June 19, 2019, Atlanta - Lauren Holcomb (seated far left) has been appointed executive director of the State Charter Schools Commission. She attended a petition hearing in June for a charter school proposal. TY TAGAMI/AJC

State agency that authorizes charter schools gets new leader

Georgia’s State Charter Schools Commission, the agency that gives statewide charter schools the authority to operate using taxpayer dollars, has appointed its spokeswoman as the new leader.

Lauren Holcomb becomes the agency’s second executive director after the resignation of Bonnie Holliday, who left earlier this year to take a policy and external relations job with the Georgia Charter Schools Association.

Holcomb, who was the agency’s communications chief, was selected in a competitive search process, according to a statement from the SCSC Thursday. She was an adviser to Gov. Sonny Perdue and the founding director of the Innovation Fund in the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

The SCSC was established in 2013 by a constitutional amendment in 2012. It has approved and monitored dozens of schools, including some that closed. The agency has a $4 million administrative budget but distributes tens of millions of other dollars to the 35 schools, serving 33,000 students, currently in its portfolio. It’s been undergoing changes lately, with two new commissioners appointed. Former senator and gubernatorial candidate Hunter Hill was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp and former state Rep. Buzz Brockway was appointed by House Speaker David Ralston.

Commission Chairman Tom Lewis and commissioners Carmen Dill and Jose Perez served on the search committee for executive director. (Perez himself was appointed to the Board of Regents Tuesday by Gov. Brian Kemp.)

Holcomb, a Georgia native with degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University, has managed outreach, research and support services for SCSC. “She brings a wealth of knowledge about charter schools and education policy in Georgia,” Lewis said in a prepared statement released by the agency.

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