rainey, the former Gilmer County school superintendent, named by House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, and 
  • Meria J. Carstarphen, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, named by Ralston.


The first meeting of the new Education Turnaround Advisory Council is 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Board of Education, 205 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive SE, Atlanta, suite 2070 in Twin Towers East.

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