Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced the appointment and re-appointment of 35 people to various state boards, authorities, and commissions, as well as one district attorney position.
Georgia Council on Literacy
Gary Bingham is a professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education and Director of the Urban Child Study Center in the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State University. He is also a governing board member of the Institute of Education Sciences Southeast Regional Education Laboratory and a steering committee member of the Board of Regents Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy Initiative. Bingham is a former preschool teacher who earned his Ph.D. in child development and family studies from Purdue University. Bingham’s research is published in high-quality early childhood and language and literacy journals, including Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Reading Research Quarterly, Early Education and Development, Reading and Writing, and Language, and Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the American Education Research Journal, Early Education and Development, and The Reading Teacher.
Stan DeJarnett was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp as the Tenth Congressional District Representative to the State Board of Education and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board. He served for over 30 years as an educator in Georgia public schools as a music teacher, curriculum specialist, principal, and district leader. Prior to retirement, he served as Superintendent of the Morgan County Charter School System in Madison. Additionally, DeJarnett served for eight years as the Director of the Georgia Vision Project, a statewide initiative committed to promoting and improving public education. He has served in several leadership roles at the state and national level. DeJarnett received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Carolina University and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from The University of Georgia.
Amy Denty is Director of Literacy at the Georgia Department of Education. Prior to that role, she served as the Instructional Specialist in the Office of Rural Education and Innovation. She has spent her entire 33-year educational career working in rural schools and is passionate about ensuring that every classroom has a quality teacher who is supported in the most important work – educating students. Denty recently served as Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the Wayne County School System in Jesup, Georgia. She was the 2000 Georgia Teacher of the Year and was certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards from 2001 - 2021. Denty has served as president of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators as well as on a number of statewide commissions. Denty received her undergraduate degree in Middle Grades Education with an emphasis in Science from the University of Georgia. She attended the University of South Carolina for her interdisciplinary master’s degree in Education and Natural Sciences. She also holds a specialist’s degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia Southern University. Denty is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Valdosta State University where she is focusing on teacher retention in rural areas as her dissertation topic. She and her husband, Eric, have two sons.
Scott Johnson currently serves as the principal of Southern Strategic Solutions, LLC of Marietta. He also serves on the Georgia Student Finance Commission and the Board of Human Services, and he previously served as the 11th Congressional District representative on the State Board of Education. He is a graduate of Leadership Cobb and the Coverdell Leadership Institute. Johnson and his wife, Janet, reside in Cobb County. Johnson will serve as Chairman of the Georgia Council on Literacy.
Kelly McKay currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Rabun County Schools. In this role, she is responsible for curriculum, instructions, and assessment for Pre-K through 6th grade. Prior to her current role, she taught first and second grades and served as an assistant principal and principal for a primary school. McKay has worked with the Department of Education Rural Education Office to offer Science of Reading Training for the Rabun County School System. Passionate about literacy, McKay designed and led early literacy training for home daycare providers and helped create the Rabun County Literacy Leadership Team, which is focused on building a district literacy plan for tiers 1, 2, and 3. McKay earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and educational specialist degree in Teacher Leadership and an educational specialist degree in Educational Leadership from North Georgia College and State University.
Lindee Morgan is Executive Director of the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy. She is a licensed speech-language pathologist and has served in a variety of academic and administrative roles within the areas of communication sciences and disorders, autism, and language and literacy development in young children. Morgan brings over 25 years of varied professional activities in higher education and the public/private sector. Morgan has also served as an Associate Professor in the Division of Autism and Related Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, as the Co-Director of the Education Sciences Research Core at the Marcus Autism Center, and as the Co-Director of the Louise and Brett Samsky Preschool, both of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Previously, Morgan served in academic and administrative roles at Florida State University.
Andri Pilgrim is an Early Intervention Teacher and Title 1 Coordinator at Bremen City Schools. In this role, she designed Title 1 Checklists to focus on developmentally appropriate dates for different grade levels, implemented the R.E.S.C.U.E. project from the Haskins Global Literacy Project with students, and worked as a teacher liaison with researchers from the University of Connecticut to help prevent learning loss in literacy for students during the pandemic. Pilgrim started the Pre-K program for Bremen City Schools in 1994 and has also served as a Reading Endorsement Instructor for Northwest Georgia RESA and an online ESOL teacher. She earned a bachelor's in Psychology and Education, a master's of Education in Guidance and Counseling, and an educational specialist degree in Guidance and Counseling.
Noris Price currently serves as the Superintendent of Baldwin County Schools in Milledgeville. Under her leadership, the Baldwin County School District has implemented instructional initiatives and strategies that have improved student performance while increasing the graduation rate from 66 percent to 88 percent. Previously, she served as Deputy Superintendent of the Clarke County School District. Across her 30-year career as an educator, she has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2022 Georgia Superintendent of the Year, Finalist for the 2022 National Superintendent of the Year, the 2022 Georgia Music Education Association Administrative Leadership Award, Georgia School Superintendents Association President’s Award, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Nova Southeastern University, the 2020 Georgia Charter System of the Year, Communities in School National “All In For Students” Award, and many others. Price has served on various state and national education leadership boards, including First Lady Marty Kemp's Georgia Children’s Cabinet, the Get Georgia Reading Campaign Board of Directors, and the Georgia Association of Curriculum and Instructional Supervisors. She earned a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a Certificate in Educational Leadership from George Mason University, a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Lehman College of the City University of New York, and a bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education from Wilmington College. She and her husband, Dr. Anthony Price, have one son.
Katie Seymore is an Instructional Coach at Putnam County Primary School. She began her career in Special Education, where she served as a Due Process Facilitator and Special Education Team leader. She then went on to teach first grade before stepping into her current role. In this position, Seymore has created and implemented a five-year literacy plan that included training and implementation of the most current research on literacy, among other improvements. She earned bachelors' degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education and a Master's of Education in Reading and Mathematics.
Julie Walker is Georgia’s State Librarian and Vice Chancellor for Libraries and Archives for the Georgia Public Library Service. She has also served as Deputy State Librarian and Program Director for the Public Information Network for Electronic Services, Georgia’s statewide library card program. She held professional positions in library systems in Georgia and North Carolina. Walker currently serves as president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and was past president of the Georgia Library Association. She is a graduate of the University System of Georgia’s Accelerated Leadership Academy, the University System's Executive Leadership Institute, and Leadership Athens. Walker is a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, the advisory board of Valdosta State University’s School of Library and Information Science, and the advisory committee of the University of Georgia’s Certified Public Manager program. She holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a master's in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Stephanie Westhafer is a first-grade teacher at West Jackson Elementary School in Hoschton. She was recognized as the Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year 2018-19, earned the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers STEM Scholar Award in 2022, and is currently serving as the Georgia Science Teachers Association Elementary Teacher of the Year. Westhafer has worked with the Georgia Department of Education as a lesson plan developer and as a presenter for the Science in Action Video Series. She currently also serves as the K-2 Science Specialist and is an avid researcher and advocate for literacy and science. Westhafer earned a bachelor of science degree in Early Childhood Education, a master's in Elementary Education, and an educational specialist degree and doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. She and her husband, Michael, have three children and reside in Jackson County.
Ellen Wiley serves on the boards of trustees for Athens Academy, the Atlanta Speech School, and Trinity School. As an alumna of the University of Georgia, she also serves as an emeritus member of the university's Board of Visitors and the Henry Greene Decorative Arts Committee. She currently works as treasurer for the State Botanical Garden of Georgia’s Friends Endowment Fund. Wiley served on the Georgians First Committee to provide educational policy recommendations during Governor Brian Kemp’s transition into office. She and her family are active members of Christ Church Atlanta.
Georgia Composite Medical Board
Debbie Dalton and Matthew Noman were reappointed.
Board of Economic Development
Randall W. Hatcher was reappointed.
Board of Natural Resources
Harley Yancey currently serves as President of State Mutual Insurance Company in Rome, Georgia, and serves on its Board of Directors. Previously, he served as State Mutual’s General Counsel and practiced law with Brinson, Askew, Berry, Seigler, Richardson & Davis, LLP. Yancey also serves as Chairman for the Georgia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association and as a Director for the Oklahoma Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association. He sits on the Board of Directors for the United Community Bank of Rome, the Rome YMCA Board of Trustees, the Darlington School Alumni Council, and the Georgia School of Law Alumni Council. He will also serve as the Fourteenth Congressional District Representative on the Board of Natural Resources. Yancey earned a B.B.A. from the University of Georgia, a J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law, a Master of Laws from the University of Alabama, and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina. He and his wife, Anna, have one son.
Water Well Standards Advisory Council
Kevin Colwell is the CEO of Middle Georgia Water Systems and also currently serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Georgia Association of Ground Water Professionals Board of Directors. He holds a Georgia Water Well Contractors license as well as a Water Well Driller license in Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina. Colwell and his wife, Natalie, live in Pike County and have five children.
Jarrell Greene is a consultant and water well driller from Gray, Georgia. With almost fifty years of experience in the industry, he also served six years in the Georgia Air National Guard. Active in his community, Greene served as a Trustee Chairperson at Gray United Methodist Church, a County Board Member for the American Cancer Society, and Relay for Life Chairperson of the American Cancer Society. He earned a B.B.A. from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Beth, have three children.
Georgia Child Support Commission
Ben Land is a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Prior to his appointment by Governor Brian Kemp, he served on the Superior Court for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Previously, he served as a private practice attorney in Columbus for nearly 26 years, focusing on civil litigation. He was awarded the State Bar of Georgia's William B. Spann, Jr. Award for Pro Bono Advocacy, is a graduate of Leadership Columbus, and has served as the President of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Bar Association, the Columbus Inn of Court, and the Columbus Bar Association. He has also served as District Representative for the State Bar of Georgia's Younger Lawyers Division, as a member of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court, and on the boards of the Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity, the Pine Mountain Trail Association, and other community organizations. Judge Land graduated with Highest Honors from the University of Georgia where he also earned his law degree. While attending law school, he served on the Editorial Board of the Georgia Law Review, clerked for the Georgia Supreme Court, and was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority
Dick Anderson, Gary Bishop, and Teresa MacCartney were reappointed.
Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission
Stan Wise is an associate with the Pendleton Group, an Atlanta-based economic development consulting firm. He previously served on the Georgia Public Service Commission, having been elected statewide four consecutive times. He was first elected to public office as a Cobb County Commissioner in 1990 and served the county as a member of the Cobb County Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Wise was a Board Member of the ten-county Atlanta Regional Commission and was also appointed by U. S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to the National Petroleum Council. In 2003, his regulatory peers elected him President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. When Wise left office, he chaired the Gas Committee of NARUC for 3 years and served on the International Relations Committee. He also served as President of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Wise has served on the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Advisory Board, the Cobb County Public Schools Educational Foundation, Inc., the Board of Directors of the Cobb YMCA, the Boys Club of Cobb County, and the Advisory Board of the North Georgia Law Enforcement Academy. He owned and operated an insurance business in Cobb County for twenty years and earned a B.S. in Business Management from Charleston Southern University. He also proudly served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for six years. He and his wife, Denise, have been married for 49 years and have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Child Advocate Advisory Commission
Jennifer King is the Executive Director for Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Inc. In May 2018, she was selected to succeed Georgia CASA's longest-serving Executive Director as the fifth director in the organization's 30-year history. King previously served as the Program Operations Director, coordinating training and support services for local CASA affiliates, including 200 staff, 500 board members, and 2,700 volunteers. With degrees in Nonprofit Administration and Child Development, King has dedicated her career to making connections with and on behalf of children and families, alongside advocates and nonprofit leaders, and the larger community. She has worked with United Way of Greater Atlanta, National CASA, and many groups and committees involved in strengthening communities. King lives in Decatur with her family.
Georgia Technology Authority Board of Directors
Steve Adegbite is Head of Technical Program Management for Messaging & Web Security Research at Microsoft Corporation. With over 25 years of experience in cybersecurity and technology, he has worked in senior and executive positions in the United States Military, U.S. Intelligence Community, U.S. Defense Industrial Base, as well as the financial and technology sectors. Adegbite has provided cybersecurity expertise as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council for over ten years. He has also served as the Chairperson and Board member for the International Cybersecurity Forum (Forum of Incident Response and Security Team-FIRST).
Georgia Behavioral Analyst Licensing Board
Amber Furby is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst in Savanah, Georgia. She is the Co-Owner and Clinical Director at Grace Autism Services and owner of York Autism Services, which provides direct services to clients and school districts to support behavioral education needs. Furby partnered with the Global Autism Project and Saudi Health Council to provide training and direct support to the first Applied Behavioral Health Analysis Center in Saudi Arabia. She earned her undergraduate degree from Aurora University and a master’s from Arizona State University.
Coby Lund is CEO of Archer Behavioral Health. Prior to founding Archer, he was Vice President of Operations at Kadiant, a national ABA therapy provider. Lund is the former CEO of Integrated Behavioral Solutions and DataFinch Technologies, who built a data collection software tool for behavior analysts called Catalyst. Lund and his wife, Janet, have provided Applied Behavioral Analysis services to nearly 50 different school systems in the southeast, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, numerous private agencies, and hundreds of individuals and families. Lund is a past president of the Georgia Association for Behavior Analysis and specializes in autism, developmental disabilities, and behavior disorders. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, his master’s from Southern Illinois University, and a doctorate from Florida State University.
Maggie Molony currently runs Roots of Behavior LLC, which provides education and support to those seeking behavioral assistance. She first began working as a direct support professional at a psychiatric hospital, where she worked on all units, ranging from mental health and substance abuse to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She went on to work in-homes with children with autism and has also served as the Director of ABA Autism Services at Advantage Behavioral Health. Molony serves on the Georgia Association for Behavior Analysis board. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bellarmine University and a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. She then went on to earn a doctorate in Special Education at the University of Georgia while creating and running a program specific to caregivers in a behavior clinic. Molony and her family live in Watkinsville.
Robin Osborne is the Assistant Clinical Manager at Pathways Autism Center in McDonough, Georgia. In this role, she creates and implements behavior interventions and reduction procedures, along with individualized learning programs, for clients ranging from 2 to 18 years old. She is a Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst with extensive experience in supervising, training, and evaluating the direct instructional staff in the implementation of the principles and standards of applied behavior analysis. Osborne earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and continued her studies in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Southern Regional Education Board
Matt Dubnik represents State House District 29 in the Georgia General Assembly and is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Education Subcommittee. After working as an information security specialist for Siemens Energy and Automation, he transitioned his career to nonprofit fundraising, serving as a regional director for Ducks Unlimited. In 2009, he joined an internet marketing agency based in Gainesville, where he became a partner and the Vice President of Internet Marketing. Currently, he serves as Chief Engagement Officer of Forum Communications, a full-service strategic marketing agency focused on helping businesses, nonprofits and startups find their voice in a crowded marketplace. He serves on multiple nonprofit boards, is a deacon at his church, and serves in numerous local and state volunteer leadership positions. Dubnik earned a B.S. in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a member of First Baptist Church Gainesville and resides in Gainesville with his wife, Katie, and their two sons.
Billy Hickman represents State Senate District 4 in the Georgia General Assembly and is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education. A certified public
accountant, he joined Dabbs, Hickman, Hill, and Cannon, LLP in 1974. He previously served in a variety of leadership positions, including past Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of the Georgia Southern University Foundation, President of the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce, and he currently serves on the Board of East
Georgia Regional Medical Center. Hickman graduated from Georgia Southern College. He and his wife, Jo Ann, have two sons and five grandsons. They are active members of First Baptist Church of Statesboro.
Georgia Joint Defense Commission
Kay Kirkpatrick was reappointed.
John L. Eunice III is the Deputy Base Civil Engineer for Moody Air Force Base in Lowndes County, Georgia. As a part of the 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron, he oversees the construction and maintenance of base facilities and infrastructure, the provision of fire emergency services and explosive ordinance disposal, and the management of emergency services and environmental stewardship. Prior to taking his current position, he served for 27 years in the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of colonel. While on active duty, he served two command tours, serving as Commander of the 36th and 347th Civil Engineer Squadrons. Eunice retired from active duty as the Director of Installations and Mission Support for Air Forces Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and his Master of Science in Construction Engineering from the University of Florida. He and his wife, Tammy, have three adult children.
Al Konetzni is a retired Vice Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Konetzni attended the Naval Academy and graduated with merit. A career Nuclear Submariner, he has successfully commanded at all levels and has extensive experience in strategic planning, financial and personnel management, engineering, innovation, foreign affairs, leadership, and lecturing. During his time as Commander of all United States Submarines in the Pacific from 1998 until 2001, he engineered and executed an innovative plan to solve the Navy's high attrition of young sailors, reducing attrition in the Pacific Force from 25 percent to 7 percent in just over two years. From May 2001 through July 2004 as Deputy Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Konetzni was responsible for the readiness and performance of 160 ships, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and 50 bases and facilities manned by more than 133,000 personnel. He went on to serve as President of West Valley Environmental Services LLC and served as Senior Vice President of Federal Services at Eastern Operations of Energy Solutions. He also served as Vice President of Strategic Business Programs and General Manager of the Marine Services Division for Oceaneering International, Inc., before retiring. He holds a master’s in Industrial Personnel Administration from George Washington University and has co-authored the book Command the Sea. Konetzni received two Distinguished Service Medals, six awards of the Legion of Merit, three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, and the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal.
Conasauga Judicial Circuit District Attorney
Benjamin Bruce Kenemer has worked in the District Attorney's Office for the Conasauga Judicial Circuit since 2006. During that time, he served as a general practitioner in Whitfield County, a felony/serious crimes prosecutor in Murray County, a general practitioner with a sex crimes concentration in Whitfield County, and as chief child and sexual abuse prosecutor. Prior to this record of service, he worked as an associate attorney for the Law Offices of Rick Brown, Esq. Kenemer earned his bachelor's degree from Mercer University and his J.D. from the Mercer University School of Law. He and his wife, Bethany, have two daughters and reside in Dalton.
Small Business Environmental Compliance Advisory Panel
Allen Fox is the inaugural Director of Small Business Outreach with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). In this capacity, he oversees the state’s outreach strategy relative to small business assistance and support. His “State of Small Business” initiative articulates every resource provided by the various divisions within GDEcD. He also works with venture capitalist and startup communities to make Georgia a welcoming environment for entrepreneurs. Fox joined GDEcD as the Director of Creative Industry Partnerships working with Georgia’s thriving music, film, and digital entertainment industries. Previously, he was a senior consultant in the private sector, specializing in corporate solutions for many Fortune 500 companies, including IHG and UPS. He also worked in public affairs, leading corporate coalitions devoted to pro-business legislation and initiatives. A member of Governor Brian Kemp’s Transition Committee, Fox has also worked with various elected officials at the state and federal level. He is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association and the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Fox earned a master’s in science from Georgia Tech and a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Furman University.