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Governor Sonny Perdue Recommends Wanda Barrs

Wednesday, February 5, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today announced plans to recommend Wanda Barrs as the Chairperson of Georgia's State Board of Education (Board). Barrs currently works with her family's forestry service and real estate business.

"Wanda Barrs is known throughout the state as a talented and dedicated educator. Her commitment to excellence in education is only surpassed by her commitment to the children she's guided and helped grow educationally," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "A strong and improving educational system ranks as one of our state's top priorities. As Georgia seeks to strengthen our educational programs, I can think of no stronger candidate to work on behalf of our state's children than Wanda Barrs," added Governor Perdue.

"I am seeking the State Board of Education's endorsement to bring this knowledgeable leader on board to serve the citizens of Georgia. She will be an asset to our team and our state," added Perdue.

The Board of Education provides oversight for Georgia's 180 school districts. The Board is empowered to (1) promulgate and waive rules, (2) develop and oversee the Department of Education's budget, (3) approve contracts, (4) award grants, (5) approve charter schools, (6) approve the hiring and firing of Department of Education personnel and (7) handle appeals, personnel actions and student discipline issues.

Barrs brings nearly three decades of educational experience and public service to her new position. She began her career as a middle and high school educator in Cochran City School system in 1974. Barrs has served on the Bleckley County Board of Education since 1990, providing leadership as school board chairperson from 1997-2002. She also served the Heart of Georgia Technical College Foundation as a board member.

Barrs is the recipient of numerous educational awards including Educator of the Year and Facilitator of the Year by the Georgia Project Learning Tree and Educator of the Year by the National Project Learning Tree. She is an alumnus of numerous leadership training programs including Leadership Georgia (1996), Leadership Bleckley County (1990) and the Family Community Leadership Team - Bleckley County (1989).

Barrs is also known for her personal academic achievements. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from both Georgia College, where she received a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and the University of Georgia, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. She is also an honors graduate of Cochran High School and Middle Georgia College.

A resident of Bleckley County, Wanda Barrs is married to Earl Barrs. The couple have two children: Andrew (24) and Meredith (20). Their family is active in numerous civic organizations and members of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.