Georgia Education Leadership Institute

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Click here to download the complete Institute Brochure.

Click here to download a schedule of the Breakout Sessions.

Georgia Institute Sponsors 

  • Pre-Institute Learning Sessions
  • 50 Breakout Sessions
  • Superintendent Panels
  • Exhibit Hall
  • Breakfast provided on Thursday and Friday
  • Lunch provided on Thursday
  • Door Prizes

These Pre-Institute sessions are FREE with your paid Institute registration ($125)
and are being held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Choose one of the following! 

Pre-Institute Learning Session ONE

Avis King

Update from the Office of School Improvement

Avis King

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Updates will be provided about the work in School and District Effectiveness and Teacher and Leader Effectiveness. The presentation will also cover information concerning the Every Students Succeeds Act. The theme of the orientation will focus on supporting Georgia’s districts, administrators, schools and students in the work of continuous improvement.   There will also be schools and districts participating in the presentation sharing their success stories and lessons learned with making school improvement work and conducting effective teacher and leader evaluations.

SPEAKER BIO: This session will be presented by Avis King, Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement, Will Rumbaugh, Director of School and District Effectiveness and Cindy Saxon, Associate Superintendent of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness and staff. Additional Participants include Melinda Kay (Barrow County), Alice Stouder (Cobb County), Lynn Seay (Forsyth County), Dr. Toni Campbell, Principal, Indian Creek Elementary School, (DeKalb County), and Paula Herrema, Lead School Effectiveness Specialist, Georgia Department of Education. 


Pre-Institute Learning Session TWO

Melissa Fincher

Georgia’s Assessment and Accountability System:  Georgia Milestones and the CCRPI

Melissa Fincher

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Back by popular demand, Melissa Fincher, GaDOE's Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability, will discuss Georgia’s assessment and accountability system. The most up to date information will be shared, including a discussion of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and what it means for Georgia.  This will be an informal session with plenty of time for questions and discussion. If you have questions such as, “How are the open-ended items on Georgia Milestones scored?’ or “What does ESSA mean for the CCRPI?’ then this session is for you.

SPEAKER BIO: 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 8th
Opening General Session
9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

~ Kickoff Remarks by State School Superintendent Richard Woods ~

Nathan Deal

Education Update
Governor Nathan Deal

Under the Governor’s leadership, Georgia has risen to become the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business, a goal achieved by creating the Competitiveness Initiative, reforming the state tax code, shaping Georgia’s educational system to support workforce needs and recruiting businesses to relocate here. Though he has reduced the size of state government, Gov. Deal has prioritized education and child safety funding as state revenues rebound from the Great Recession. In 2014, the Governor increased K-12 spending by more than half a billion dollars, the largest increase in education in seven years, and in his 2015 State of the State address he proposed the creation of a new Opportunity School District to rescue failing schools.

Thursday, September 8th
Luncheon Speaker

John HodgeBE THE ONE!
Dr. John W. Hodge

SPEAKER BIO: Dr. John W. Hodge’s career has been defined by assisting students and teachers with overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. He has served as an inspirational speaker across the United States and has been a guest lecturer at Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University and George Washington University. Dr. Hodge is a trained facilitator for the SREB Leadership Initiative Modules "Leading Assessment and Instruction" and "Creating a High Performance Learning Culture," and a trained assessor and facilitator in the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) "Developing the 21st Century Principal" program.

Dr. Hodge is the president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. He has served as a reading teacher, English teacher, AVID teacher, Assistant Principal and Associate Director of AVID Center Eastern Division. He served as Director of An Achievable Dream Academy, an inner city school that piloted many of the interventions used by Urban Learning and Leadership Center. An Achievable Dream Academy is a high performing, high poverty school that has received numerous national awards.

ABOUT THIS SESSION: Join Dr. Hodge as he presents BE THE ONE! He will discuss how the education of America's youth is a challenging prospect when one considers the many burdens faced by impoverished children and their families. Research indicates that poverty need not be a barrier to academic excellence. As co-author of the book Standing in the Gap, Dr. Hodge states, "Across the nation, schools are demonstrating that it can be done: That students can reach high standards, that all children can succeed, that the gap between white and minority students, poor and affluent, can be closed." More often than not, one caring adult can make all the difference in the world. Dr. Hodge's presentation will encourage all of us to BE THE ONE! 

Special General Session

Friday, September 9th 
11:25 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

ESSA Discussion Panel

The ESSA panel will be moderated by

Peter Zamora

Director of Federal Relations at the Council of Chief State School Officers

The Every Student Succeeds Act – the reauthorized No Child Left Behind – offers an enormous opportunity to reshape Georgia’s education system. The new law allows states and local districts to develop plans addressing standards, testing, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools and students. There are still federal requirements by which states must abide. However, in many areas, ESSA hands decision-making authority to states and local districts. At this session, Superintendent Woods and the GA Department of Education staff members who chair the ESSA working committees will discuss the direction Georgia is moving.

Panelist will be:

  • Accountability Working Committee – Allison Timberlake
  • Assessment Working Committee – Melissa Fincher
  • Education of the Whole Child – Caitlin Dooley
  • Federal Programs – Debbie Gay
  • Teacher & Leader Development – Cindy Saxon

50 Informative Breakout Sessions! Track descriptions below.

Culture of Success
These sessions will highlight innovation and best practices from schools around the state in curriculum, classroom instruction, and school climate. You'll hear from colleagues who have beat the odds and guided their schools to success despite challenges.

Educating Georgia's Future Workforce
This track will focus on partnerships that create high-quality Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education experiences for students. Learn how to partner with businesses in your community to create courses that lead to jobs for your graduates..

School Public Relations 101
These sessions will focus on communicating effectively with the public. You'll learn how to promote your schools and manage crisis situations effectively, using the resources you already have.

Teacher & Leader Development
This track will focus on identifying, developing and retaining your best teachers. It will also focus on the effectiveness and development of other leaders within your school or district.

Business and Operational Management
These sessions are designed for CFOs, Finance Directors, and other members of your district's business office. Network and share best practices with other professionals within your field.

PearsonA Look at One of Our Featured Speakers:

Eric Milou

Mathmatical Modeling in 3 Acts

Eric Milou

ABOUT THIS SESSION: This session will examine rich problems and tasks that are generated via pictures and video (rather than words on the papers) and demonstrate how such media can lead to rich discourse, motivation, and deeper mathematical understanding.

SPEAKER BIO: Eric Milou is Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. Eric teaches pre-service teachers and works with in-service teachers, and is primarily interested in balancing concept development with skill proficiency. He was part of the nine-member NCTM feedback/advisory team that responded to and met with Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSCO) and National Governors Association (NGA) representatives during the development of various drafts of the Common Core State Standards. Eric's publications include coauthor: digits (middle-grades mathematics curriculum) Pearson 2012, “Unit Fractions and Their ‘Basimal’ Representations: Exploring Patterns,” Mathematics Teacher (NCTM 2004), Teaching Mathematics in the Middle School: A Practical Guide (Allyn and Bacon 2003), and “High School Exit Exams across the Nation,” NCTM News Bulletin (2003). His excellence in teaching and leading has been recognized through honors, including Joseph A. Barnes Award for Outstanding Service, Rowan University (2015) and Max Sobel Outstanding Mathematics Educator Award, AMTNJ (2009). 

New This Year!

We are excited to announce that special Superintendent Panels will be hosted at this year's Institute. Three separate panels will be hosted, one each for small, medium and large school districts. A panel of superintendents from each of these levels will discuss why they chose to become a Charter System or a Strategic Waiver School System. They will highlight things they've implemented with flexibility that has had the most impact on students' academic achievement, as well as discuss innovative learning opportunities they now offer because of the flexibility they have been afforded. If you have recently become a Charter System or Strategic Waiver System – or will be in effect soon – you will not want to miss the panel for your size district! 

Superintendent Panel for Small Districts

  • Morris Leis - Superintendent, Coffee County School System
  • Michael Duncan - Superintendent, Pike County Schools
  • Allen McCannon - Superintendent, Madison County School District

Superintendent Panel for Medium Districts

  • Will Schofield - Superintendent Hall County Schools &
  • Steve Barker - Superintendent, Coweta County School System

Superintendent Panel for Large Districts

  • Alvin Wilbanks - Superintendent,  Gwinnett County Public Schools
  • Meria Carstarphen - Superintendent,  Atlanta Public Schools
  • Naviance / HobsonsChris Ragsdale - Superintendent, Cobb County School District

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Registration Opens
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Exhibits Open
9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Opening General Session
  - Kickoff Remarks by Richard Woods, State School Superintendent 
  - Education Update: Governor Nathan Deal
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. General Session, Lunch, Keynote Speaker - Dr. John Hodge
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. Breakout Sessions
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Networking Reception

Friday, September 9, 2016

7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions
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 11:25 a.m. Transition Break
11:25 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Special General Session: ESSA Discussion Panel

Pre-registration is now closed
But we have room for you!

Please join us at the Institute and register onsite!
Just bring a copy of your purchase order, cash, check or credit card

Please make your check or purchase order payable to:
National Center for Youth Issues
Mail the check or purchase order and registration forms to the address above.

(Click here to download the Registration Form)

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PRE-INSTITUTE (Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 2:00 p.m. - ­5:00 p.m.)

   Cost: $0*

*Institute registration ($125) is required to attend one of the FREE Pre-Institute Learning Sessions. Please indicate if you plan on attending the Pre-Institute. Choose only ONE.

 #1 Update from the Office of School Improvement - Avis King and Staff

#2 Georgia's Assessment and Accountability System: Georgia's Milestones and the CCRPI - Melissa Fincher


MAIN CONFERENCE (September 8th-9th)      

   Cost: $125.00  (Includes Pre-Institute)


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  □ Check Enclosed (made payable to *National Center for Youth Issues*)

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Please note: There will be no refunds after August 25, 2016.  All cancellations before August 25, 2016 will be refunded less a $25 handling fee. 

GA Accomodations 

Atlanta Marriott Marquis

Marriott Marquis Atlanta

Reserve your hotel room today!
Limited Availability

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

The Marriott Marquis Hotel has a conference rate of $138 plus tax. This rate is valid by September 3, 2016, as long as rooms are available in the block.




  • CALL: 1-866-469-5475, or 1-404-521-0000. Please be sure to tell the hotel that you're with the Georgia Education Leadership 2016.

  • REGISTER ONLINE: Go to the Marriott Marquis website.
      Select the dropdown box "Please select your guest type".
      Choose "ATTENDEE". 
      Enter your check in/check out dates. (ie. 9/6/16 to 9/10/16)
      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 $138 per night rate.

 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.