Dr. Jabari Simama, the new president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College, arrived on campus for his official first day of work recently.
Simama began his new journey at GPTC by having a meeting with his executive cabinet and then a "meet and greet" with GPTC faculty and staff. Receptions were held at three of the school's nine locations - the DeKalb Campus in Clarkston, and the Newton Campus-Building A and Newton Campus-Building D in Covington.
The state board that oversees the Technical College System of Georgia approved Simama as the third president of the College on Aug. 2, at the recommendation of TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson.
His appointment was effective Sept. 1. Simama fills the vacancy left after the retirement of former president Dr. Robin Hoffman in July 2011. In his address to more than 150 employees, he thanked Larry Teems who has served as acting president for the past 13 months.
Prior to joining Georgia Piedmont, Simama was the chief of staff for DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis since 2010. He was 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 Tech, 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.
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.