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New Leadership Announced for Georgia Student Finance Commission and Office of Planning and Budget

Thursday, June 23, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


ATLANTA - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today his recommendation of Tim Connell to serve as the president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC). Shelley Nickel will replace Tim Connell as director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB). These personnel changes are part of Governor Perdue’s leadership development initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to broaden the experience of the state’s most talented leadership to prepare them to manage the state in the years ahead.

“Tim Connell and Shelley Nickel are both experienced financial managers with an intimate knowledge of the budget process,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I look forward to watching them broaden their leadership experience within state government and serve the people of Georgia in these new capacities.”

The mission of OPB is to improve state government operations and services by leading and assisting in the evaluation, development and implementation of budgets, plans, programs and policies. OPB accomplishes this mission with leadership from the Governor and in cooperation with the General Assembly, state agencies, and other public and private organizations.

GSFC is responsible for promoting and increasing access for students to education beyond high school by delivering financial aid information and related services and the administration of Georgia's nationally recognized HOPE scholarship program. The agency also provides scholarships, grants, low-interest loans, service-cancelable loans and loan guaranty services to residents of Georgia seeking financial assistance for education.

Brief biographies are provided below:

Timothy “Tim” A. Connell, 55, Norcross, GA - Connell has served as the director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget since July 2003. Previously, he served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Governor and was on loan with Governor Perdue's Transition Team. Connell was formerly associated with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs involved with the Georgia Residential Finance Authority/Georgia Housing and Finance Authority directly responsible for strategic planning, federal and state legislative relations and marketing and public information among other responsibilities. Connell received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. He and his wife, Carol, have two daughters.

Shelley Nickel, 49, Roswell, GA - Nickel was recommended by Governor Perdue to serve as the president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission in February 2003. She previously served the Board of Regents as special assistant to the chancellor as a senior policy advisor and budget director administering the USG's $1.7 billion budget. From November 1985 until December 1996, Nickel held several policy analyst positions in the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), both in education and economic development. In that role, she analyzed and recommended budget and policy initiatives and tracked relevant legislation. Nickel earned a bachelor’s degree in community development and a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University. Nickel and her husband, Marty, have three children.