Staff

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Staff

Stephen D. Dolinger, Ed.D
President

Joined the Partnership in 2002 as its third president.  Served as the Superintendent of Schools for Fulton County for seven years prior to joining the Partnership.  He served in the Fairfax County, VA school system for 26 years before accepting the Fulton position.  He has an Ed.D. from Vanderbilt University, an M.Ed. from George Mason University, and B.B.A. from Wake Forest University.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations including: the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Voices for Georgia's Children, and the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement. In addition, he has served on the Education and Health Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and has been recognized on Georgia Trend magazine's "100 Most Influential Georgians" 2013 list.

Diane Hopkins, CAE
Vice President

Joined the Partnership in 1992.  She has 30-plus years experience in non-profit management. Prior to her Partnership service, she held positions with the Industrial Development Research Foundation and the Business Council of Georgia.  She became a Certified Association Executive (CAE) in 1999.  She has served as a board member of the Georgia Society of Association Executives; a member of the American Society of Association Executives; a member of the Education and Workforce Development Committee of the Georgia Economic Developers Association; and  a member of College Access Challenge Grant State Team.  She holds a B.S. degree from the University of North Alabama and a Masters degree from the University of Alabama.

Matt Cardoza
Communications Director

Joined the Georgia Partnership in 2017 after serving 12 years as the Chief Communications Officer with the Georgia Department of Education.  He has 17 years of communications experience, all serving public education, as he was the Director of Public Relations for Rockdale County Public Schools prior to joining the state department of education.  He holds a B.S. degree in Public Administration and a Master's in Public Administration, both from Georgia College & State University.  He also serves on the board of the Georgia School Public Relations Association.

Alice Ford
Administrative Assistant

Joined the Partnership in 1998.  She has 15-years administrative experience and has particular expertise in scheduling and travel planning and conference, meetings and other large event coordination. She earned an Associates Degree in Business Management from Georgia State University.

Caitlin Daugherty Kokenes, MSPP
Project Associate

Joined the Partnership in April 2016 after serving as a Policy Analyst for the Southern Regional Education Board. She has worked in the past as a tutor, instructor, teacher, and program director. She holds a Master of Science in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Hispanic Studies from Auburn University as well as a BA in Political Science and Spanish from Auburn University. Caitlin serves as a mentor to undergraduate public policy students through Georgia Tech’s Alumni Association.

Dana Rickman, PhD
Policy and Research Director

Joined the Partnership in July 2011 after serving as the Director of Research and Policy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation -  Atlanta Civic Site.  She has also worked for more than 10 years at Georgia State University conducting research on education programs within Georgia.  She holds a PhD from Georgia State University in Political Science and a BA from Mary Washington College. She has authored multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters related to education policy and is the primary author of the Georgia Partnership's annual Top Ten Issues to Watch report.

Merrill Wilcox
Strategic Relationships Coordinator

Merrill joined the team in June 2017.  She has worked domestically and abroad in youth, community, and economic development programs including Peace Corps service in Madagascar, a practicum in the Dominican Republic, and AmeriCorps service in rural North Carolina.  She came to the Partnership from Great Promise Partnership, an educational and workforce development program working across Georgia.  Merrill has also served as the Chair of the Education and Schooling subcommittee of Gov. Deal's Reentry Task Force for the Department of Juvenile Justice.  She holds a Bachelor's of Interdisciplinary Studies in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University, and an MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.