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​State School Superintendent makes hires to bolster science, social studies support

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,

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August 24, 2015 -- State School Superintendent Richard Woods has hired personnel for two new positions at the Georgia Department of Education – one in science and one in social studies – in a move to offer more support to schools and prioritize all core content areas.


Mr. Kenneth Linsley, previously the Regional Coordinator for the Oconee River Youth Science and Technology Center, will serve as science program specialist. Ms. Amanda Joy Hatcher, previously a professional learning facilitator for DeKalb County Schools, will serve as social studies program specialist.


“In the first months of my term, I’ve spent time evaluating the GaDOE’s existing staff and making changes that align with our educational priorities,” Superintendent Woods said. “Each of these areas – science and social studies – previously operated with only one staff member. We’re currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the science and social studies standards, and as we raise expectations for students and teachers, it’s critical that we raise our levels of support. We will not alter standards or raise expectations without providing adequate training and support for teachers.”


Amanda Joy Hatcher, the new social studies program specialist, previously worked in DeKalb County Schools’ Department of Professional Learning. Prior to that, she spent 12 years as a social studies teacher at Elizabeth Andrews High School in Stone Mountain, Ronald E. McNair High School in Decatur, and Columbia High School in Decatur, where she was department head. Ms. Hatcher holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Georgia, a Master of Science degree from Miami University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia.  


Kenneth Linsley, the new science program specialist, previously worked for the Oconee River Youth Science and Technology Center, where he delivered STEM professional learning to teachers in 12 public school districts. Prior to that, he was an elementary science teacher at Rocky Branch Elementary School in Watkinsville and Whitehead Road Elementary School in Athens.  


The new hires were approved by the State Board of Education last week