More appointments made to Georgia for-profit college agency board

Gov. Nathan Deal on Friday appointed three new board members to the agency responsible for regulating Georgia’s private and for-private colleges, less than a week after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found several deficiencies in the agency’s oversight.

Trey Childress, Holly Kirbo and Ryan Worsley were named to the board of the state Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, which is responsible for regulating more than 300 institutions. Childress is a partner of Perdue Partners LLC and was previously chief operating officer for Deal and Sonny Perdue when he was governor. Kirbo, an attorney, is a former associate general counsel for Flowers Foods Inc.; Worsley, also an attorney, is the executive administrator and general counsel for Cornerstone Church in Athens.

The appointments to the 14-member NPEC board — which had several long-term vacant seats before the AJC’s investigation — follow three other appointments recently made to the board. Deal made those appointments and reappointed two members to the board days before the AJC report was published. The AJC found that the existing board members were serving on expired terms. Aside from the two reappointments, Deal plans to refill the board with new members, his spokesman, Brian Robinson, told the AJC on Friday.

The AJC report on the NPEC found that the commission had a history of lax oversight and was understaffed. The loose controls had allowed some institutions to operate in Georgia that had been booted out, were under investigation or labeled diploma mills in other states.

Deal and other state lawmakers have said they plan to review the agency’s staffing and budget to improve its regulation.

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