Some districts, including Atlanta and Fulton County public schools, have vaccinated their eligible teachers and staff, but only a fraction of teachers are old enough to qualify.
Many of the superintendents “have great plans ready to go as soon as the vaccine is available,” said Matt Cardoza, an administrator with the Georgia Department of Education, which is led by Woods. The idea is to critique and improve those plans so they can serve as models for the rest of Georgia’s 180 school districts, he said.
The task force represents a cross-section of districts — large and small, urban and rural and distributed around the state. The list of 13 superintendents includes Lisa Herring from Atlanta Public Schools, Grant Rivera from Marietta, Brian Hightower of Cherokee County, Mary Elizabeth Davis of Henry County and Trent North of Douglas County.
Many of Georgia’s 180 school systems are developing their own approaches from the ground up and could benefit from state-recommended templates they merely need to tweak, said Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, the superintendent of the Early County School System in southwest Georgia and one of the superintendents who will serve on the panel.
“I do think it’s a good idea,” said Ragan-Martin, the president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association. “Everybody’s doing something different. At least this gives us a starting point.”
Teacher advocates were encouraged by the development, as pressure builds within their ranks to begin vaccinations.
“We need to be ready to go,” said Margaret Ciccarelli, an official with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, said teachers are anxious. “We are obviously concerned about the supply of the vaccines and the fact that the timeline seems to be pushed out for when educators will be able to receive the vaccine,” she said.
The following superintendents have been invited to participate in the working group:
- Dr. Scarlett Copeland, Appling County Schools
- Dr. Lisa Herring, Atlanta Public Schools
- Dr. Noris Price, Baldwin County Schools
- Dr. Curtis Jones, Bibb County Schools
- Dr. Michele Taylor, Calhoun City Schools
- Dr. Kristie Brooks, Chattahoochee County Schools
- Dr. Brian Hightower, Cherokee County Schools
- Mr. Kenneth Dyer, Dougherty County Schools
- Mr. Trent North, Douglas County Schools
- Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, Early County Schools
- Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis, Henry County Schools
- Dr. Rob Brown, Lumpkin County Schools
- Dr. Grant Rivera, Marietta City Schools
Source: Georgia Department of Education