(Editor's note: the following is a press release provided by the Georgia Department of Education.)
The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association (GA PTA) are recognizing six parents from across the state with the 2013 Georgia Parent Leadership Award.
The award was created by GaDOE and GA PTA to recognize parents for their outstanding leadership in creating a foundation of support for student achievement and success. Research shows parents make a difference in student achievement - no matter the age of their child.
“We know that parent engagement helps create a better learning environment for our students,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I commend these parents for their leadership and involvement in the education and overall well-being of all the students in their child's school and school district.”
The parents will receive the honor during a ceremony tomorrow at the GaDOE.
The winners are:
- Tilwana Anderson, Partee Elementary School, Gwinnett County Schools
- Electria Barnes, Sanders Elementary School, Cobb County Schools
- Debra Mainor, Hillcrest Elementary School, Dublin City Schools
- Kellie Martin, Elcan-King Elementary School, Decatur County Schools
- Capucine Pansy, Eastside Elementary School, Douglas County Schools
- States Wing, Sharon Elementary School, Forsyth County Schools
When looking for a parent advocate, you do not have to look much further than Tilwana Anderson. Whether it is her work on the local school council, Title I planning team, PTA, or Gwinnett County’s Parent Advisory Committee, she is always putting students first and at the center of every discussion.
School staff and parents credit her, alike, for her collaboration skills as well as her ability to actively engage and empower others to think critically on behalf of students. Tilwana is seen as a change agent who understands the power of parent and community engagement. When the school data showed a concern with students beginning school below grade level, she sprang into action developing a plan to assist first grade students who needed assistance in acquiring basic reading skills.
While her children were not in the first grade, it was still common to see her observing first grade classrooms and learning teacher reading strategies so she had the knowledge to work with the students. When the school’s Parent Center coordinator went on medical leave last year, Tilwana volunteered her time to manage the Parent Center so it could remain open in her absence.
She wanted to ensure parents at the school still had a place of support, could talk with a liaison, and receive needed materials that could support their child's learning at home. Knowing that her role as a parent leader was to motivate and inspire others to support students, she graduated from levels one and two of Gwinnett County’s Parent Leadership Academy to refine her own skills to empower others.
Since graduating, she continually opens doors for other parents to get involved by welcoming them into the school and finding ways for their talents and interests to be utilized on behalf of the students. She co-leads parent programs with school staff and delivers keynote speeches at parent events, challenging parents to get and stay involved in their child’s education.
It is certain that Tilwana’s hard work, dedication, and commitment is making a difference in the lives of Gwinnett County’s students and their families!Parent leaders are nominated each November during Georgia’s Parent Engagement Month by public school personnel. Any caregiver who assumes the responsibility for nurturing and caring for a student’s entire well-being consisting of educational, emotional, spiritual, and physical health is eligible for the honor.
Parent Leadership Awards are given each year to six parents representing both Title I schools and Non-Title I schools. While all six state winners for 2013 are from elementary schools, parents from all school levels can be nominated.
Winners of the Georgia Parent Leadership Award have opportunities throughout the year to share their story by promoting and assisting parent engagement activities at the state level.