On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the Georgia Charter Schools Association recognized key legislators and policymakers for their support and commitment to children and Georgia’s public charter schools. During GCSA’s annual holiday “Celebration of Advocates,” Jason Downey, Chairman of the Georgia Board of Education, Rep. Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth), and Rep. Mesha Mainor (D-Atlanta), received “GCSA Champion for Children Awards.”
Chairman Downey was recognized for leading the charge for transparency during the 2022 renewal process for the Museum School of Avondale Estates.
“This is quite an honor. You have to have a good Board of Education to be an effective chair, and I would not be able to do or be here if I did not have a great board,” said Downey. “Fellow board members who have won this award before like Scott Johnson and Mike Royal have been great mentors for me. … This means more than any honor that I have received as chair, and I greatly appreciate this.”
GCSA recognized Mainor for her efforts to reach across the aisle and build bipartisan coalitions for public education and her unwavering support for public charter schools as a Democrat.
“Being sought out for being an advocate of education is near and dear to my heart,” said Mainor. “I’m an advocate for children because I see children in need. The thing that bothers me the most is children not getting everything that they deserve…My job at the legislature is to make decisions that will impact children in a lifelong way.”
Rep. Todd Jones was honored for his longtime support of public charter school students and his leadership to secure additional facilities funding for Georgia’s public charter schools.
“Todd Jones has been working on behalf of public charter schools for as long as I’ve known him,” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “Last year, with his help we got one of the largest increases in the state facility fund that we’ve ever received.”
During the 2022 legislative session, Georgia lawmakers approved an additional $3 million in funding for charter school facilities in the state’s FY23 budget. Jones was presented with his 2022 “Champion for Children Award” by GCSA Board Chair Ryan Mahoney on Thursday, Dec. 8.