25th Anniversary

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25 Years and Going Strong!

(The Georgia Partnership turned 25 in 2017, when this page was posted to honor that milestone.) It doesn’t seem like it has been five years since we gathered with supporters and friends of the Georgia Partnership at the Carter Center to honor and celebrate our 20th anniversary.  It was an exciting, fun day as we heard from many voices who were instrumental in founding this organization and who nurtured it every step on our journey.

Although we took a breath long enough to reflect on our impactful work, we knew there was much more to be done to keep Georgia’s public education system moving forward.  We felt then, as we do today, we had momentum.  The state had weathered some dark education days and was starting to see the fruits of our collective labor with rising graduation and post-secondary participation rates as well as many other indicators that, in fact, told us we were on the right track.

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education was formally born in February 1992. You don’t survive 25 years if you don’t produce results and we take great pride in knowing we have had a hand in seeing our public education system grow.

If you want to look back over the first 20 years, check our 20th Anniversary website.  You can also view a short video that tells our story.  Following are a few indicators from the last five years that prove our level of engagement has continued to rise.  To all those who have supported our work and joined us in the tireless pursuit of education excellence for each and every Georgia student in the PK-12 education pipeline, thank you!

There have been consistent threads running through the past five years.  The Top Ten Issues to Watch report, now in its 13th edition, seems to gain in popularity every year and is used across the state as a trusted resource.  The Media Symposium celebrated its 11th year in January and the Economics of Education book saw its fourth edition in 2013 and briefings are still in demand.

Read Georgia Senate Resolution 362 Honoring the Georgia Partnership.  Watch the presentation. 

The Critical Issues Forums continue to bring audiences together for inside looks at topical education issues.  The Education Policy Fellowship Program now on its eighth cohort, is building the state’s decision making capability by graduating Fellows who better understand the complexities of our education system and relating issues that impact that system.

These continuing programs certainly kept us busy but we seem to find time for more, much more. Here’s the latest The Power of the Georgia Partnership. Now for a look at key events/developments over our past five years.

Our 25th anniversary year and we aren’t slowing down! Already we have fielded the 13th edition of our Top Ten Issues to Watch report, briefed a joint Senate and House Education Committee meeting, held our 11th annual Media Symposium, and strengthened our Better Standards for a Better Georgia coalition.  But what’s ahead?  Look for a new Economics of Education publication, a blueprint for a prosperous Georgia public education system, a STEAM map, three exciting Critical Issues Forums, more EPFP grads and new Fellows, new Woodrow Wilson STEM teachers entering Georgia classrooms and more starting their quest.  And that’s just scratching the surface.

As I begin my tenure as the Board Chair for this organization, I am impressed by the relevance it has maintained since it opened its doors 25 years ago.  The work of the Georgia Partnership is noble, a tireless pursuit focused on ensuring every child in this state is afforded the best public education possible. We are also attuned to the entire education continuum from elementary to post-secondary education and ultimately workforce readiness. We are proud of our past but focused on the challenges ahead.  That has been and continues to be the standard of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

Milford McGuirt
Board Chair (2017 – )
Atlanta and MidSouth Area Managing Partner

The No Child Left Behind Act was finally replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Georgia Partnership joined the Department of Education and other organizations in publicly increasing awareness and explaining the new law.  The Better Standards for a Better Georgia Coalition, under the direction of the Partnership and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, helped that process by informing its members, which, in turn, facilitated DOE’s efforts in writing the Georgia ESSA plan.  We celebrated our 10th Media Symposium with one of our biggest gatherings of education reporters and editors in our history (35) and we devoted a Critical Issues to Forum to raising public awareness of the increasing importance of a child’s well-being as it relates to learning.

Prior to joining the Board of Directors, I felt I had a good understanding of education’s role in workforce development.  I discovered quickly I had much to learn as I marveled at the complexities of the system and the Georgia Partnership’s critical role in the continuous improvement process. As I closed out my tenure in 2016, I asked the question, ‘Are we continuing to make a difference?’ My answer… an emphatic, ‘Yes!’

Kevin Greiner
Board Chair (2015 – 2016)
President and CEO
Gas South

Our REACHES (Research, Engagement & Communities for Hispanic/Latino Educated Students) program formally ended its four-year Goizueta grant period with exciting results in the target school communities of Calhoun City and Tattnall County.   The Data Quality Campaign, a Washington D.C. based group dedicated to the proper use of data to ensure students excel, presented the Partnership with its Flashlight Award for its “outstanding work in promoting and protecting effective data use in the service of students.”

As we said goodbye to 2014, we couldn’t help but wonder how we would raise the bar again in the new year.  We did, but, as always, we had help, which is the true beauty of the Georgia Partnership, people and individuals coming together for the common good of Georgia’s children who truly are our future.

Steve Dolinger
Georgia Partnership President (2002 – )

The Georgia Partnership Board issued a challenge to the Partnership team in the new year, “Be Bold” by “increasing our influence across the state, and maximizing our expertise and commitment to improve student achievement in Georgia.”  And bolder we became early in the new year when we joined the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in establishing a Coalition of 21 organizations advocating for higher standards in Georgia classrooms.  The Better Standards for a Better Georgia Coalition was formally unveiled at a State Capitol press conference in early February and was instrumental in defeating a legislative effort to derail the state’s participation in the national movement to adopt a common set of higher standards.

The state welcomed the innovative Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowship program designed to increase the supply of outstanding teachers in STEM fields.  The Georgia Partnership was honored to serve as the program’s host organization.

The Georgia DOE asked the Partnership to prepare an in depth look at how Georgia managed its 4-year, $400 million Race to the Top program.  The resulting report, “Race to the Top: Georgia’s Vision for Educational Excellence,” was distributed throughout the state.

I have seen firsthand what an organization can do when it has a vision of educational excellence for every child in our state and the fortitude to boldly translate that vision into reality.  That is the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.

Shan Cooper
Board Chair (2014 – 2015)
Vice President & General Manager – Marietta
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.

Across the country many states were moving forward with their plans to implement higher education standards in the form of the Common Core State Standards.  Push back was also gaining momentum in protest of what many termed federal government overreach.  Georgia was no different.  The Georgia Partnership devoted a Critical Issues Forum to the subject in November and effectively increased public awareness and launched public discussion.

Part of the organizational success through the years has been the ability to seek new directions at the right time.  As a result, the Bus Trip Across Georgia that annually showcased the best the state had to offer in its public education system was retired.  Bus Trip 21 highlighted the “Birth to Work Pipeline – Ideas that Work” by visiting Pre-K, elementary, middle and high schools in North Georgia.  Trivia question of the day:  What was the last school visited? Park Creek Elementary School, Dalton Public Schools.

As I relinquish my chairmanship, I’m proud of what we have accomplished as a team and I have lofty expectations for even greater contributions to the public landscape in Georgia.  Together, we have made – and continue to make – an… IMPACT! 

Paul Bowers
Board Chair (2011 – 2013)
President and CEO
Georgia Power