A Word from the President-Elect Brad Brown

I want to thank Valerie Suessmith for her leadership
this past year. GASPA has grown and moved forward
in a positive way. As the newly elected president of GASPA, I am
humbled by the vote of confidence and pledge to lead in a way that
represents the ideals and principles of GASPA. In my many years of
serving in various roles in education, I understand the importance of
Human Resources and suggest that it may be one of the most critical
roles in the district. That is why I would encourage each one of you to get
involved and draw on the many strengths of the good folks in GASPA. In
thinking about leadership, I want to share some thoughts with you:
A while back, I attended Leadercast at Brenau University. I listened to
many powerful leaders speak and in their own way share their thoughts
on different aspects of leadership. Throughout the day, one by one, the
message was loud and clear, leadership matters. They shared personal
stories and were very forthright about their work, their position, and their
titles. But, they were passionate about their journey and their
responsibility as a leader. They gave one example after another of how
leaders change lives which made me wonder, how many more stories do
we need to hear before we are convinced that not only do leaders matter,
one leader matters.

The theme was Beyond You leadership because leadership isn’t just
about you as a leader, it’s about what happens beyond you. Leadership
is not just the beginning; leadership is what happens after that …what
happens when you leave.

Leaders are on the precipice of change and that change begins with one.
Leadership is not a rank or title, it is a choice. Danforth gives I Dare You
awards and Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” So, to
paraphrase Danforth and Mother Teresa… “I dare you to cast a ripple.”

Leadership is being courageous and it can take time to notice change,
just like it takes time to notice the benefits of dieting and exercise.
Leadership is a practice, not an event.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are made, not born. And they are
made like anything else is made, through hard work and discipline.
Which is the price that all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is

As you continue to lead your school/district, know that work snapshots
will one day make an album that tells your story. While some let others
write their story, leaders are those who create their own story.

Leaders lead. That’s what they do. Good leaders take people where they
want to go. Great leaders take people where they need to go. But, the
best leaders take people where they need to go and when they get there,
the people say, “We did it.”

Blessings on a great year and don’t ever forget; what you do matters!
Here to help,
Brad Brown
GASPA President
Assistant Superintendent – Human Resources
Hall County School System
711 Green Street

Ali Baxter
Director of Human Resources
Bulloch County Schools

1. What school district do you work for? How many
students are in the district? I proudly serve the
Bulloch County School system that has approximately
10,700 students.

2. How did you get into the field of HR in education? I
am originally from a small rural town located in
Michigan and my husband’s career in firefighting
brought us to Statesboro, Georgia about 2 & 1/2 years
ago. My 10+ years of HR background comprises of healthcare and higher
education before taking my position in K-12 education when we moved to

3. Do you have any advice you would offer to people who are new to
HR? Through all of the policies we write and all of the protocols we put into
place (and everything else in between), at the end of the day, we are working
with people. People who have feelings and emotions, just like us. Always
remember that to help guide you through the difficult times and ensuring that
the most ethical decisions are made for the greater good of the place of
business you are employed at.

4. What is the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most? I would say
the people (and that would be true), but I don’t want to sound too
cliche. Instead, I will say the ability to be challenged every day which allows not
only myself to grow, but the awesome HR team we have in place at Bulloch
County Schools. At the end of every day, before I leave the office, I always
think of one thing I am thankful/grateful for that happened that day…even if
some days it’s that cup of coffee I had that morning. 🙂

Member Focus
Ray Ramon
Chief Human Resources Office
Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools

As I reflect on my time in GASPA, I recall when I started in the HR
department and was first introduced to GASPAin 2003. I asked my HR
colleagues about GASPA. No one was a member. I was discouraged from
being a member and attending conferences.

I learned later that one of the past presidents of GASPA was the Director
of Human Resources in my district 20 years prior. In 2004, I attended my
first conference and was humbled by the depth of knowledge of GASPA
members. I wondered why we wanted to be isolated from best practices
in other districts. I realized that it was important to maintain my
membership and attend conferences for best practices, networking and
professional growth. For almost a decade as the Chief Human Resource
Officer, I have ensured that staff attends every GASPA conference. For
those of us in Human Resources, it is impossible to keep up with the ever-changing world of our profession. GASPA helps to bridge those gaps by
equipping us with the information and tools we need to be successful. I
look forward to seeing everyone at our Spring conference!

Special Capitol Report:
TRS and Assessment

Governor Kemp Shows What
Happens After a Listening Tour
At 1:30 PM on February 4, Governor Brian
Kemp announced upcoming legislation carried
by Senate Education Chairman P.K. Martin
that would significantly reduce the number of
state tests in the Georgia Milestones
Assessment Program, shorten some of the
remaining tests, and increase the instructional
window for children and teachers by delaying
all state tests until the last five weeks of school.

After listening to sessions with administrators
and teachers across the state in 2019, it
appears that Governor Kemp has once again
demonstrated his commitment to utilizing the
feedback he heard from teachers, and many
parents as well, by helping to “chop” the
amount of time children take tests in Georgia’s
public schools.

Read More

How do you measure your growth?
by Chris Legleiter
February 5, 2020
There are many reasons why educators must be continual lifelong
learners and strive to learn new skills. The pace of change within our
society and schools makes it a moral imperative that educators learn
best practices and researched based methods to help students and staff
find success. A part of this learning process is growing yourself as a
leader. This requires a great focus, work ethic and passion to improve
while making mistakes. I have learned so much about this process from
other school leaders and our students. An area that I have spent much
time reflecting on over the years is developing a better understanding of
how to “measure your own growth” as a school leader.

Read More

Perceptions of Human Resources
What Employees Really Think About

The Good News from this article is that HR
plays a pivotal role in improving employee
engagement, job satisfaction, and more.

Read More

2020-2021 Board Offices

It is time again for the membership of GASPA to think about
the selection of nominees for the 2020 – 2021 Board
Offices. This year, the Nomination Committee is seeking
candidates for the offices of President-Elect and Legislative

The mission of the Nominating Committee is to reach out to
the active membership to solicit candidates for the
vacancies. Self-nominations are also welcome. Nominees
must currently hold the status as an Active member in

Nominations for each office must be submitted on or before
February 7, 2020.

Remember – you may join GASPA through GAEL

Voices from the Fall
Conference 2019



Spring Conference
May 27 – 29 (Wed. – Fri.)
King and Prince Resort
Click here for Reservation Information