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Henry County Board of Education Takes Top Honor As State’s Governance Team of the Year

HENRY COUNTY, GA – At this year’s joint conference of the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) and Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA), Henry County Board of Education took the top honor as the 2023 Governance Team of the Year.

This announcement at the 2023 GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference on Nov. 30 in Atlanta, combined with the board’s fourth consecutive Exemplary Board recognition by GSBA and Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis’ recognition as a finalist for Georgia Superintendent of the Year by GSSA, was a resounding victory in the midst of a school year focused on “Winning for Kids” with more learning, more growing, and more celebrating.

“This is a landmark day for Henry County Schools,” said Board Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 2). “We are truly honored to have been recognized with the state’s most coveted award for a Board of Education, which reflects our deep commitment to unified governance and laser focus on achieving results for students.”

The Governance Team of the Year award recognizes the combined efforts of each board member to the district’s success through effective governance, leadership, and advocacy for student achievement.

GSBA annually presents the award to three schools – one in each category of Small, Medium, and Large systems. Henry County, a finalist for the third consecutive year, was the winner in the Large System category, alongside co-finalists from Bryan and Walton counties.

The Georgia Schools Superintendent of the Year is selected from nominations by boards of education, colleagues, community members, and businesspeople across the state. Dr. Davis was one of four finalists, including Dr. Fred Williams of Dublin City Schools, Dr. Fred Longgrear of Candler County Schools, and Dr. Marc Feuerbach of Cartersville City Schools.

“These honors are a reflection of the best team of professionals in public education today. I am proud to represent Henry County Schools’ more than 6,000 employees who work tirelessly to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every one of our nearly 44,000 students,” said Superintendent Davis. “We are humbled by these awards, which will only further our desire to keep winning for HCS, for every kid, every minute, every day.”

In recent years, the Board of Education and Superintendent have spearheaded marked improvements in state accountability measures and closing achievement gaps, including removing all “F” rated schools from the governor’s failing schools list. They have also led enhancements in operational and fiscal management, proactive measures to respond to the needs of one of the fastest-growing counties in Georgia, and development of innovative programs such as the first STEM high school in Georgia’s Southern Crescent region, planned for the 2026-2027 school year.

“The Henry County Board of Education has been very intentional in taking strategic actions that reflect responsible stewardship from the community to the boardroom to the classroom,” said Board Vice Chair Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “And that strategy has been quite instrumental to achieving many of our goals, with many more on the horizon.”

“This board will continue to exemplify excellence in education and foster an environment that promotes student success, innovation, and community engagement,” added Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 5). “These accolades reinforce our commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for all students.”

The Board of Education has received multiple Leading Edge Awards from GSBA, and its work has been featured in national, regional, and state conference presentations. Additionally, Superintendent Davis, who was appointed in 2017, has received the GSSA President’s Award for outstanding leadership and was named to the nonprofit group of national educational leaders Chiefs for Change.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without a focus on accountability, transparency, and community,” said Board Member Holly Cobb (Dist. 3). “Setting our focus on a Community-Inspired Strategic Plan with community-driven priority student outcomes has been crucial to the type of effective leadership these awards recognize.”

“These awards are a win for all of Henry County,” added Board Member Pam Nutt (Dist. 1). “This recognition reflects the hard work and dedication of our entire community – from our educators to our support staff, students, parents, and community partners.”

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.