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Superintendent Woods and Georgia PTA Announce the 2017 Georgia Parent Leadership Awards

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office,

Dawn Scott, Family Engagement Specialist, (404) 657-9962,

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January 11, 2017 – The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association (GA PTA) are recognizing six parents from across the state for the sixth annual Georgia Parent Leadership Award.

The award was created by GaDOE and GA PTA to recognize parents for their outstanding leadership in creating a foundation of support for student achievement and success.

“It is an honor to recognize these parent leaders, who have made a difference not only for their own children, but for many more through their dedicated involvement,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “The positive impact of an involved parent, someone who takes a leadership role in supporting their child’s education and advocating for student success, does not stop with one child. It affects the entire school. Involved parents like the six individuals being recognized with this award are an absolutely crucial part of the work we do as educators.”

“These six parents represent the very best in Family Engagement! Parents that give not only in support of their children, but act as a voice for every child. We celebrate their commitment and the successes that come from their involvement,” Lisa-Marie Haygood, Georgia PTA President, added.

The GaDOE received a total of 37 nominations by public school personnel starting in November during Georgia’s Family Engagement Month through the beginning of December. The majority of nominations were submitted by schools from the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

The parents will receive the honor at a ceremony on February 16, 2017, during the annual Georgia PTA day celebration in Atlanta, GA.

The 2017 winners are:

  • ​Darren Bagley-Heath, Isle of Hope K-8 School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

  • Sarah Clark, Pooler Elementary School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

  • Deidre’ Donaldson, New Hampstead High School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

  • Lily Pabian, Elkins Pointe Middle School, Fulton County Schools

  • Kathy Restel, Coastal Middle School, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

  • Antonio Wesby, Burke County Middle School, Burke County Public Schools

Any caregiver who assumes responsibility for sustaining and nurturing a student’s educational, emotional, spiritual, and physical health is eligible for the honor.

The Georgia Parent Leadership Awards are given each year to up to six parents and may represent both Title I and Non-Title I schools.  Parents may be nominated from any school level.  The six state winners for 2017 represent one elementary, three middle, one dual elementary and middle school, and one high school.

Winners of the 2017 Georgia Parent Leadership Award become one-year honorary members of the State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council to have opportunities throughout the year to provide their input on family and community engagement activities at the state level.

For More Information:

Details about the Georgia Parent Leadership Award

Photos and Bios of the winners​