On Wednesday, Dec. 12, Georgia Charter Schools Association honored top charter school advocates, policy makers and school officials, during GCSA’s annual holiday “Celebration of Advocates” held at the JW Marriott in Atlanta. Each of the advocates received a “GCSA Champion for Children Award” in recognition of their longtime support and commitment to children and Georgia’s charter schools.
GCSA gave the “Champion for Children Award” to Gayle Burnett for her years of service as the Executive Director in the Office of Innovation for Atlanta Public Schools. Burnett retired from the position in December. Outgoing Georgia Rep. Scott Hilton (R-Peachtree Corners) received the award for successfully sponsoring two major pieces of legislation benefitting children during the 2018 Legislative session. One of the bills, HB 787 increases the amount of state supplemental funding for schools authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission and provides forward funding for all Georgia charter schools.
Others receiving the award include longtime advocate for children and charter schools, Georgia Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro). Glanton has continually voted in support of charter school legislation and served as a founding member of Elite Scholars Academy. Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-Forest Park) was also recognized for her dedicated and unwavering support of charter schools. Stovall has served on the House Education Committee and as Vice Chair of the House Education Subcommittee. She previously served as a board chair for a Special State Charter School that served students in Kindergarten through the fifth grades.
GCSA gave the “Champion for Children Award” to Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) for his outstanding voting record for children and school choice issues. Millar also served as a key member of the Senate Education committee, which led to the passage of pro-charter school bills that include HB 787 and HB 430. Edward Lindsey, former Georgia House Majority Whip (R-Atlanta), was also recognized for his strong leadership and voting record on charter school and school choice issues. Lindsey co-sponsored the legislation that placed the 2012 charter school amendment before Georgia voters. The successful passage of the amendment led to the establishment of the State Charter Schools Commission and placed the state authorization of charter schools in Georgia’s constitution. Lindsey is currently a partner at Dentons and serves a board member of Brookhaven Innovation Academy.
Matt Underwood, the Executive Director of the Office of Innovation for Atlanta Public Schools, was given the “GCSA Champion for Children Award” for his years of service as Executive Director of Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School. Underwood left his role at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School to work for APS in December.
GCSA also recognized Angela Lassetter, Head of School and Superintendent of Georgia Cyber Academy, as the top charter school advocate for 2018. Lassetter has received the honor two years in a row due to her extensive efforts to contact state and local elected officials in support of charter-related issues.
GCSA was pleased to honor a bipartisan and comprehensive list of elected officials, school leaders and advocates. Because of their service, more Georgia children have access to a high-quality education.