Category Archives: Whitfield

Deal Announces Innovation Fund Grant Award Winners

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced 18 grant award winners for the Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that provides funding to local education authorities and schools to further advance student achievement in Georgia.

“The Innovation Fund Grant is an opportunity to fuel the innovative ideas of Georgia’s education leaders and students throughout the state,” said Deal. “I am confident this funding will give schools and education groups a greater opportunity to develop methods to ensure that every Georgia student is given the tools necessary for academic achievement.”

The programs are aligned with the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education; development and replication of blended learning school models; birth to age eight language and literacy development; and teacher and leader development for high-need schools.

Grantees will evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and submit their findings to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The state will use these findings to determine best practices in each of the priority areas.

The grant award winners and their respective programs are listed below:

Planning Grants

Planning grants will provide each winner between $5,000 to $10,000 over one year to research and develop an innovative education program aligned with one of the Innovation Fund priority areas.

Baldwin County School District
Read Baldwin County

Clarke County School District
Coaching for Innovation in P-3 Language & Literacy

Charles R. Drew Charter School
21CLM: Promoting School Innovation and Success throughout Georgia

Elm Street Elementary
STEAM in 3D- Dream, Design, DO!

Greenwood Learning Center/Rome Transitional Academy
Building STEAM

Houston County Schools
Read to Lead

Liberty Tech
Every Student, Every Day: Applied Service Learning

North Heights Elementary
Growing Up Green

Screven County Elementary School
School and Family Ties

Tattnall County Board of Education
Lead-Read-Succeed: Developing Teachers and Leaders to Achieve Student Literacy Mastery

Telfair County Schools
Tiny Trojans Early Literacy Program

West End Elementary
SusTEAMability: Sustaining Pollinators

 Implementation Grants

Implementation grants will provide each winner between $600,000 and $700,000 over two years to pilot an innovative education program aligned with one of the Innovation Fund priority areas.

 Cobb County School District
KickStART Cobb: Using the Power of Arts Integration to Fuel Early Language and Literacy Development

Whitfield County Schools
Beyond the Classroom 

Scaling Grants

Scaling grants will provide each winner between $250,000 and $700,000 over two years to scale a successful existing program to serve more students, teachers or leaders.

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School
CREATE (Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness)

Carroll County School System
Full STEAM Ahead

Gwinnett County Public Schools
Gear-Up for Graduation!

Thomas County School System
Scaling of Blended Learning to Thomas County Central High School

Descriptions of the winning proposals are here.  (PDF)

About the Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund invests in public education entities that aggressively develop and scale programs that enable Georgia educators to improve student performance and tackle our state’s most significant education challenges.  In 2011, The Innovation Fund began as a $19.4 million competitive grant competition created under Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) Plan. To continue the Innovation Fund’s work beyond RT3, Governor Deal appropriated state funding for Fiscal Years (FY) 2015, 2016, and 2017. Since its inception, the Innovation Fund has invested $32 million of state and federal funding through 84 grants to 55 school districts, charter schools, postsecondary institutions and nonprofit organizations to pilot innovative education programs, ranging in focus from teacher and leader induction and development to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) applied learning, blended learning, and birth to age eight language and literacy development.  More information about the Innovation Fund can be found on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website.

Deal: Mohawk Industries to create 200 jobs in Dalton

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Mohawk Industries, the world’s largest flooring manufacturer, will expand its existing vinyl flooring operations in Dalton-Whitfield County. This project will significantly increase the company’s current U.S. luxury vinyl tile (LVT) manufacturing capacity. The $100 million capital investment in infrastructure and equipment will generate approximately 200 jobs for the region. 

 “Mohawk’s continued expansion in Georgia underscores how a premier flooring manufacturer helps Georgia’s entire floor covering industry remain competitive,” said Deal. “This is a great indicator of the strength of the carpet and floor covering industry. We look forward to Mohawk’s continued job creation and investment in our state.”

  The project will increase Mohawk’s production of flexible and rigid LVT (WPC) products for both residential and commercial applications. Mohawk currently employs more than 34,000 individuals worldwide and approximately 10,250 in Georgia.

 “Mohawk currently is starting up its Dalton LVT plant, which will be operating at full capacity by the end of 2016,” said Brian Carson, president of Mohawk Industries’ Flooring North America segment. “This major investment to expand our U.S. LVT production will meet increased demand for our unique products and enhance Mohawk’s position as the global leader in LVT, the world’s fastest growing flooring category.”

 Mohawk acquired the IVC Group in 2015, positioning the company at the forefront of the global vinyl flooring market. The acquisition added state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities in both in Europe and North America, including the world’s largest, most efficient LVT production lines in Dalton-Whitfield County.

 “As the flooring industry leader, we will bring the same exceptional design and performance features to the LVT that we have in our other product categories,” said Carson. “Combined with our industry-leading national distribution system, this expansion will provide our customers with the broadest product offering and the highest level of service in the LVT category.”

 “This is the third major investment on this site and this expansion will complete the build-out of the property that we prepared for IVC back in 2010,” said Whitfield County Commission Chairman Mike Babb. “This is proof that the economic development process works and that the effort was worthwhile. We are very pleased that the company continues to grow and thrive and we appreciate all that Mohawk does to help our community.”

 Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) regional project manager Stephanie Scearce represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with Mohawk Industries, Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority and Dalton Utilities.

 We are excited about Mohawk’s choice to expand their operations in Dalton-Whitfield County,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “Existing industry accounts for a major portion of the state’s investment and job opportunities, and we look forward to working with Mohawk and our partners in Dalton-Whitfield County to ensure they have the resources they need to continue to deepen their economic footprint here.”

 About Mohawk Industries

Mohawk Industries is a leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk’s vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, hardwood, stone and vinyl flooring. Our industry-leading innovation has yielded products and technologies that differentiate our brands in the marketplace and satisfy all remodeling and new construction requirements. Our brands are among the most recognized in the industry and include Mohawk, American Olean, Bigelow, Daltile, Durkan, IVC, Karastan, Lees, Marazzi, Pergo, Quick-Step and Unilin. During the past decade, Mohawk has transformed its business from an American carpet manufacturer into the world’s largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

Highland Rivers Health names Nizamuddin Khaja, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Nizamuddin Khaja, MD

DALTON, Georgia – Highland Rivers Health announced that Nizamuddin Khaja, MD, a board certified psychiatrist and medical director of the agency’s residential treatment unit in Cedartown for the past seven years, has been named chief medical officer. In this role, Khaja will oversee the agency’s medical staff of nearly two dozen psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners, while also managing Highland Rivers’ three crisis stabilization units, intensive outpatient, women’s outreach, assertive community treatment and developmental disabilities programs.

Along with Dr. Khaja’s promotion, Highland Rivers has named Franscica MgBodile, MD, as associate medical director for outpatient services. A trained child psychiatrist, Dr. MgBodile will oversee all outpatient and residential services with a focus on child and adolescent services – an area of particular importance for psychiatric treatment because up to half of all lifetime mental health disorders begin during the teenage years.

“Although we might refer to mental illness and addiction as behavioral health issues, the fact is they are medical problems – so successful treatment not only requires counseling but clinical and medical management,” said Melanie Dallas, LPC, CEO of Highland Rivers Health. “In a healthcare market facing a shortage of psychiatrists, our consumers are very fortunate to have access to a highly qualified medical staff led by a caring physician like Dr. Khaja.”

A native of Hyderabad, India, Khaja graduated from Siddharatha Medical College at Nagarjuna University in India, and completed four years of post-graduate training in general psychiatry at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he was chief resident. He was assistant professor of psychiatry at Quillen College of Medicine and chief of inpatient psychiatry at Mountain Home Veterans administration hospital, both in Johnson City. He is currently clinical associate professor with the Medical College of Georgia department of psychiatry. Board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since 2000, Khaja joined Highland Rivers in 2008.

“I have always had a passion for raising awareness of mental health issues and working to erase the stigma associated with mental illness,” said Khaja. “I am very proud to practice at Highland Rivers and be part of a team that works daily to build stronger individuals, families and communities.”

Despite increasing demand for psychiatrists throughout Georgia and the nation, Highland Rivers continues to employ a medical staff of nearly two dozen psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. With a focus on meeting each consumer’s unique needs, the agency’s psychiatrists include specialists in addiction, child and adolescent, adult, family, trauma, PTSD and geriatric psychiatry, among others.

About Highland Rivers Health

Highland Rivers Health provides comprehensive treatment and support services for adults, children and families affected by mental health disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and addictive diseases. One of the state’s largest public safety net providers, Highland Rivers operates 28 treatment facilities across a 4,400-square mile area of Northwest Georgia that includes Bartow, Cherokee, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, and Whitfield counties, and serves nearly 16,000 consumers annually. Highland Rivers is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and is a Core Provider for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. For more information, visit .