Volume 1, Issue 7 Summer/Fall 2020
“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie
Board Member Highlight
I’m Leslie Lewis, HR Staffing Director (Elementary Schools) in Gwinnett County Public Schools, and humbled to serve as GASPA Secretary. Membership in GASPA has afforded me the opportunity to engage with some of the most dynamic K-12 HR professionals in the state. It has served as an excellent resource for receiving timely updates, as well as obtaining information that has proven valuable to my work as an HR professional.
Priscilla Collins
Chief Professional Services Officer
Gainesville City Schools
Member Spotlight
1. What school district do you work for? How many students are in the district?
I work for Gainesville City Schools. We have 7813 students enrolled as of today.
2. How did you get into the field of HR in education?
I came into the HR field in our district from my role as an elementary principal. During my tenure as an elementary principal, my superintendent at the time asked me to serve on the Race to the Top Committee for the district, specifically working on the TKES/LKES, SLOs, and mentoring.
3. Do you have any advice you would offer to people who are new to HR?
The role of HR is constantly evolving and you must be willing to evolve with the position. It is more important than ever that you are in tune to what is happening with the mental and emotional needs of employees in a COVID19 world.
4. What is the best part of your job? What do you enjoy the most?
The best part of what I do is recruiting the next generation of teachers. We have an Aspiring Teachers Program initiative in our district centered around growing your own teachers. I really enjoy getting to know the employees in our school district and am constantly on the look-out for ways to improve the employee experience with our school district.
GASPA’s HR 101 Webinar Series: A Primer for Newbies
If you are new to HR or just want a refresher, it is not too late to register!  The series includes six webinars and is free to GASPA members and $75 for non-GASPA members.
The $75 registration fee will include your 2020-2021 GASPA membership.
Please contact Wilma Widmer if you have any questions.
Comments from Executive Director
Kelly Coash Johnson
With all of the changes happening on a daily basis, it is no wonder we are all feeling a bit stretched these days. In visiting with so many of our members, I am reminded of how dedicated they are to the health and well being of their staff and school personnel employees. Many are working day and night to meet the needs of individual people. I say thank you to all who have given so much for their staff and their districts and please know you are appreciated. AASPA is hard at work trying to meet the needs of our members on as much of an immediate basis as we can. Each day we are collecting data or putting together professional development that we hope will assist our members in making decisions.
Code of Ethics Video from the Professional Standards Commission
Paul Shaw from the PSC has offered an Ethics video presentation that may be found at, click on the Ethics tab, and then Resources. The video is the top link.
News from the Georgia Association of Leaders
Congratulations to GASPA’s own Valerie Suessmith for receiving the Jim Puckett Outstanding Educator Award.
Fall Legal Issues Conference
with Harben, Hartley, & Hawkins, LLP
November 4-6, 2020
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM Daily
The Classic Center, Athens GA
Don’t miss your chance to see Phil Hartley and his team in action, with everything you need to know about changing legal issues and policies!
Revised DPH guidance document for Georgia Schools
This document replaced the current K-12 recovery document. GADOE Chief of Staff Matt Jones writes: “Per DPH, this guidance replaces the ‘Georgia’s Path to K-12 Recovery’ document and should be used by district school leaders and health directors moving forward. School leaders can still use the Recovery document and other GaDOE resources to support the implementation of various instructional models and provide educational supports, but public health directives will be coming from DPH moving forward.”
Here is the link to the DPH DOCUMENT.
Public School Priorities in a Political Year
The 52nd Annual Phi Delta Kappan Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
GASPA Membership
GASPA was formed in 1966 as a professional organization for persons working in the field of human resources. GASPA provides up to date professional development and resources through statewide conferences and through strong partnerships with state agencies and educational organizations. The association prides itself with opportunities for networking with other HR professionals all across the state as well as in GASPA state regional districts.
Active Membership is $75
Retired Membership is $25
Membership year is July 1 – June 30
For more information contact Wilma Widmer, GASPA Executive Director at or
at 770-687-1299.
Welcome New Members
The following professionals have joined GASPA since our Fall 2019 Conference
Best in Class Awards
The Best in Class Awards for 2020 will be recognized at the Fall Conference in December.
The Best in Class Awards for 2021 will be recognized at the Spring Conference.
The Fall Conference
The Conference Planning Committee and the Executive Board have been working with the staff at the King and Prince to consider how a safe conference may be held in December. All current state requirements and restrictions will be reviewed as we move forward.
After considering many factors, a decision to hold the conference at the King and Prince in person or through a series of webinars will be made by early October.  The Conference Planning Committee and Executive Board sincerely appreciate the input received from GASPA members recently.
“If you’re good to your staff when things are going well,
they will rally when times go bad.”
Mary Kay Ash