Some Details

Home Page Photo Caption:  We... Impact Policy:  This photo is from the Partnership's November Critical Issues Forum that featured a look at "Workforce Development: Why is STEM important." 

Next Forum:  Save the Date: Tuesday, April 28, 9:30 - 11:45 a.m.  The first Forum of the year will focus on "The Economic Power of Early Care and Education" and will be held at East Lake Family YMCA and Drew Charter School.  Check the calendar listing for more details. Registration is now open.

Last Forum:  The third and final Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education's Critical Issues Forum for 2014 was held November 12 at the Gwinnett School of Science, Mathematics and Technology.  Topic:  "Workforce Development: Why STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is Important." Here is the video of this Forum.  Congratulations to the staff and students at GSSMT, named Georgia's #1 high school!  Here's an updated story.

This Forum provided the chance for a deep-dive discussion about how STEM affects our children/our future workforce - the technological age in which they live, their best career options, and their key to wise decisions.  An exciting tour of classrooms was conducted.

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST) was named #1 in Georgia, #11 in the South Region, and #17 in the U.S. by the Washington Post High School Challenge.  For more on the school: GSMST's "Infinite Possibilities" video

Second 2014 Forum: August 19

The August 19 Forum featured a debate between the Democrat and Republican candidates for state superintendent of schools.  Here is the video report.

First 2014 Forum:  April 17

A large crowd gathered to get the details on "Georgia's Sea Change Leading to Effective Teachers."  Here is the video report. 

November 12, 2013 Forum Looked At Common Core

This was another successful Forum.  It was well attended with an engaged audience.  Participants heard Mr. Michael Petrilli, executive vice president Thomas B. Fordham Institute give a national perspective on the need for the new standards and then heard from a distinguished panel who looked at the standards from several perspectives.   Check the video.

May 14, 2013 Spotlight on the Importance of Data

Georgia Public Broadcasting.  Topic:  "Data Driven Decisions - Dynamic and Daunting." Here is the videotape of the session. 

Here are two relating "Data Driven Decisions" videos:

Data is Power (2 1/2 minutes long)

Bringing Data to the Classroom (7 minutes long) - Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer, GA DOE

Last 2012 Forum Held November 13

Here are Kristin Bernhard's PowerPoint Slides used in the November 13 Critical Issues Forum.

Here is the full video report.

This Forum focused on "From Policy to Plan to Practice: Building a Strong Education Pipeline."

Kristin Berhard, Gov. Nathan Deal's education advisor, outlined the state's plan related to third grade reading, college completion, preparing effective teachers and school leaders, increasing STEM competencies, and providing school options for increased flexibility to improve student achievement.

A panel discussion followed featuring Dr. Emily Lembeck, Superintendent Marietta City Schools;  Mindy Palmer, Reading Instruction Mentor, Governor's Office of Student Achievement; Chandra Young, Principal, Simonton Elementary School; Kami Luigs, Program Manager, GE Foundation Education Grant, GE; and Dan Smith, Vice President for Instructional Effectiveness, Athens Tech. An audience Q/A concluded the Forum.

The next Critical Issues Forum is now scheduled for May 14, 10 a.m. - noon.  Details will be posted as soon as they are available.  They are presented three times a year.  Questions may be directed to Communications Director Bill Maddox.

Previous Forum (August)

The last meeting was held August 16, at the Carter Center, Atlanta.  This Forum featured Associate Dean Dr. Jason B. Huett, University of West Georgia, in a presentation on the future of education and was followed by an observance of the Partnership's 20 years of service.  It was both informative and fun!!! Here is the video of the Forum.  Here is a separate video of the 20th anniversary celebration that followed the Forum.

Other Forums

May 1

Georgia Pacific - Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Workforce - A video report will be posted soon.

November 15 (2011)

Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center


"The Imperative for Business Engagement" featuring the Honorable Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education and current President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Forum for Policy Innovation - Details

Videotape report

After Ms. Spelling's presentation, she is joined on stage for a panel discussion.  Participating left to right:  Margaret Spellings; Bobby Cagle, Commissioner, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning; Kay Pippin, President, Henry County Chamber of Commerce; Hunter Pierson, Associate, Goldman Sachs; and moderator Amir Farokhi, Executive Director, Georgia Forward.


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Critical Issues Forums

A large crowd gathered November 12 at the Georgia School for Mathematics, Science and Technology to hear a discussion on “Workforce Development: Why STEM Is Important.”

The Partnership conducts periodic forums that offer interesting discussion on topical education subjects. The last Forum was conducted November 12.  Here is the video report.

August 19 Forum Puts Spotlight on State School Superintendent Candidates

More than 130 people gathered to hear candidates Valarie Wilson (D) and Richard Woods (R) debate.  This was their first meeting since winning their parties' nominations during the run-off election July 19.  Here is the video report.

Here are media reports: 

Henry Herald/Clayton Daily:  Candidates seeking Georgia’s top education post debate critical issues

WABE-Radio:  State superintendent candidates debate Issues

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber protected):  Delay new test, says Republican school chief candidate

Associated Press: Candidates for Ga. schools superintendent debate standards

April 17 Forum Looks at "Georgia's Sea Change Leading to Effective Teachers"
This first of three 2014 Critical Issues Forums took a close look at Georgia's new teacher evaluation system.  A video report will be posted here soon.

Here are media reports:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Maureen Downey: Georgia sets out to build a better teacher

Georgia Public Broadcasting, Jeanne Bonner:  Georgia's New Teacher Evaluation System Seen As 'Sea Change'

November 12, 2013 Forum Takes Look at Common Core
The latest Forum was well attended and provided a unique look at the Common Core from a variety of perspectives. It was held at Georgia Pacific headquarters in downtown Atlanta.

Participants included Mr. Mike Petrilli, Executive VP and President-elect of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  He opened the session with his presentation The Case for the Common Core

A panel discussion facilitated by the Georgia Partnership's Policy and Research Director Dr. Dana Rickman followed.  Joining Dana and Mike on the panel were Georgia's 2014 Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes; COL Patricia Ross, Vice Commander, 78th Air Base Wing Commander; and Robyn Oatley, representing the organization Ready Kentucky.

Here is the videotape of the Forum.

There was media coverage:  Morris News Service - Common Core debate set to continue in Georgia. Georgia Public Broadcasting - Where's the Common Ground in Common Core.  WABE Radio - Forum Addresses Common Core Concerns.

The previous Forum (May 14), "Data Driven Decisions - Dynamic and Daunting," brought national, state and local experts together to discuss how proper data gathering and use can increase education outcomes.  Key speakers included Paige Kowalksi, Data Quality Campaign Director of State Policy (Washington, D.C.); Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer with GA DOE; and Mary Anne Charron, Chief Program Officer, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement.  A panel discussion including data users followed.  An audience question and answer period ended the Forum. 

Georgia Public Policy Foundation editor Mike Klein filed this story, “Data Is An Onion … You Have to Peel Back the Onion.”

The final 2012 Forum (November 13), focused on "From Policy to Plan to Practices: Building a Strong Education Pipeline" and featured Kristin Bernhard, Education Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Nathan Deal.  A panel discussion followed with audience querstion and answer period (see above photo).  A video report is available on the left side of this page.

The second Forum of 2012 was conducted Thursday, August 16 at the Carter Center: "The Future of Education: From Evolution to Revolution," Jason Huett, Associate Dean of Online Development and USG eCore, University of West Georgia.  A video report has been posted on the left side of this page.

The first 2012 Forum was held, Tuesday, May 1. "Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Workforce."  Here is the video report. 

Here is a news story about the event:  Atlanta Business Chronicle - Georgia leader in new education reforms.

State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge briefed the audience on the new College and Career Ready Performance Index.  He was followed by State Farm Mutual President and CEO Ed Rust who talked about how we must be preparing tomorrow's workforce by using the best tools and processes available.  Mr. Rust also serves as the co-chair for the national Business Coalition for Student Achievement.

A panel discussion followed.  Joining Mr. Rust were Dr. Martha Reichrath, deputy state superintendent, Mr. Paul Bowers, president and CEO Georgia Power and the Georgia Partnership's Chair; and Mr. Steve Smith, associate superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools.  Mr. Art Hopkins, president and CEO of Macquarium Intelligent Communications, served as moderator.

November 15, 2011 Meeting

Videotape report

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, now Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President of the U.S. Forum for Policy Innovation, addressed the audience on the role of business in education.  She later participated in a compelling panel discussion.  For details on Ms. Spelling's latest work, see: "Partnership Is a Two-Way Street: What It Takes for Business to Help Drive School Reform."

The panel was moderated by Mr. Amir Farokhi, executive Director of Georgia Forward.

Other panelists seated next to Ms. Spellings as they appear on the videotape left to right:

Bobby Cagle - Commissioner, Briight from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Kay Pippin, President, Henry County Chamber of Commerce (Ms. Pippin referenced the Chamber's and Henry County School System's action plan for education and workforce development (scroll to the bottom of the page for the "E2: Economics and Education Task Force Report" and video.)

Hunter Pierson, Associate, Goldman Sachs

Mr. Farokhi

This meeting focused on the importance of the middle grades.  The Partnership released its latest report "Commonalities of Georgia's Successful Middle Schools" and honored 12 achieving schools featured in the report. 

Here is the video coverage of the Forum.

This is the slide show of the participating schools that was shown at the Forum. It features scenes from many of the schools in the "Commonalities of Georgia's Successful Middle Schools" report.

Executive Summary
Full Report

Congratulations to the 12 Achieving Middle Schools!
Alton C. Crews, Gwinnett County
Forest Park and Morrow, Clayton County
Fulton Science Academy, Fulton County
Lindley, Cobb County
Loganville, Walton County
Lumpkin County
Rising Starr, Fayette County
Risley Early College Academy, Glynn County
Riverwatch, Forsyth County; Union County
Union County
Washington-Wilkes, Wilkes County

Next Meeting

See the left side of the page.  Our next Forum will be presented November 15, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Previous Meetings

Last Meeting - April 19 - Subject: Bold Moves Needed for Post-Secondary Education... From College Access to Completion.

More than 140 participants were in attendance at the Loudermilk Center for the Partnership's first Forum of the year.  Thanks to all for attending.

Guest speaker: Will Pinkston, Sync Strategies -

Moderator - David Spence, Southern Regional Education Board
Dean Alford - State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia
Chris Clark - Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Sam King - Rockdale County Schools
Lynne Weisenbach - Board of Regents of the University of Georgia

Here's the video report of the April 19 meeting.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Columnist Maureen Downey's Report: 'Learning Curve' weekly column - The Finishing Line

Previous - August 11, 2010 - Subject:  The three candidates for state superintendent of schools met and answered questions fielded by a three-person panel as well as audience members.

View Videotape Report;  Read Partnership Report; Read AJC Coverage

April 13 - Subject:  The Federal Role in School Improvement: Raising Expectations and Improving Results.  Keynote speaker:  Mr. Massie Ritsch, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach.  Other speakers: Ms. Erin Hames, Gov. Sonny Perdue's education advisor, and Ms. Ann Cramer, Georgia Partnership Board Chair and IBM executive.

Click here for Mr. Ritsch's PowerPoint presentation
Click here for a synopsis of the Forum 
Click here for the videotape report (1 hour 50 minutes long)

Futurist Gary Marx addressed the audience at one of the Georgia Partnership's earlier Forums.  His ability to see ahead challenged attendees to join him in such a thought process.  Here is a recent article from Marx that addresses education issues:  Five in '10: Five Make-or-Break Challenges for a New Decade.

2008-09 Meeting Reports

November 12 - (Video of the meeting available below) The annual Policy Panel was the featured presentation of this quarterly meeting.  Before the panel took the stage to take an inside look at a variety of issues, Patricia Paterson, Principal Administrator, College Access Initiative, Board of Regents/University System of Georgia, gave a short presentation on Georgia's plan to raise post-secondary enrollment rates and to return students to the classroom who left without earning a degree.  Paterson unveiled two new video public service announcements encouraging students to think college.

The Policy Panel followed and was moderated by Atlanta Journal-Constitution Editorial Editor Andre Jackson.  Jackson was joined by Andrew Broy, Associate Superintendent, Policy and Charter Schools, Georgia Department of Education; Sally FitzGerald, League of Women Voters of Georgia; Cindy Loe, Superintendent, Fulton County School System; Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation; and Danny Shoy, Jr., Senior Program Officer, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

The panelists offered candid insights into a number of issues then took questions from the audience. 

May 5  - Thanks to Georgia Public Broadcasting, this Quarterly meeting is available here for review.

A large crowd at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center in Atlanta heard featured speaker Martin J. Blank, President, Institute for Educational Leadership and Director, Coalition for Community Schools.  Here is Mr. Blank's PowerPoint presentation: "Building Strong Communities With Strong Schools." During the presentation, Mr. Blank referred to a recent interview with the new U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussing the topic.   Click here.

Following this presentation, a panel discussion focused on two community school models in Georgia, Troup County and the East Lake Community in Atlanta.  Panelists from the Troup program included superintendent of schools Ed Smith and Renae Willis, senior vice president, Commercial Bank and Trust.  Representing the East Lake program were Carol Naughton, VP for Communities, New Community Ventures, LLC, and Cynthia Kuhlman, director, Educational Achievement, CF Foundation, Inc.  Mr. Blank also participated.  The panel and subsequent question and answer session was moderated by Georgia Partnership board member, Ruben McDaniel, President and CEO, Jackson Securities, LLC.

February 10 - The meeting held at the Conference Center at DeKalb Technical College,was presented by the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement and featured "Evidence of Impact: Seeing Bottom Line Results."  Partnership Board Chairman Robert Brown opened the meeting and was followed by President Steve Dolinger who reported on the organization's operations since the last meeting.

Deb Page, Senior Executive Director of GLISI, then presented a review of the organization before turning the presentation over to Dr. Wendy Ruona, University of Georgia, who explained "Success Case Methodolgy."  Here is their PowerPoint presentation.

Three school systems who have enjoyed success after partcipating in GLISI programs reported on their experiences:

Dade County Schools - Ms. Patty Priest, superintendent - "Dade County's Definition of Leadership."

Hancock County Schools - Dr. Awanna Leslie, superintendent - "Hancock County's Team-based Improvement of Student Achievement."

Jones County Schools - Dr. Jim LeBrun, superintendent - "Implementing GLISI Initiatives to Increase the Graduation Rate in the Jones County School System."

The Georgia Partnership and GLISI would like to thank Georgia Public Broadcasting for their production assistance.

November 11, 2008 - This was the Partnership's annual Policymakers Panel. 

Panelists featured members of the "Gold Dome Gang,"  representatives from education organizations who daily monitor the actions of the state legislature. Stuart Bennett (Ga. Assn. of Educational Leaders - GAEL), Margaret Ciccarelli (Professional Assn. of Georgia Educators- PAGE), Heather Miner (Ga. Assn. of Educators - GAE), Sally Fitzgerald (League of Women Voters and the Georgia PTA), Herb Garrett (Ga. School Superintendents Assn.), Angela Palm (Ga. School Boards Assn.) and Skip Yow (Metro Regional Educational Service Agency - RESA) presented their candid views on subjects ranging from funding and school choice to vouchers and teacher quality.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Sylvia Anderson, president AT&T Georgia, presented Partnership Chairman Robert L. Brown, Jr. and President Steve Dolinger with a contribution of $20,000.  Ms. Anderson lauded the Partnership for its work and pledged AT&T's continuing commitment to public education in Georgia.

A special Veterans' Day salute opened the Board meeting.  Members of the Tri-Cities High School Army JROTC unit presented the colors while fellow classmate Galen Williams beautifully sang the National Anthem.

August 19, 2008 -  The largest audience to attend a Partnership Board meeting, more than 160 people, attended the meeting held at the Georgia Pacific headquarters in downtown Atlanta.  After the short business meeting session, the program - "TENDING TO OUR FUTURE:  The Status of Georgia's Children" - began.

A panel discussion and question and answer period featuring several presenters as well as Mary Mazarky, Assistant Commissioner, Bright from the Start, ended the meeting.

Speakers representing four organizations focused on children's issues, discussed recent reports and initiatives they have been involved in.  Here are their PowerPoint presentations:

Dr. Bentley Ponder, Evaluation Specialist, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. PowerPoint:  Highlights from the Study of the Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Georgia.

Andrea Young, Senior Program Officer, Southern Education Foundation. PowerPoint:  Special Report:  Time to Lead Again - The Promise of Georgia Pre-K.

Pat Willis, Executive Director, Voices for Georgia's Children.  PowerPoint:  Improving Child Well Being for Ages 0 to 5.

Taifa Butler, Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Georgia Family Connection Partnership. PowerPoint:  State of Georgia's Children and Families.

May 6, 2008  -  The Loudermilk Center in downtown Atlanta was the site for the spring quarterly meeting.  More than 100 board members and education stakeholders attended the session that not only covered Partnership Board business but offered a thorough presentation on achievement gap issues.  Ms. Daria Hall, assistant policy analyst, The Education Trust, provided the informative briefing which challenged attendees to adopt an attitude subscribed to by schools that are achieving in spite of the odds they face:  focus on can, not on can't; set high expectations for every student; and leave nothing to chance.

February 12, 2008  -  The meeting was held at Georgia Public Broadcasting and focused on Early Care and Learning issues.  The event featured presentations by two nationally prominent educators - Greg Duncan, Professor, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern Univ. and Sara Watson, Senior Officer, State Policy Initiatives Div., The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Partnership for America's Economic Success.