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Georgia Department of Education’s Bob Swiggum Recognized Nationally for Leadership in Supporting Use of Data to Improve Student Achievement

 MEDIA CONTACT : Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,  or Rachel Zaentz, DQC, (202) 667-0901,    - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook     February 16, 2011  -- The Georgia Department of Education’s Chief Information Officer, Bob Swiggum, was nationally recognized today for developing an accessible, cost-effective statewide education data system that has contributed to education improvement across Georgia. The award was announced at Data for Action 2010: DQC’s State Analysis release event.   The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) Recognition Program Award honors state and district leaders who have led remarkable efforts to collect and use education data to improve student achievement. Under Swiggum’s leadership, the Georgia Department of Education quickly transformed from operating a statewide education data system that simply collected data for compliance to developing a customer-driven system that allows teachers and principals to easily access and use data to make informed educational decisions.   Joining Georgia’s Department of Education in 2009, Swiggum inherited a system that collected a wealth of valuable education data from districts across the state. He also inherited established district data systems and local skepticism that the state education agency could deliver anything of value without adding burden, increasing costs, and creating yet another new system.   “Bob has accomplished something in one year that the agency was unable to accomplish in more than eight years,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “He is dedicated to making technology accessible so educators, parents, and community members have data to make better decisions for students.”   “In just under one year, Bob changed the way district administrators, principals and teachers perceived the value of state data systems to local stakeholders,” said DQC Executive Director Aimee Guidera. “He has changed the culture within the state education agency to focus on its customers, especially districts, and for the first time, has given education leaders a complete picture of Georgia education.”   To ensure minimal disruption and maximum value to local stakeholders, Swiggum led the integration of student-level longitudinal data collected by the state into existing district student information systems. By visiting the same site that they have been using for years, educators and local administrators are now provided with instant access to critical information about the students in their districts, as well as students who just transferred from other school districts within the state. With the click of a mouse, teachers can instantly understand a student’s prior education experience, and within the next year, parents will also be provided access to important student-level data via the local district's parent portals.   ”In other industries, using data to make informed decisions is the rule, not the exception,” stated Swiggum. “When I joined the Georgia Department of Education, I wanted to ensure that district administrators, teachers, and principals were afforded the same opportunity to make better decisions based on rich data.”   By developing a system that does not require additional logins or authorizations, local agencies provide extra services at no additional cost or effort. Swiggum has made tremendous progress in bringing Georgia districts on board, with the final remaining districts in the process of integrating the statewide system.   Each year, the DQC Recognition Program Award is given to leaders in three categories: State Policymaker, State Data Leader and District Data Leader. The other 2010 winners are:  State Policymaker: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for his efforts to lead stakeholders in building robust statewide data systems that span early childhood to the workforce and protect data privacy, helping to ensure students graduate college and career ready and;  District Data Leader: Denver Public Schools’ Director of Assessment Technology and Accountability Jason Martinez for providing educators with access to data to empower their decision-making.   For more information on the Data Quality Campaign and the Award Recognition Program, please visit our website at: .    Interviews with Bob Swiggum and representatives from the Data Quality Campaign can be arranged by contacting Rachel Zaentz at  or 202.667.0901.