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The current Georgia Partnership team is comprised of seven full-time members. The small crew counts on each other to accomplish a myriad of tasks. In every sense of the word, the Georgia Partnership is a team.

Stephen D. Dolinger, Ed.D

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, 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 in Georgia Trend magazine's "100 Most Influential Georgians" list and the Atlanta Business Chronicle's "Education Who’s Who: A Guide to the Top 100 Leaders Educating the Future of Metro Atlanta."

Diane Hopkins, CAE
Executive 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.

Dana Rickman, PhD
Vice President

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.

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.

Elisa Olivarez Adelman
Director of Operations and Finance

Elisa joined the Partnership as its Director of Operations and Finance in 2018. She previously served as the Program Manager for the Partnership's REACHES initiative, which focused on improving the academic success of Latino students in select Georgia school districts.  She rejoins the organization after serving as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Teach for America - Massachusetts. Elisa holds an M.P.A from the University of Georgia and a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from the University of Texas (Austin)

Robert W. Gaines II, PhD
Director of Communications

Robert joined the Partnership staff in 2018. His background is in teaching and research. Rooted in his experiences as an English composition instructor, his research interests include college readiness, education history, and the intersection of religion and education policy. Robert holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English from Penn State University, and a B.A. in English Literature from Morehouse College.

Merrill Wilcox
Strategic Partnership 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.

Tom Upchurch
President Emeritus

Tom served as the organization's second president, assuming duties in 1994. He came to the Georgia Partnership after a distinguished career as superintendent of the Carroll County School System. His astute leadership combined with his extensive knowledge of Georgia's public education system helped solidify the Georgia Partnership as a key-player in education policy decisions. He retired in 2002 but has continued to serve the organization in a variety of capacities. We are grateful for his many contributions that have helped make the Georgia Partnership what it is today.