DOE creates a deputy chief for turnaround schools

New jobs and faces at the state Department of Education today:

 New Georgia school chief John Barge is round out his leadership team with new appointments.

New Georgia school chief John Barge is rounding out his leadership team with new appointments.

The State Board of Education today approved Sylvia Hooker as the Deputy Superintendent for Turnaround Schools, a position that is directly aligned under the Race to the Top grant. Ms. Hooker is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning with Troup County Schools, where she has served since 2008.

”Ms. Hooker has a vast array of experience and training with lower performing schools,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “She is a dedicated and versatile educator who has all the necessary experience to =
take on this challenging position.”

The Turnaround Schools position is a newly created position under the Race to the Top grant. In collaboration with the Race to the Top Implementation Director,  Ms. Hooker will be accountable for turning around the lowest achieving schools in the state.

Several other key positions, including Ms. Hooker’s, were also recommended by Superintendent Bryant in consultation with Superintendent-elect Dr. John Barge, including:

Director of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (Audrey Bergeron) – Bergeron is currently the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director for the Muscogee County School District. She has held this position since 2006. Prior to that, she was a CTAE teacher at the high school level. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Education from Augusta State University and a Master’s Degree, Education Specialist in Business Education and Education Specialist in Leadership from Troy State University.

Director of Governmental Affairs (Matthew Gambill) – Gambill is currently Vice President at Bobby Carrell & Associates.  He has held this position since 2003. He has extensive experience in lobbying the Georgia General Assembly, state government officials and agencies on legislative, regulatory and state budgetary issues. In his current role he also serves as the Executive Director for the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE). He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science from Lee University.

Superintendent-elect Barge today also announced that he will appoint Dan Carter as Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs when he takes office January 10.  Carter has an extensive background that includes teaching, political consulting and marketing in the banking industry.  As Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs, he will build relationships with key public education stakeholders and oversee policy and the overall communication and governmental affairs strategies. Carter received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Georgia Southwestern College.

”I am very excited about having Dan on board and bringing his expertise to the GaDOE,” said Superintendent-elect Barge. “He, along with today’s other appointments, will help ensure that the agency is focused like never before on customer service and relationship building.”

–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

87 comments Add your comment


December 20th, 2010
6:03 pm

I’m sick of these people wasting our money when at the same time they are cutting other services. There are several other positions for the GADOE on various job boards.


December 20th, 2010
6:48 pm

Another “newly created position”…just what the GADOE needs.


December 20th, 2010
6:53 pm

Any word on the salary for these GaDOE positions?


December 20th, 2010
6:55 pm

Nice to see the RTTT money going to the kids in the classroom…oh…wait a minute…


December 20th, 2010
6:56 pm

Instead of adding position, get rid of 50% per salary level, then cut the salaries by 20% of those left. THEN let’s talk.


December 20th, 2010
7:16 pm

They’ll never get it right. Keep adding administrative positions, technology that doesn’t work, more testing, etc. etc., and we’re still at the bottom of the barrel. Time to go back to BASICS.


December 20th, 2010
7:40 pm

If this is the top EDUCATION HOUSE IN ATLANTA …what does the bottom look like?

WILL Governor Perdue’s office take ACTION with APS

Get out the broom …mop and a bucket…there’s allot a cleaning to do. Hope you like being on your hands and knees.

We all got’sa shame bag over our heads in Atlanta…with some of us wearing DE dunce cap.

The rest of the world knows how APS got to the TOP.
It wasn’t a real race..

Maybe they should reread… The Hare and the Turtle…

We are in the dredges of the bottom …there is nowhere else to go but to attempt to rise to the top…and sing we shall overcome this mess..

First, start by showing us all how you intend to clean up this Georgia mess…

HS Public Teachers

December 20th, 2010
7:42 pm

Add your anger here…. But nothing will be done about it and we all know it. The wealthy get more wealthy – “let’s create this new position for this great guy/gal that I know.” However, we must increase class size to 100 students per teacher.

Sounds about right (and I mean that direction of politics).

Say WHAT??

December 20th, 2010
8:09 pm

Adding more at the TOP. Is this Nathan Deal’s idea of cutting back in state government?
@Maureen/@HS Public Teacher this might be someone they “know”- Is the Matthew Gambill above by chance related to the “Special Assistant to the Superintendent” Bill Gambill?? 11/20 post on Get Schooled blog.. Nepotism anyone?

Canadian Bacon

December 20th, 2010
8:31 pm

“…he will build relationships with key public education stakeholders and oversee policy and the overall communication and governmental affairs strategies.”

What the hell does that mean? The state budget is in tatters and we get another overpaid buron (bureaucrat moron) with a nebulous position description that probably won’t do anyone a lick of good.

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December 20th, 2010
9:15 pm

Barge promised to bring in new ideas and people…..Turns out he is just like every other elected official. I would like to say that I am disappointed but it is to be expected. Bryant and his buddy are taken care of….SHAME ON YOU BARGE

HS Math Teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:25 pm

Turnaround Czar? Wonderful. Don’t you just love these geniuses who know how to “fix a school”? Why don’t they write a book and save the whole nation’s education problems? This great idea comes from our glorious capital, and all of those smart folks who created this trainwreck of a diploma system and granola math.

What needs doing won’t get done.

I think some of these educrats ought to try selling Amway for a living. Their chances of succeeding will be about as good as turning around our worst schools.

Double Zero Eight

December 20th, 2010
9:34 pm

I thought downsizing was the buzz word. As usual, more rhetoric and lies from the
republicans. Where is the outrage from the tea party?


December 20th, 2010
9:44 pm

And the political beat goes on and on…

I still think these fake investigations and made up positions are just ways for these elite folk to give their buddies a job.

mo tea…inside the house of segregation on this “Atlanta Plantation”…
Let’s race to the Disgraceful TOP.


December 20th, 2010
9:45 pm

Let’s MAKE a DEAL!


December 20th, 2010
9:50 pm

A Man in Full…doesn’t explain the REAL ATLANTA..

I think Margaret Mitchell explained it best …in GONE WITH THE WIND…
Atlanta Public Schools checks and balances…and RACE TO THE TOP…
Gone with the Wind

And Beverly Hall will resign with a smile on her face.

HS Math Teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:56 pm

“Solve”, not “save” – I’m under the delusion someone gives a crap. I’m poor at English. I’m better at Gibberish.


December 20th, 2010
9:58 pm


December 20th, 2010
10:04 pm

If they are looking for correct spelling and correct English on a Blog…Get a life!

Get the point…
Or take a hike and pick your nose on a higher level…

This is as real as it gets…Nothing held back…all hands on the table.
If you think you’sa so high and mighty…and you can’t gain nothin from the common folk…
go have tea on the front porch…and snub somebody else. I get real information from the street.
All these educrates are smoke and mirrors…and most should be locked up.

N. Ga Teacher

December 20th, 2010
10:16 pm

So far the responses her have been of a very cynical, distrusting nature, and rightly so. But what if Ms. Hooker is truly great? What if she does things right? What if she has half a brain and realizes that “low performing schools” really means “kids from poverty homes” and thus realizes the blame is NOT that of teachers and principals but of home environment? (and I dare you to find a low-performing school in a upper middle-class or upperclass area!!) What if she is smart enough to demand strict attendance and discipline at schools, expels habitual offenders and disruptors? What if she realizes that Class Keys and NCLB are stupid ways to go about things and really respects the judgements, work and values of teachers because she herself was one, and agrees to teacher-established agendas and procedures? ….what a dream…


December 20th, 2010
10:17 pm

TurnAround Schools…
Pleazzzzzzzzzzzzz…Someone needs to turn Atlanta Public Schools upside down…
I think they are all cut from the same mold.

And Beverly Hall needs to sing Teddy Bear …Teddy Bear Turn Around…
This just another joke with the misuse of Georgia’s Public Money Tree.


December 20th, 2010
10:20 pm

@N.GA TEACHER and how much should we pay for all of this superior leadership…
Give this money to a teacher that cares enough to get down on their hands and knees and help a child.

Sorry…I have no respect left for these people…


December 20th, 2010
10:26 pm

maybe they couldn’t find one – “a teacher that cares enough,” that is…


December 20th, 2010
10:42 pm

Atlanta Public Schools…Bullied and Silenced…What do you think is happening with our children?

You are right…maybe they could not keep one that would sell their soul to keep their mouth shut…

Turning a blind eye in the Hitler/ APS Camp…Who will finally be brave enough to knock down corruption door? How many stories could be told if someone would protect them from this vile leadership?


December 20th, 2010
11:00 pm

Way to go N. Ga. Teacher you hit the nail on the heaed! Low proforming schools are from low income areas. Just like bullying in school, with some parents, it’s unreal how they let their kids run amuck and to heck with teaching them manners,respect or that learning is essential. You are right N.Ga. Teacher and more people should speak out about exactly what you said. It’s a sad situation with the schools today but it all leads right back to the parents and the upbringing. Parents blame teachers when it’s really their fault and no one else’s.

Is this really going to help the students?

December 20th, 2010
11:49 pm

Wow- is this really the best plan that we can come up with? Let continue to increase the layers of ‘management’ during a budget crisis…… We’ll add more 6 figure managers that won’t have anyone to manage because of Deal’s budget cuts…. Who’s going to actually help the students, schools, teachers and parents?

Also, director of external affairs? Don’t they already have a deputy superintendent and an associate superintendent of external affairs?? Why do they need another person?


December 21st, 2010
5:43 am

Not a single positive post. Barge has not even moved into the twin towers and he’s already a “failure,” according to these post. Can we at least give him a little time in the position before jumping to all these conclusions?

Say WHAT??

December 21st, 2010
6:15 am

@HS Public Teacher this might be someone they “know”- Is the Matthew Gambill above by chance related to the “Special Assistant to the Superintendent” Bill Gambill?? 11/20 post on Get Schooled blog.. Nepotism anyone?


December 21st, 2010
6:42 am

YES! Matthew Gambill is the son of Bill Gambill….both idiots! One need only see Bill Gambill has been with the Department for years to see what is wrong the DOE central office. Major butt kisser – so, his son has an example to follow as the Department’s lobbyist.


December 21st, 2010
7:07 am

I know Sylvia. She worked for my system-once, She has worked for several systems. Add your own description of effectiveness. She will leave and go somewhere else soon. From the beginning I said that all RTTT would do is add more administrators. This money will in no way reach the students. Even though my system did not sign up (and I’m so glad), the fiasco will touch us in unpleasant ways.

DeKalb mom

December 21st, 2010
7:27 am

Unimpressed. The turn around czar for the bottom performing schools has all the fake education degrees from one of the worst performing state colleges. I hope she does not come to the job with the same false sense of superiority that most of Georgia’s education world has. I am so sick of the entire group of over paid, undereducated educrats that this state has cultivated. It is unbelievable.


December 21st, 2010
7:39 am

More money WASTED.


December 21st, 2010
7:39 am

I once worked with a retired teacher, who had also been a school improvement specialist. He was supportive of teachers, backed our ideas to the paper-pushing administrator and strange as it may seem…tests scores did improve….especially among underachieving Black males. By mid year their parents knew we were not backing down with grades and testing rules and the students started showing up for remedial work.

Dr. Tim

December 21st, 2010
8:33 am

Another big salary with (I gurantee) no payoff for Georgia stidents.


December 21st, 2010
8:58 am

oldtimer: One of my colleagues–an excellent teacher– ended up in the system central office. He was fabulous! About the only CO person who has ever been in touch with the classroom and listened to the teachers. They took away a large portion of his responsibilities and gave them to someone who had already profited greatly from a very stupid federal program what channeled tremendous amounts of money into Bush’s friends’ pockets. He put up with it for two years, then left to a better situation. It was a tremendous loss for us.

The reason everyone is so negative, Atlas, is because they had hoped the pattern would be broken. This man claimed to be “different”. They are tired of Republicans talking about “saving money” when actually they mean “spending more money”. They are tired about the talk of “rightsizing government” when they actually mean “adding more chiefs to supervise the work of ever-decreasing Indians.”

I am ready to start a recall on EVERYONE who was elected to state government, the day after they are sworn in.


December 21st, 2010
9:01 am

For people who posted in the thread “UGA or Duke? Do elite schools reap greater returns?”, hope this is informative.

“Director of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (Audrey Bergeron) –She received her undergraduate degree in Business Education from Augusta State University and a Master’s Degree, Education Specialist in Business Education and Education Specialist in Leadership from Troy State University.”

“Director of Governmental Affairs (Matthew Gambill) –He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political
Science from Lee University.”

“Dan Carter as Deputy Superintendent for External Affairs. Carter received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Georgia Southwestern College.”

HS Public Teacher

December 21st, 2010
9:23 am

Again, what can we do about it?

Georgia voters continue to vote for republicans that continue to do this to education. They pad the top positions at the State DOE and make major cutbacks to the classrooms for the actual students.

Georgia education going to the proverbial “h@ll in a hand basket” bascially because that is what Georgia voters want!

HS Public Teacher

December 21st, 2010
9:24 am


Point made. However, how do we stop this? It is evident that these losers from these weak colleges are running Georgia education into the ground. This is OUR tax dollars. What do we do?

HS Public Teacher

December 21st, 2010
9:26 am

Everyone -

Here is what we do! Let’s turn a blind eye, watch FOX news, continue to vote republican, give more tax cuts to the most wealthy, and then just hope that things will get better!!!!


December 21st, 2010
9:55 am

I’m not sure why anyone should be surprised….many on this blog said RttT would only create a network of red tape and require additional positions at the DOE and district central offices.

Hate to say I told you so…

Give it a year, and then conduct an audit. Look at how many positions were created by RttT…including support staff (secretaries, assistants, etc). Take out any teaching positions that were created to work directly with students (instructional coaches don’t count) and see exactly how much of the RttT monies made it directly to the classroom level.

Oh and look out for RttT money enabling local districts to re-direct funds within their own budgets. I suspect this is what has happened in the districts that have dropped their furlough days. Money from RttT may not be paying for the furlough days but it is going somewhere else in the budget that then frees up money in another area.


December 21st, 2010
10:01 am

Revolt—Keep on asking for open records…Keep asking for investigations…Call the Governor’s Office…Call 9/11…Keep watching and listening…

Report… Report… and Report…and write…write… and write some more.

Maureen Downey

December 21st, 2010
10:01 am

GNGS, I noticed those colleges as well, but I have to tell you one thing that I have come to realize about homegrown and home-educated talent, whether in DOE or in DOT. They sometimes don’t see beyond Georgia’s borders. They maintain that this is how things have always been done in Georegia and we can’t learn much from Massachusetts or, heavens forbid, Europe. That has been changing, especially in DOE, and I wonder if Kathy Cox’s Emory background was part of the reason.
On the other hand, when Georgia hires expert consultants, I have also noticed that many
of them have impressive educational pedigrees, boasting degrees from the Harvards and UPenns.

HS Public Teacher

December 21st, 2010
10:05 am

@Maureen -

I think you mis-state them as “home grown talent”. Their growth is rather limited, it seems! They grow in the ‘old boys network’ and that seems to be about it.

HS Math Teacher

December 21st, 2010
10:32 am

I wish John Barge would have an Anti-Social Promotion Czar. Now that would be an interesting staffing move. Hire some ex GT defensive lineman. Have him drive up to a public middle school in a jeep, wearing army boots, no shave, and a kick ass expression. Have him explain to our Czar why he’s trying to re-engineer society in his own little world to correct the wrongs that have been unfairly dealt to his “poor little children”. The czar leaves the meeting, after he’s kicked a hole in the front of this principal’s Walmart particle board desk, and tells the principal he’s got one year to turn his ship around, or his butt is fired.

Northside APS Teacher

December 21st, 2010
10:35 am

I have lost almost all my faith in america.

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 21st, 2010
10:40 am

Don’t blame me, I voted for Barnes. :)


December 21st, 2010
10:41 am

So Georgia schools basically stink and live at the bottom of all performance testing and standards?

Here’s what we’ll do…wait for it…hire more bureaucrats! And give them fancy titles like ‘Deputy Superintendent for Turnaround Schools,’Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning,’ ‘Race to the Top Implementation Director’ and ‘Director of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education.’

That’ll fix everything!

Hey Teacher

December 21st, 2010
10:50 am

Send one of these new DOE hires into my classroom for a few days — I’d be happy to hand my students over to one of the “experts” if they think they can do a better job. Come to think of it, I have 150 exams they can grade, too.

What's best for kids?

December 21st, 2010
10:54 am

Yet people will still go out and vote Republican. What were you expecting? If you really wanted change you should have voted for the Libertarians.