Join the conversation! Tweet #GAEDC14

Georgia Education Leadership Institute

Announcing! Candidates Forum

State School Superintendent Candidates
Thursday, September 11th, 4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Richard Woods - Republican Party Candidate - 4:00 to 4:15 pm
Valarie Wilson - Democratic Party Candidate - 4:30 to 4:45 pm

Gubernatorial Candidates
Friday, September 12th, 7:45 am - 8:30 am
Senator Jason Carter - Democratic Party Candidate - 7:45 to 8:00 am
Governor Nathan Deal - Republican Party Candidate - 8:15 to 8:30 am

Each candidate will have 15 minutes to
address the Institute's attendees.
This will not be a debate.

Pre-registration is now closed. But, we would love
for you to join us at the conference. Please bring a form of payment, purchase order, credit card, check or cash and register onsite.

Click here to download the full conference manual.

Would you like PLU credits for attending? 

Click here to download the PLU Prior Approval forms.

Click here to download a list of all breakout sessions.



Institute Highlights
Keynote Speakers
Plenary Session
Candidates Forums
Breakout Sessions
Institute Schedule


Georgia Conference Sponsors

GA Highlights

Pre-Institute Learning Sessions

40 Breakout Sessions

Exhibit Hall

PLU Credits Available

Breakfast provided on
Thursday and Friday

Lunch provided on

Door Prizes

These Pre-Institute sessions are FREE with your paid
Institute registration ($125) 
and are being held on
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Choose one of the following on-site!

1. Best Practices and Promising Approaches for Prevention of Bullying & Cyber Bullying

Patricia AgatstonPatricia Agatston, Ph.D.
About This Session: This presentation will focus on "best practices and promising approaches" for preventing bullying. Participants will have the opportunity to assess and discuss their current implementation level of best practices for bullying prevention and where they may need additional efforts. This session will also look at the overlap between bullying and cyber bullying behavior and provide suggestions for incorporating cyber bullying prevention into a comprehensive school-wide plan.

Dr. Agatston is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Prevention Specialist with the Cobb County School District's Prevention/Intervention Center in Marietta, Georgia. She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Bullying Prevention Association and Connect Safely. Patricia has co-authored several books and is a certified trainer and technical assistance consultant for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. She has been quoted in articles on cyber bullying and has appeared on CNN as well as other local and national radio and television programs to discuss cyber bullying and other youth online risky behavior. She was also a participant in the CDC's Expert Panel on Electronic Media and Youth Violence, and the CDC's Expert Panel on Youth Involvement in Bullying and Suicide-Related Behaviors.

2. Everything You Wanted to Know About Assessment but Were Afraid to Ask!

Melissa FincherMelissa Fincher
About This Session: Just how are the state assessments built? This session will outline the many steps that are taken to ensure the assessment programs Georgia administers are technically sound. In particular, the process taken to develop the new Georgia Milestones Assessment System will be discussed. How is this all going to work, given all that is going on ­including implications for the implementation of TKES and LKES? The session will be interactive as questions from the audience will drive the discussion in large part. No question is off limits.

Melissa Fincher has worked in the field of assessment for over 20 years. Her background includes experience with assessments in both university and K-12 settings. She has developed and managed a number of large-scale, high-stakes assessment programs for both Tennessee and Georgia.

In her present role as the Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability at the Georgia Department of Education, she oversees the development of all Georgia assessment and accountability programs. She is responsible for ensuring these programs meet high standards for technical defensibility. Melissa has served as the principal investigator in several grants and research projects and has presented at numerous professional conferences.


Thursday, September 11th (Opening Morning Session)

Michele GayMichele Gay

SPEAKER BIO: Michele Gay is a mother, former teacher, and now one of the co-founders of Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook Initiative. After losing her daughter, Josephine Grace, on December 14, 2012, she chose to take action as an advocate for improved school security and safety in our nation's schools.

Michele's background as a teacher and involved parent, along with her personal loss and post tragedy perspective, have left her uniquely positioned to help school communities prevent tragedy, and better prepare and respond in the event of an emergency in their own schools. Michele holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson University and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. She taught at the elementary level in Maryland and Virginia public schools before staying home to raise her three daughters, and advocate for the special needs of her youngest daughter, Josephine. Michele is dedicated to honoring Josephine in her work to make schools in our country more safe and secure.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Michele shares her personal story and lessons learned on December 14, 2012. She will introduce the inspiring way she has chosen to help school communities improve school climate and safety in honor of her daughter, Josephine, and the other 9 children and 6 teachers lost on that tragic day. Michele's perspective provides unique insight and inspiration for parents, administrators, school staff, emergency responders, mental health providers, and community members who aim to make their schools safer. She weaves lessons learned into practical measures and supports that communities can employ to prevent, prepare for, and recover from tragedy. Michele, and the Safe and Sound foundation, bring an important message to our communities, and represent a powerful presence in our school safety community.

Friday, September 12th (Luncheon Speaker)

Crystal KuykendallBringing Out the BEST in ALL Students
Dr. Crystal A. Kuykendall

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. Crystal A. Kuykendall is a gifted and gracious public speaker, administrator and educator. Audiences connect instantly with her high energy, charm, charismatic delivery and moving messages. She not only facilitates self-analysis, she inspires personal and organizational change, growth and powerful results in personal and professional pursuits. Crystal's speeches reflect her own unique background replete with personal victories and many professional responsibilities. A former school teacher, University Instructor (at Seton Hall University & Montclair State University), and Executive Director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, she has also been Director of Urban & Minority Relations for the National School Boards Association and Director of Marketing for RLA, Inc. as well as Director of the Citizens Training Institute of the National Committee for Citizens in Education. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Administration, law degree & life memberships in NCNW, the Natational Urban League, NAACP & Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She also received the Honorary Doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 2002. A member of the D.C. Bar Association, she has been President and General Counsel of her own firm, Kreative and Innovative Resources for Kids, Inc. (K.I.R.K.) since 1989. Appointed by U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, to the National Advisory Council on Continuing Education, she served as Council Chairperson from 1979-1981. Author of 4 books, including the highly acclaimed national best seller, “From Rage to Hope,” and recently published “Dreaming of a PHAT Century,” she is Mother of 5, mentor, school & church volunteer and the ultimate “Merchant of Hope” for she enriches the lives of thousands.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: In her session, Bringing Out the BEST in ALL Students, Crystal will give some insight on the causes of underperformance, low achievement, poor discipline and apathy in many "at-risk" and African American youth. She will also share strategies to enhance significantly the ability of student services professionals to meet the academic and social needs of these students and facilitate their success.

A Special Plenary Session will be held
Thursday afternoon from 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

PART 1: Students in Transition, a Special Report from State Leaders

Bobby Cagle
Interim Director of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services

Mr. Cagle recently served as Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Previously, he served as the director of legislative and external affairs for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). He also served as the family services director for DFCS and was responsible for statewide policy and program development in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, sexual assault and provider contracting. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of State Child Care Administrators (NASCCA) and the National Advisory Board of the Center on Enhancing Learning Outcomes.

Commissioner Avery NilesCommissioner Avery Niles
Department of Juvenile Justice

After his appointment by the Governor in November 2012, Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles was sworn into office by Governor Nathan Deal, followed by a unanimous vote of the Juvenile Justice Board. Commissioner Niles leads a workforce of more than 4,000 state juvenile corrections employees working in 28 facilities and 92 court services offices, engaged with the restorative justice of more than 22-thousand incarcerated Georgia youth. He has more than 28 years of distinguished law enforcement and criminal justice experience, working in various local and state level positions. 

PART 2: A Report from the Georgia State Fiscal Economist

Dr. Kenneth J. HeaghneyDr. Kenneth J. Heaghney
State Fiscal Economist / Research Professor of Economics
Department of Economics, Fiscal Research Center
Georgia State University

Dr. Heaghney has over 20 years of experience working with business leaders on a wide range of economic problems and issues. Much of his recent experience has been on applying economic analysis to the development and implementation of pricing strategies. As state economist, he is responsible for developing the annual tax revenue forecast for the state’s budget and advising the Governor’s office on economic and other policy issues. During his presentation, he will discuss the FY14 revenue results and trends for the state, economic trends and outlook for the U.S. and Georgia, and trends in property tax digests for the counties.


40 Informative Breakout Sessions!

Click here to download a list of all breakout sessions.

Track descriptions are below.

Culture of Success

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford. This track focuses on some of the pieces that must work together for students and schools to succeed. Sessions will highlight Georgia's new assessment system - Georgia Milestones; the new Race to the Top Early Learning Childhood Learning grant; IE2; Charter Systems; CCRPI; as well as updates on Technology and Curriculum and Standards.

Career Pathways

The focus of these innovative sessions will be to demonstrate how Georgia business and industry/educational partnerships support economic growth and community development by enriching the work-related skills and competencies of Georgia high school students. Successful industry educational initiatives that integrate academic subjects and globally-relevant business content will be highlighted, including Southwire Company and 12 for Life, HON Company and Great Promise Partnership, Georgia Energy and Industrial Construction Consortium and Georgia Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and South Forsyth High School DECA Student Organization.

Teacher and Leader Development

Professional development is one key to effective teachers and leaders. This track on Teacher and Leader Development has two primary strands. One focuses on how the new Teacher and Leader Evaluation systems, including Student Growth Percentiles (SGP), are tools to measure effectiveness and improve performance for teachers and leaders as well as students. The second strand focuses on the efforts of the Professional Standard Commission to implement new rules on Professional Learning and a Tiered Certification system to recognize the unique developmental needs of teachers at every career stage and by encouraging and supporting educators as they progress within their desired career path.

School Climate & Safety

Schools often face obstacles in their efforts to provide a safe and supportive school environment for their students and staff. Sessions in the School Climate & Safety track will explore prevailing and emerging issues that influence the learning environment including student discipline, mental health, bullying and school safety. Information will be provided to illustrate the link between a positive school climate and academic achievement, effective risk prevention efforts and positive youth development.

Business/Operational Management

Follow the money! Sessions in the Business and Operational Management track recognize the importance of funding to school districts and the critical roles played by CFOs and other business managers. Come hear state legislators discuss the state appropriations process; hear a CFO discuss the impact of a Charter Systems decisions; and find out more about the capital outlay process and the Teacher's Retirement System. There is also a Basic School Finance 101 session for every educator who wanted to know more about how school finance really works.

Candidates Forum

GA Gubernatorial and State Superintendent Candidates

Each candidate will have 15 minutes to address the Institute's attendees.
This will not be a debate.

GA Schedule

Tentative Schedule

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Registration Opens
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free Pre-Institute Sessions
5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Opening Reception

Thursday, September 11, 2014

7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Registration Opens
7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Exhibits Open
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Welcome Remarks and Keynote Speaker
Michele Gay 
9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Breakout Sessions
11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Lunch On Your Own
12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Plenary Session:
Bobby Cagle, Interim Director,
Division of Family & Children Services
Commissioner Avery Niles,
Department of Juvenile Justice
Dr. Kenneth Heaghney,
State Fiscal Economist
4:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. State School Superintendent
Candidates Forum
Valarie Wilson - Democratic Party Candidate
Richard Woods - Republican Party Candidate
4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Networking Reception

Friday, September 12, 2014

7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Gubernatorial Candidates Forum
Senator Jason Carter - Democratic Party Candidate
Governor Nathan Deal - Republican Party Candidate
8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions
9:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. General Session, Lunch, Keynote Speaker
Dr. Crystal Kuykendall
Closing and Door Prizes

PLU credits will be available for attending the Institute.

Click here to download the Prior Approval form. The PLU Course Completion form will be provided at the end of the conference. Upon course completion, 20 contact hours and 2 PLU credits will be awarded. 


GA Registration

Registration is EASY!!!

Pre-registration is now closed. But, we would love
for you to join us at the conference. Please bring a form of payment, purchase order, credit card, check or cash and register onsite.

Please make your purchase order or check payable to:
National Center for Youth Issues.

Click here to download the full conference manual.


GA Accomodations

Reserve your hotel room today!
Limited Availability

Marriott Marquis AtlantaTo make hotel reservations:

The Marriott Marquis Hotel has a conference rate of $133 plus tax, which remains valid through the cutoff date of September 9, 2014, as long as rooms are available in the block. Call 1-866-469-5475. Please be sure to tell the hotel that you're with the Georgia Education Leadership Institute.

To Register online:

1. Click here to go the the Marriott Marquis Web Site. In the field titled "MAKE YOUR SELECTION," select "ATTENDEE."

2. Enter your check in/check out dates (ie. 9/10/14 to 9/12/14)

3. Then enter your number of rooms, guests per room, etc.. Then click the "FIND" button. You should then be taken to a page that shows the $133 per night rate.

Parking:  We have special valet pricing for parking at the hotel. The daily price is $15.00. Other parking lots close to the hotel range from $4 to $20 per day.