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Posted: August 2, 2012 5:50 p.m.

GPTC approves new president

Dr. Jabari Simama, the chief of staff for DeKalb County's CEO, was approved today by the state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia, affirming TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson's choice.

Simama's appointment is effective on Sept. 1. He fills the vacancy left after the retirement of Dr. Robin Hoffman in July 2011.

GPTC, which last year enrolled 8,061 students, is the 11th-largest institution among the 25 TCSG colleges. It serves DeKalb, Morgan, Newton and Rockdale counties with a main campus in Clarkston, another campus in Covington, five local centers, and the Rockdale Career Academy. The college recently changed its name from DeKalb Technical College to better reflect the wide area that it serves.

Simama has been the chief of staff for DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis since 2010. He is the chief policy advisor and senior officer in the executive office that serves 740,000 county residents and manages a $1.5 billion budget and 7,000 employees. He was the county's deputy chief operating officer of development from 2009 to 2010.

Simama was the vice president for community development and external relations at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he was the executive director of community technology for the city of Atlanta from 2000 to 2005. He served as the city of Atlanta's chief of the office of marketing and communications from 1998 to 2000.

His career in higher education includes teaching positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, University of Cincinnati, and Atlanta Junior College (now Atlanta Metropolitan College).

Simama held elected office as a member of the Atlanta City Council from 1987 to 1993. He also served as an appointed member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, which provided financial oversight for the Atlanta Olympic Games Committee's $2 billion budget.

Jackson said that he was impressed with Simama's experience, knowledge of the community, and vision for the college. "Dr. Simama has a strong background in management that crosses a broad spectrum of executive roles in higher education, government administration, and the private sector. His diverse experience, coupled with his deep ties to the local community and a strong passion for higher education, will enhance Georgia Piedmont Technical College's mission to deliver a highly-skilled workforce for the region's businesses and industries," said Jackson.

Simama has a Ph.D. in American studies from Emory University. He earned his master's from Atlanta (now Clark Atlanta) University and his bachelor's from the University of Bridgeport.

Jackson also stated his appreciation for the work of the GPTC Executive Vice President Larry Teems, who has been the college's acting president for the last 12 months.

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