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 Georgia's School Turnaround Focus

 Georgia’s school turnaround effort, created by House Bill 338 in 2017 and led by the state’s first Chief Turnaround Officer Dr. Eric Thomas, was created to provide a system of supports for Georgia schools identified as being most in need of assistance.

The turnaround effort is a partnership between schools, districts, parents, community stakeholders, and the state.


This effort is so essential because:

  • ​Great schools create great communities

  • We are investing in tomorrow’s work force

  • It’s a moral obligation

Students in cap and gowns hold their diplomas.

Features of the turnaround focus:

  • Prioritization for grants

  • Support from an Improvement Specialist

  • Ga DOE Resources

  • Support with securing and coordinating parent & community resource

  • Leadership development

  • Support in implementing a school-driven improvement plan


Click here to download & print a one-page overview.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Supporting Legislation

The Opportunity



Platinum Partners

Center for School Turnaround at WestEd
Communities in Schools (CIS)
Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)
Education Turnaround Advisory Council
Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (GACTE)
Georgia PTA
Get Georgia Reading Campaign
Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA)
House of Representatives Rural Development Council
Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy
Woodrow Wilson Foundation
Associated General Contractors of Georgia

The Team


Ashley Harris, M.S.
Director of Partnerships and Community Engagement

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Betty Jones
Transformation Specialist

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Dr. Dwight Rhodes
Transformation Specialist

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Kathy Wooten
School Climate Specialist

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LaJeune Williams
Transformation Specialist

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Traci Roach
School Climate Specialist

In the News

The Turnaround Office recently received a K-3 Literacy Grant from the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy.  

The grant provides funding for three full-time literacy specialists, professional learning and materials. ​ 

     Upcoming Events

May 16, 2018
Rural Roundtable II
This meeting is being held to ensure that all involved in supporting rural Georgia communities are collaboratively engaged; strengthen alignment and cohesiveness of organizations supporting rural Georgia; and to identify how collective action and focus can impact education outcomes in rural school settings

June 27-28, 2018
Turnaround Kick-off
 Leveraging a partnership with the Center on School Turnaround at West Ed, the Turnaround Office will be hosting a kick-off event and leadership development engagement in Atlanta.  Invitees to the event include State Board of Education members, targeted elected officials, partners, and school/district leaders.​

Past Events
Data-Driven Instruction Training
January 26-27, 2018
Atlanta Marriott Marquis

265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303

One or two representatives from each Cohort One district will be able to attend, at no cost, a data-driven instruction training led by national expert Paul Bambrick-Santoyo.

Talent Management Virtual Round Table

A 90-minute Talent Management virtual “roundtable” was offered in January for Cohort One districts.  HR directors and other leaders had an opportunity to engage with three talent management experts to explore innovative practices to increase the number of highly effective teachers in lower-performing schools. Topics included:

Teacher Preparation, Compensation & Recruitment Strategies, ​Personnel Management, Onboarding, Working Conditions, Teacher Development

Rural Roundtable: Meeting of the Minds on Rural Georgia

March 2, 2018

Organizations with a direct or indirect imitative regarding education were invited to a discussion acknowledging the synergy around rural Georgia.  A second meeting will be held with community stakeholders in May.

Clay County Family Kick-Off 

March 9, 2018

In partnership with Amerigroup, a health and awareness event was held to inform parents of upcoming student health assessments. Additional the Office of Family Independence was on-site to aid families in need of support service applications.

Talent Management Virtual Training

March 20, 2018

Expert consultants shared research-based strategies and experiences supporting rural districts across the country on their talent management challenges.  

Woodrow Wilson Foundation STEM Talent Recruitment Opportunity

April 12 &13, 2018

Partner districts met with WWF STEM fellows at Columbus State and Mercer University.  These “private” meetings (just for CTO partner districts) were the launch of a more comprehensive partnership with the WWF to promote teacher recruitment.  

$61 Million Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4 Grant)

As prescribed in HB338, schools that partner with the Turnaround Office will be prioritized for state and federal grants.  The turnaround office will be offering technical support to Cohort One schools and districts as they complete their grant applications.  Applications were due February 1, 2018.

Rural Education Fund Grant

The Turnaround Office will be partnering with the Georgia Foundation for Public Education to explore support through a competitive grant for Cohort One schools. 
More information will be forthcoming.




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​​Dr. Eric Thomas
Chief Turnaround Officer

Contact us: 404-463-1861