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Rural Education and Innovation

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Renewing Rural Georgia​​

Office of Rural Education and Innovation​​

​​During the pandemic, the unique challenges assoc​iated with rural poverty moved to the forefront for our state leaders. As a former educator and school leader from rural Georgia, State School Superintendent Richard Woods personally understands not only the challenges facing families, students, and educators, but also the opportunity a transformational investment could make in the lives of children and their communities.

Gaps that existed prior to the pandemic such as connectivity, teacher retention and recruitment, healthcare, resources and funding, workforce development, and more were only exacerbated by the pandemic.  

GaDOE plans to utilize ARP ESSER funds to establish an Office of Rural Education and Innovation within the agency to provide a continued, cabinet-level voice for the needs of rural Georgia, establish state and community partnerships to channel resources, and identify funding opportunities within the agency to support rural areas of our state.  

The Office of Rural Education will work with low wealth school districts with low student populations in high poverty/distressed regions of Georgia. GaDOE will make a substantial investment of its ARP ESSER funds to bring about transformative, sustained change for these identified regions. 

The leader of this new Office will be empowered to hire staff and structure a team in support of identified regions, bringing on the expertise, insight, and experience needed to address the unique needs of rural Georgia. The leader will be charged with working hand-in-hand with school and community leaders to address gaps that were brought to the forefront during the pandemic, chart a roadmap beyond recovery to renewal, and tackle any additional barriers that directly impact academic outcomes and opportunities for students.​

News and Updates​

Dr. B​ronwyn Ragan-Martin

Deputy Su​perintendent,
Rural Education and Innovation
Georgia Department of Education​​​​​​

​​​Bronwyn Ragan-Martin is Superintendent of the Early ​​​County School System, a small rural system in southwest Georgia. She leads a district with approximately 2,000 students and 300 employees.  

She previously served as the system's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and coordinated human resources, gifted education, and leadership development. Prior to that, she was a high school English teacher and debate coach.  ​

She is a Past President of the Blakely-Early County Chamber of Commerce and serves on the local Department of Health Board as well as the Library Board. She is an active member and past Chairperson of the Southwest Georgia RESA Board of Control, President of the Rotary Club of Blakely, and current President of the Georgia School Superintendents Association. She has served on numerous statewide taskforces and panels as an authoritative and authentic voice for rural education in Georgia.

She will be joining the Georgia Department of Education as Deputy Superintendent for Rural Education and Innovation on October 1​, 2021.