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 FY19 Federal Programs Conference

Conference Information

Information regarding the conference agenda can be found by clicking HERE​​.




Richard Woods was born in Pensacola, Florida and while growing up in a military 

family, lived in California, Hawaii and Virginia before moving to Georgia. He graduated from Fitzgerald High School, and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Kennesaw State University and a Master’s Degree from Valdosta State University.

Woods has over 25 years of pre-k through 12th grade experience in public education.  Woods was a high school teacher for 14 years, serving as department chair and teacher mentor. During his tenure, he was also selected as Teacher of the Year. For eight years Woods served in various administrative roles such as assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, testing coordinator, pre-k director, and alternative school director.

Woods also brings a business background to the superintendent's position, having been a purchasing agent for a national/multi-national laser company and a former small business owner.

He and his wife Lisha, a retired 30-year educator, are long-time residents of Tifton and have been married for 27 years.​


Dr. Tessie Rose Bailey is a Principal Technical Assistance Consultant at American Institutes for Research. Her primary responsibilities include developing high quality technical assistance resources and providing technical assistance to support implementation of response to intervention/multi-tiered systems of support (RTI/MTSS) at the state, district, school, and university level. She currently provides RTI/MTSS support through several national centers: Center on Response to Intervention (CRTI), Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS), and National Center on Intensive Interventions (NCII). Dr. Bailey taught in special education K-12 and higher education for 15 years. She has provided direct MTSS/RTI support and professional development to teachers and leaders in 43 states. Dr. Bailey has published and presented on problem solving and teaming, screening and progress monitoring, RTI for specific learning disability eligibility, tiered interventions in high schools, and MTSS/RTI essential components. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Utah in special education and post-doctoral work in RTI/MTSS at Lehigh University’s Center for Promoting Research to Practice.​



Jason Byars is the Program Manager for Georgia PBIS. He served as the District Coordinator for Project AWARE & Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in the Griffin-Spalding County School System from 2015-2018. He is also the Past President of the Georgia Association for Positive Behavior Support. After graduating from Berry College, Jason began his career as a secondary school history teacher. He then spent 18 years as a building level administrator serving as an assistant principal, testing coordinator, athletic director, and principal. He holds a Master’s Degree from The University of Georgia, a Specialist’s Degree from Liberty University, and has completed his coursework for a Doctorate Degree from Nova Southeastern University, all in Educational Leadership.

Jason and his wife, Laurie, live in Tyrone, GA with their 2 daughters – Mackenzie is a sophomore at Auburn University and Cameron is a freshman at Georgia College and State University. 



Dr. Jones, a passionate educator dedicated to developing students as scholars, leaders and good citizens, joined the Bibb County School District in April 2015. Using his classroom and administrative experiences, Dr. Jones developed the Bibb County School District’s strategic plan, “Victory in Our Schools.” The strategic plan has five goal areas: increasing student achievement, increasing student and stakeholder engagement, increasing teacher and leader effectiveness, being a reliable organization, and learning and growth. This plan drives the district’s continuous improvement efforts through shared accountability for all stakeholders and resource alignment.


Dr. Jones works to ensure the district’s instructional practices meet the needs of students and prepares them to be college or career ready. Early on, he established one of the district’s main priorities as “getting students reading on grade level.” Through his guidance, district administrators have addressed equity issues by ensuring students have access to similar instructional practices, interventions and supports. Additionally, the development of a District Literacy Plan has led to student growth on the Georgia Milestones Assessments and an increase in the percentage of students reading on grade level.


When he joined the district, Dr. Jones set one of his first long-term goals as raising the district’s graduation rate to 90 percent by 2025. The district has made great gains in improving its graduation rate, which was 58.9 percent in 2014. In 2018, the district graduated nearly 1,300 students with a graduation rate of 78.5 percent. Three of the district’s six high schools had graduation rates greater than 80 percent in 2018, putting the district on track to achieving this goal.


Under his leadership, the Bibb County School District has been cited for its work to advance the district and its students. In 2017, the district received Georgia’s College Board Linking Award for having more than 80 percent of juniors and seniors utilizing Khan Academy for SAT preparation. The District also received the 2018 Digital School District Survey Award for Large Student Population Districts category, and its Board of Education has been twice-named a Distinguished Board by the Georgia School Boards Association. The district’s work with elementary schedules was featured in District Management Journal, in an article titled “Raising Achievement and Addressing Equity at Bibb County Schools” and the district was featured as a case study with K12 Insight for its work in improving stakeholder communications through its use of the Let’s Talk! platform.


Dr. Jones is an educator with more than 20 years of experience. He began his career in education as a JROTC instructor with the Griffin-Spalding County School System in Griffin. He became a high school principal and then advanced to assistant superintendent, then superintendent before coming to Bibb County. Before his educational career, Dr. Jones served in the United States Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

In December 2018, Dr. Jones was named 2019 Georgia Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). The award was presented during a luncheon at the 2018 Georgia School Boards Association/Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Winter Conference in Atlanta. Later that month, he was named one of four finalists for 2019 National Superintendent of the Year by The School Superintendents Association (AASA). In February 2019, at AASA's National Conference on Education, Dr. Jones was named 2019 National Superintendent of the Year.

He is a past governing board member for The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and past president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). GSSA awarded him the President’s Award in 2012 and the Bill Barr Leadership Award in 2016. In October 2018, Dr. Jones received the AdvancED Excellence in Education Award for the state of Georgia for his role in leading efforts to improve student learning and outcomes.

Dr. Jones is engaged in numerous professional and community organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Macon and the Kiwanis Club of Macon. He serves on several community boards including those for the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Georgia. 

He is married to Evelyn, a retired elementary school principal. They have three children and are the proud grandparents of two granddaughters and a grandson.


Conference Hotel Information is available HERE​.

The official conference website will be avilable by May 1st. Participants are strongly encouraged to download the mobile app (GaDOE) from one of the app stores listed below:


The traditional New Director’s Workshop that occurred the day before the main conference is evolving into an online series of courses that will address the same content from previous years; however, in a more relevant and user friendly format. There will not be a day of workshops just for new directors during the conference. Look for information about these courses for new directors to be posted in Spring 2019!​