State School Superintendent establishes new office of rural education and innovation

In a press release today to the state, State School Superintendent Richard Woods is establishing a new Office of Rural Education and Innovation at the Georgia Department of Education, providing a continued, cabinet-level voice for the needs of rural Georgia in K-12 education policy.

Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin, a Georgia educational leader with more than 31 years of experience, has been selected to lead the new office. Dr. Ragan-Martin, who most recently served as Superintendent of the Early County School System and President of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, will serve as Deputy Superintendent for Rural Education and Innovation beginning in October.

“It is a top priority of my administration to strengthen and bring greater opportunities and economic prosperity to rural Georgia,” Governor Brian Kemp said. “The Georgia Department of Education’s new Office of Rural Education and Innovation will support those efforts to renew and revitalize rural Georgia and ensure our state remains the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“Our rural schools and districts face unique challenges and resource gaps – and many of those challenges have only intensified due to the pandemic,” Superintendent Woods said. “That’s something I understand personally, as a former teacher and administrator in a rural Georgia school district. There is also, though, an opportunity for a transformational investment in rural Georgia that could change the lives of children and the course of their communities. That’s what I’m tasking our new Office of Rural Education and Innovation with working toward. I’m thrilled Dr. Ragan-Martin has agreed to lead this work – her experience, commitment, and deep roots in rural Georgia make her the perfect fit for this role.”

Superintendent Richard Woods

The Office of Rural Education and Innovation will be established using Georgia’s ARP-ESSER federal stimulus funds, and will work to address educational needs in rural Georgia including connectivity; teacher retention and recruitment; resources and funding; and educator development. The office will establish state and community partnerships to channel resources and identify funding opportunities within the agency to support rural areas of the state.

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