Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced his selection of various agency and state office leaders that will take effect in the coming year. Dr. Dean Burke will resign his state senate seat, effective December 30, to become Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Community Health. A special election for his Senate District 11 seat will take place on January 31, 2023. In addition to her current duties as Georgia Department of Transportation Planning Director, Jannine Miller will become Executive Director for the State Road & Tollway Authority, effective January 16. Governor Kemp will also recommend her to serve as Executive Director for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority. Current Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) Commissioner Tim Ward will join the Board of Pardons and Paroles, following the retirement of Brian Owens, effective January 1. Current Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Tyrone Oliver will become GDC Commissioner, also effective January 1. DJJ Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb will serve as Interim Commissioner.

"With a long and accomplished medical career in rural Georgia, as well as extensive policy experience as Chairman of the Community Health Sub-Committee and Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Burke will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role of Chief Medical Officer," said Governor Brian Kemp. "I'm thankful for his willingness to serve in this new capacity for the benefit of all Georgians, including those in our rural communities.

"Jannine Miller is another great public servant who will also now further her statewide impact. She has distinguished herself as a leader in the field of transportation and infrastructure on both the state and national levels. Jannine will bring an innovative approach and a deep knowledge of the issues facing commuters and those who move Georgia made products through and beyond Georgia as she steps into these new roles.

"I'm also thankful for the decades of service that Tim Ward has given to the people of Georgia in our corrections system. Over those many years, he has seen all aspects of our prisons and the people impacted by them, most of whom will eventually return to society. That makes him uniquely qualified for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and I am glad he will continue his public service in this capacity.

"I am likewise grateful that Tyrone Oliver will further his innovative approach and dedication to protecting Georgians at the Department of Corrections. His many years of law enforcement experience on both the local and state levels will serve the agency, those housed in our prison system, and our communities well. I look forward to the impact he will have in this new leadership role."

"Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank Brian Owens for his years of service to the people of our state. Like Commissioner Ward, he led the Department of Corrections with dedication and care before joining the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Marty and I are wishing him many years of happiness in a well earned retirement."

Dean Burke currently represents Senate District 11, consisting of Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller, and Seminole counties along with portions of Mitchell and Thomas counties. He serves as Chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee and Vice Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and Ethics Committee. He also serves as Chairman of the Community Health Sub-Committee, which is responsible for over 14 percent of the total state budget. Prior to being elected to the State Senate, he served on the Bainbridge City Council for five years and on the Lower Flint Water Council.

Dr. Burke currently serves as Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Hospital and Manor in Bainbridge and also Chairs the Stratus Healthcare Governing Board. He is a former member of the Hospital Authority of the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County. Dr. Burke graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia Southwestern University and went on to graduate from the Medical College of Georgia. He received his specialty training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercer University School of Medicine and practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 27 years.

Dr. Burke and his wife, Thea, have been married for over 38 years and have two children and three grandchildren. They are members of the First United Methodist Church in Bainbridge.

Jannine Miller is the Director of Planning at the Georgia Department of Transportation, serving on the Executive Leadership Team alongside Commissioner Russell McMurry. She was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp and confirmed by the General Assembly in 2020. In this role, Miller is responsible for the short and long-term planning and investment strategy of state and federal transportation funds for roads and bridges.

Throughout her career, Miller has served in numerous leadership roles, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor to former Secretary Elaine Chao at the U.S. Department of Transportation and as Senior Advisor to then-Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, responsible for programs and policies related to rural infrastructure development and financing.

Previously, Miller served as Director of the Center of Innovation for Logistics at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Finance at The Home Depot, Executive Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and Senior Planner at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Miller earned her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, a master's in Public Administration, Planning & Economic Development from the same institution, and an M.B.A. in Global Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Timothy "Tim" Ward was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp as the Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2019 where he oversees roughly 10,000 employees in protecting the public through supervising more than 50,000 state offenders while reducing recidivism through education and healthcare programs. Ward began his career with the Department in 1992 at Scott State Prison as a Correctional Officer and eventually rose to Chief of Staff in 2016.

Ward serves on the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and is one of 28 Commissioners nationally on the American Correctional Association for the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections. He is an active member of the Southern States Correctional Association, the Georgia Professional Association of Community Supervision, the American Correctional Association, and the Georgia Prison Warden’s Association. He holds a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Savannah State University and a master’s in Public Administration from Columbus State University. Ward and his wife have three children and resides in Milledgeville.

Tyrone Oliver currently serves as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and oversees the daily operation of the multi-faceted agency that holds justice-involved youth accountable through probation supervision and secure detention. Governor Kemp appointed him to this role in 2019.

Commissioner Oliver began his law enforcement career in 1999 as a Detention Officer with the Newton County Sheriff's Office. He served in multiple leadership positions in his career before being named Chief of Police for the City of Social Circle. In 2018, he became Deputy City Manager.

Under Commissioner Oliver's current leadership at DJJ, the agency has focused on restoring youth inside and outside of detention through social programs, education, credible messenger mentorship, and wraparound services. This community-focused approach has increased educational opportunities and job placement for youth throughout Georgia, decreasing gang affiliation and increasing successful reentry. The Department's F.R.E.S.H. Start Youth Initiative, which has received national attention, is becoming a model approach for successfully partnering with companies, community leaders, and institutes of higher learning to provide employment, training, and scholarship funding for justice-involved youth.

In November 2022, Commissioner Oliver was elected Vice President of the American Correctional Association (ACA), the nation's oldest accrediting body for the corrections industry. In 2022, he was elected Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators. He also serves on the Board of Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund, the State Workforce Development Board, and the executive committees for the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Department of Community Supervision.

Commissioner Oliver is a graduate of Columbus State University's Law Enforcement Professional Management Program. He also completed Leadership Newton County and Walton County, the Federal Bureau of Investigations Law Enforcement Executive Development Program, the Leadership Trilogy Program, and the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange to Israel.


Interim Director of Communications Andrew Isenhour


Communications Specialist Carter Chapman