Governor Announces Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy Board

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the creation of the board for the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University, an education and training center for developing literacy skills. The nine-member board will oversee the center, working to enhance the state’s ability to train educators and improve early childhood education. Deal announced this initiative in January 2017 as part of the Amended Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

“Early language development and literacy are vitally important to ensuring successful educational opportunities for Georgia’s youngest learners,” said Deal. “The Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy in Milledgeville will work tirelessly to make sure our children and educators are equipped with the right tools and instruction to succeed. I am pleased that AFY 2017 budget allocated funds to bring this center’s vision to fruition and I look forward to working with the center and its governing board as they begin this great work.”

The board is comprised of leaders representing the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Georgia Public Library Service, GCSU, the Georgia Board of Education, providers of primary health care and education advocacy organizations across the state.
Board members were selected based on background and experience in advocating for early childhood care and education across the state. $2.4 million was allocated in the AFY 2017 budget to create the Milledgeville center with an additional $2.7 million proposed for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

Matt Arthur, Technical College System of Georgia
Arthur is the deputy commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia. He was previously the director of education reform for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. During his career, Arthur has worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, career and technical education director and secondary principal. He was also the superintendent of the Rabun County School System for 13 years. Arthur has held leadership roles with the Georgia School Superintendents Association, the Governor’s Education Reform Commission and the Regional Educational Service Agency. He sits on the board of the Education Workers’ Compensation Trust and represents Georgia on the Southern Regional Education Board. Arthur is a graduate of the University of Georgia and played on the 1980 National Championship football team.

Keisha R. Callins, M.D., Mercer University School of Medicine
Callins is an assistant professor and the chair of Community Medicine at the Mercer University School of Medicine. She previously worked as a women's health expert and public health professional at the Mirian Worthy Women's Health Center and served as assistant medical director for Albany Area Primary Health Care. Callins is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and sits on the Georgia Composite Medical Board. She has served on appointed committees with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Albany Area Primary Health Care. Callins earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine. She completed her graduate medical training at the MSM OB/GYN Residency Program at Grady Memorial Hospital, where she served as chief resident.

Wendy Cornelisen, the Georgia Public Library Service
Cornelisen is the assistant state librarian for library innovation and collaboration with the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. She has more than 15 years of experience working in and with public libraries. Cornelisen holds leadership roles in the Georgia Library Association and is a past president of the Tennessee Library Association. She earned a bachelor's degree from Iowa State University and a master's degree in Information Science from the University of Tennessee.

Amy M. Jacobs, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Jacobs is the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. As commissioner, she oversees an annual budget of $750 million for programs benefiting children and families including child care licensing, nutrition and early childhood education, specifically Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Jacobs previously served as a senior policy adviser for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. She is a member of the Georgia’s Children’s Cabinet, the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel and the Alliance of Education Agency Heads. She sits on the board of directors for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

Lucky Jain, M.D., Emory Children’s Center
Jain is the president and CEO of the Emory Children’s Center and the Richard W. Blumberg Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. He is the chief academic officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and a senior investigator at the Center for Cell and Molecular Signaling. Jain also holds a joint appointment as a professor in the Emory Department of Physiology. He is an elected member of the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society. Jain is also a fellow of the Woodruff Leadership Academy and has received numerous teaching awards, including the Ross Educator of the Year award from the Southern Society for Pediatric Research and the Most Distinguished Physician of the Year award from the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin. He is a graduate of Sawai ManSingh Medical College Jaipur and trained in neonatology in Chicago.

Lisa Kinnemore, Georgia Board of Education
Kinnemore represents the 4th Congressional District on the Georgia Board of Education. She also sits on the advisory board of Thrive Youth Development, Inc., and sat on the board of Northeast Independent Preparatory Academy for five years. Kinnemore earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University.

Joe Peters, Ph.D., Georgia College and State University
Peters is the dean of education at Georgia College and State University. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves. Peters has taught grades K-8, high school science and at both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of West Florida. He was previously an executive director representative to the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, a North American representative to the International Council of Associations for Science Education and executive director of the Association for Science Teacher Education. He is a member of the Macon Toastmasters and the Milledgeville Rotary Club. Peters earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Mercyhurst College, master’s degrees in Natural Sciences and Environmental Education from Gannon University and a doctoral degree in Science Education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Martha Ann Todd, Governor’s Office of Student Achievement
Todd is the executive director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. She was previously an assistant superintendent for Meriwether County Schools and an associate superintendent of teacher and leader effectiveness with the Georgia Department of Education. Todd has more than 37 years of experience in public and private education working with students grades K-12 as a classroom teacher and has held a range of leadership roles at the school, district and state level. She is the chair of the Georgia Alliance of Education Agency Heads and a member of the Georgia Children’s Cabinet. Todd is a graduate of Emory University, Columbus State University and Georgia College and State University.

Arianne Weldon, Get Georgia Reading Campaign
Weldon is the director of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, a collaboration of more than 100 public and private partners working to ensure that all children in Georgia become proficient readers by the end of third grade. She was previously the Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Administrator for the Georgia Department of Public Health and the director of State Partnership Strategies for Georgia Family Connection Partnership. Weldon earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University.