Category Archives: Clarke

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.

Attorney General Approves Piedmont Healthcare’s Partnership with Athens Regional Health System

Athens Regional Health System is one step closer to finalizing an affiliation with Piedmont Healthcare after the Office of the Attorney General ruled in favor of the partnership agreement on Thursday. Effective Oct. 1, the hospital will become Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.

“Athens Regional, like Piedmont, was founded by physicians looking to improve the health of their community,” Kevin Brown, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare, said. “As a result, we share common values that will serve us well as we build upon Athens Regional’s success and expand access to high-quality, patient-centered care.”

Since announcing the terms of the partnership agreement in December 2015, officials with Piedmont and Athens have worked diligently to determine how best to align the organizations and meet the needs of the community.

“This is an exciting time for Athens Regional and those we serve. Athens Regional and Piedmont are growing stronger together and this community will only benefit from this partnership,” said Dr. Charles Peck, president and CEO of Athens Regional Health System.

Georgia’s Office of the Attorney General conducts a public review process for all transactions related to the acquisition of not-for-profit hospitals in Georgia. Piedmont has always received strong community support as was the case at the July 12 hearing. Athens Regional will be the seventh community hospital in Piedmont’s system.

For more information about Piedmont Healthcare, visit For additional information about Athens Regional Health System, visit

Deal: Voxpro to Create More Than 500 Jobs in Athens-Clarke County

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Voxpro, an innovative customer experience and tech support provider, will create more than 500 jobs and invest $4 million in a new Center of Excellence in Athens-Clarke County by 2020.

“Georgia offers a wealth of resources for an innovative company like Voxpro to grow its business,” said Deal. “Georgia’s top-ranked business climate and highly skilled workforce is critical to attracting international business. We established a strong relationship with Voxpro leadership in Ireland and look forward to the company’s continued investment in Georgia.”

Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, Voxpro employs more than 1,700 people worldwide and delivers customer support experiences in more than 32 countries. Voxpro’s clients include Google, Airbnb and Nest.

“Voxpro partners with clients that are changing the world. Our success is built on delivering beautiful customer experiences and it’s our people and our culture that provide that point of difference. We know we’ve found those people in Athens,” said Voxpro co-founder and CEO Dan Kiely. “North America is a critical part of our growth strategy, and we are excited to establish our latest Center of Excellence in Athens-Clarke County. We’ve had a great welcome from the local community, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Gov. Deal and the Georgia Department of Economic Development on our latest expansion.”

Voxpro provides a range of business services, such as multilingual customer experience and technical support solutions, trust and safety monitoring, social media management and product insight. The company works with clients from innovative tech startups to global giants, helping them scale internationally and deliver a high quality customer experience with every interaction.

“Voxpro’s creation of 500 new jobs is exciting news for Athens and another example that our downtown is a destination for innovation and creativity,” said Mayor of Athens-Clarke County Nancy Denson. “Partnerships with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the governor, educational resources and the business community allowed our Economic Development Department to demonstrate to Voxpro that Athens has a business environment conducive to accelerated growth. Voxpro’s core values align perfectly with the vibrant and innovative atmosphere we have here in the Classic City, and we are proud to have them call Athens home.”

“As Ireland’s leading international provider of customer experience and technical support to some of the world’s most exciting and innovative tech companies, we provide a premium support service and we’re thrilled to be establishing our second U.S. Center of Excellence here in Athens-Clarke County,” said Voxpro U.S. General Manager Jon Ward.

Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) project manager Nikki Yu represented the Global Commerce division in partnership with the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Department, the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia Quick Start, the University of Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Power.

“We are excited that Voxpro has chosen Athens-Clarke County to grow their business,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr. “Not only will they be in great hands with our economic development partners in the region, they will be able to tap into a talent pool from the local university and technical college systems that will fuel their innovative approach to business, a perfect fit for all.”

About Voxpro

Voxpro’s international and domestic partners include tech companies such as Google, Airbnb and Nest. Established 20 years ago by co-founders Linda and Dan Kiely, Voxpro operates three facilities in Cork, Ireland, and has offices in Dublin, San Francisco and Folsom, Calif.