Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods, shown during a visit to Albany's 4-C Academy, took part in a recent statewide fact-finding educational tour.

ATLANTA – The Governor's Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education held in-depth listening sessions at all 16 Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) across Georgia for the first time. RESAs represent 180 school systems in 159 counties with roughly 2,200 schools, 114,800 teachers, and 1.7 million students. Gov. Brian Kemp, GOSA, and GaDOE will use feedback from this tour for future education policy initiatives.

"My office is committed to working with state, local and federal partners to ensure a world-class education for our children and put Georgia students first," Kemp said in a news release. "On this tour, I was honored to meet with and learn from educators, students, superintendents and local officials. Together, we were able to celebrate a truly historic legislative session with the largest teacher pay raise in state history, $69 million in school safety funding, and a doubled investment in mental health support for students."

State School Superintendent Richard Woods said the tour generated valuable feedback.

“It was an honor to partner with Gov. Kemp, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and the 16 RESAs on this statewide tour," Woods said. "I am grateful to the many local superintendents, board members and educators who took the time to share their feedback, as well as the State Board of Education members and members of the General Assembly who participated.

"We will now review the comments and plan for the future. It is an exciting time for Georgia to have the Governor’s Office, GOSA, and GaDOE working together with a clear focus on supporting our students and teachers. We have a great opportunity to accelerate the positive direction that public education has taken within our state.”

School leaders from across the state provided input to state officials during the tour.

"I appreciate the fact that Gov. Kemp and Superintendent Woods spent time with school superintendents, district leaders and teachers, listening to their ideas to improve our students’ education," Joy Hawkins, executive director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, said. "This first-ever listening tour with Gov. Kemp, GOSA and GaDOE provided critical information to guide us on education policy and budgets.

"With collaboration at the state and local levels, we are well-positioned to tackle hard issues. I am optimistic, as are our school superintendents, that we are entering a 'perfect storm' where education and state leaders are aligned, focused and eager to move the needle on education."

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