Atlanta, GA - Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods held listening sessions with 400 teachers and counselors this month at Georgia Gwinnett College [VIDEO], Valdosta State University, and the University of North Georgia to share ideas for improving the teacher pipeline, eliminating teaching barriers in the classroom, and creating better learning environments.

"Hearing directly from Georgia educators is vital to the continued success of education in our state," said Governor Kemp. "Our teachers and counselors do invaluable work every day, and I appreciate their willingness to share ideas, questions, and concerns with state leaders during this listening tour. By working together, we will ensure that they are equipped to succeed in the classroom and on campus. My office, along with Superintendent Woods and the Department of Education, will continue to prioritize education in Georgia and put students first."

“Talking directly with hundreds of Georgia teachers about their experiences in the classroom was powerful,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “What’s also powerful is having a Governor who prioritizes spending time with, and truly listening to, these educators. We heard from them about what’s working and what’s not, and are equipped with better information as we continue our efforts to reduce the standardized testing burden, approach accountability more reasonably and responsibly, and expand opportunities for Georgia’s kids.”

The Governor and Superintendent answered teachers' questions about recently approved funding for additional high school mental health counselors, each school's $30,000 grant for campus safety initiatives, the historic $3,000 educator pay raise, and the Quality Basic Education formula's second, consecutive year of full funding. Attendees discussed testing and concerns about accurately measuring students’ educational improvements. Among the educators at the three sessions were participants in the Governor’s School Leadership Academy. The academy is working with aspiring and current principals, new teachers, and long-time educators to support and highlight career growth opportunities through leadership training.

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