ATLANTA – Charlotte Booker, a veteran of Georgia’s public schools, and most recently the vice president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), has been sworn in as GAE’s 30th president. Booker, who has been a member of GAE since 1999 and who has served in various capacities with the local, state, and national [National Education Association (NEA)] associations, says until all of Georgia’s public schools have the resources needed to provide a quality education for every child that walks through their doors, GAE will be working to address those challenges. “I am a firm believer that education is the key to success for our children,” she said. “And while it should not matter the zip code in which our children live, the reality is that solutions must be found to address the inequities that exist throughout the state. Our state constitution mandates this and that is what GAE will continue to work on with our legislators both locally and at the Capitol to accomplish.”
She points out that, at a minimum, the legislature’s passage of a budget that included full funding for Georgia’s public schools must be continued by subsequent assemblies. “Too many of our schools have yet to recover from years of austerity,” said Booker. “These funds are needed now to provide the basics for many schools and systems. This is the base from which they will use as a starting point to make critical improvements such as books, technology, and services needed to ensure children have the overall support they need to be successful.”
Booker emphasizes that along with working toward continued full funding, GAE will address concerns over school safety within the association’s stance of being against arming teachers, but bolstering other safety resources as each school feels necessary. She says GAE will also continue addressing teacher concerns connected to the Teacher KEYS evaluation instrument, and working toward affordable and accessible health care along with essential salary increases to keep Georgia’s best in the classroom and attract the best to address our teacher shortage. “While it’s vital for our public schools to attract the best, GAE will continue to provide and bolster our professional development offerings to help our newest colleagues acclimate to the stresses and demands of teaching in order that they choose it as a life-long career,” she said.
Before her election as GAE president, Booker served on GAE’s Board of Directors for six years, being elected secretary-treasurer (2012-2014), and vice president twice (2014-2016, 2016-2018). She also served as an Association Building Representative for the Rockdale County Association of Educators. She succeeds Dr. Sid Chapman from Clayton County.
In addition to Booker, GAE members also elected Jim Barrett, an elementary/middle school Georgia Studies teacher from Walker County as vice president. Barrett is president of the Walker County Association of Educators and an 8th Grade GA Studies Teacher at Saddle Ridge Middle School. He is a 1985 graduate of Northwest Whitfield High School. Justin T. Johnson, a middle school business education teacher from DeKalb County, was elected as the organization’s secretary-treasurer. All were sworn into their new positions during the NEA Representative Assembly held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in July.