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Local educators named to advisory board
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Two people from the Newton County School System have been handpicked to join Governor Nathan Deal’s Education Advisory Boards.

Eastside High School Principal Jeff Cher and Eastside High School teacher Ashley Rickard will join 54 other school superintendents, principals, teachers and local school board members to form the four Education Advisory Boards.
“I am honored and appreciative of the opportunity to serve on the Education Advisory Board,” said Cher. “With the many challenges facing public education in Georgia, I am thankful that the governor is soliciting the feedback of educators and administrators. Hopefully we can engage in meaningful discussions to provide the best learning environments and opportunities for students throughout the state.”

Rickard expressed similar excitement about being able to effect change at the state level.

“I'm truly honored to have been chosen by Governor Deal to represent Newton County Schools, as well as the rest of our congressional district, on his Education Advisory Board,” said Rickard. “In Newton County, we teach our students that every voice matters, so I look forward to the opportunity to use my voice to provide authentic input about education policy issues in Georgia.”

One school board member from the Rockdale County Public Schools was also appointed to one of the boards. Katrina Young, who’s been a member of Rockdale County School Board since 2007, is looking forward to using her knowledge of the education system to help affect the future of Georgia students.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Board. My longtime experience on the Rockdale County Board of Education and serving as the GSBA District 4 representative has given me an in-depth knowledge of public education,” said Young. “I look forward to engaging in discussions with others who share my passion for education and for the young people who will lead and shape our future.”

The boards will meet with the Deal and his staff over the next year to provide input on education policy issues facing the state. Deal’s office announced the members in a Monday press release.

“Throughout my term, the members of these advisory boards have provided invaluable feedback on policy issues including improving the percentage of Georgia's students reading on grade level by the third grade and encouraging innovation in STEM education,” Deal said in a press release. “By listening to those on the frontlines, we can make better policy decisions for our educators and students. I’m grateful to these highly regarded professionals who are giving of their time and talents. Our children are our greatest resource, and I look forward to discussing how we can continue to improve educational outcomes for all.”


Board members are as follows:


Howard Mann, Glynn County Schools

Daryl Fineran, Peach County Schools

Dr. Marguerite Shook, Thomaston-Upson County Schools

Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County Schools

Dr. Phyllis Edwards, Decatur City Schools

Chris Ragsdale, Cobb County Schools

Dr. Jeffrey Bearden, Forsyth County Schools

Dr. Melinda Dennis, Dodge County Schools

Dr. April Howard, Jackson County Schools

Carole Jean Carey, Warren County Schools

Dr. Howard Hinesley, Cartersville City Schools

Dr. Morris Leis, Coffee County Schools

Dr. Joseph Barrow, Jr., Fayette County Schools

Dr. Michele Taylor, Calhoun City Schools


John Chancey, Wacona Elementary, Ware County Schools

Glenn Tidwell, Marion County Middle/High School, Marion County Schools

Dr. Carol R. Thomas, Centralhatchee Elementary School, Heard County Schools

Jeff Cher, Eastside High School, Newton County Schools

Noel Maloof, Decatur High School, Decatur City Schools

Dr. Carole Brink, Dickerson Middle School, Cobb County Schools

Kerensa Wing, Collins Hill High School, Gwinnett County Schools

Dr. Douglas Rizer, Houston County High School, Houston County Schools

Lori Chastain, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County Schools

Barry Lollis, Putnam County High School, Putnam County Schools

Dr. Jennifer Scrivner, Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy, Cherokee County Schools

Dr. Ronda Hightower, Wheeler County Elementary School, Wheeler County Schools

Dr. Jolene Morris, Chapel Hill Middle School, Douglas County Schools

Ronnie Bradford, Heritage High School, Catoosa County Schools


Teresa Caldwell, Carver Elementary School, Bryan County

Mary Jean Albritton, Ed.S., Seminole County Middle High School, Seminole County Schools

Debbie Fannin, Inman Elementary, Fayette County Schools

Ashley Rickard, Eastside High School, Newton County Schools

Jennifer Freeman, KIPP STRIVE Academy, Fulton County Schools

Andrew Trowers, East Cobb Middle School, Cobb County Schools

Dr. Tim Mullen, Bay Creek Middle School, Gwinnett County Schools

Beth Davis, Retired, Springdale Elementary, Bibb County Schools

Dr. Martha Cantrell, Habersham Central High School, Habersham County Schools

Elizabeth Proctor, Jasper County High School, Jasper County Schools

Kari Carter, Hamilton Crossing Elementary, Bartow County Schools

Nicole Peeples, Screven County Middle School, Screven County Schools

Courtney Saxon, South Douglas Elementary, Douglas County Schools

Becky Hulsey, Sonoraville Middle School, Gordon County Schools

School board members:

Jane Brown, Camden County Board of Education

Brad Cody, Crawford County Board of Education

Debbie Burdette, Troup County Board of Education

Katrina Young, Rockdale County Board of Education

Charlton Bivins, Clayton County Board of Education

Linda McCain, Fulton County Board of Education

Dr. Mary Kay Murphy, Vice-Chair, Gwinnett County Board of Education

Gary Smith, Chair, Ben Hill County Board of Education

Gary Davenport, Union County Board of Education

John Jackson, Chair, Balwin County Board of Education

Randy Scamihorn, Cobb County Board of Education

Danny Bennett, Jenkins County Board of Education

Josh Hinton, Henry County Board of Education

Louis Fordham, Chair, Whitfield County Board of Education