GELI 2017

September 17-19, 2017
Sheraton Atlanta Hotel
Atlanta, GA

Online registration is now closed,
but we have room for you!

Bring your purchase order, credit card, check or cash to the conference and register onsite!

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Click here to Exhibit at the Institute.

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GSCA Sponsors

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GELI Highlights

  • Pre-Institute Learning Sessions
  • 50 Breakout Sessions
  • Exhibit Hall
  • Breakfast provided on Monday and Tuesday
  • Lunch provided on Monday

GELI Pre-Institute Sessions

These Pre-Institute sessions are FREE with your paid Institute registration ($125). Choose ONE of the following!

Sunday, September 17th
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Allison Timberlake

1. Assessment and Accountability
in the Era of ESSA

Allison Timberlake and Melissa Fincher

ABOUT THE SESSION: Allison Timberlake, GaDOE's Director of Accountability, and Melissa Fincher, GaDOE's Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability, will discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and what it means for assessment and accountability in Georgia. The most up to date information will be shared, including an in-depth dive into the state's revised CCRPI system as well as new opportunities for assessment. This will be an informal session with plenty of time for questions and discussion. If you have questions such as, "What will CCRPI look like beginning in 2018?' or "What does ESSA mean for assessment?" then this session is for you. 

Melissa FincherPRESENTER BIOS:  Allison Timberlake has worked in the fields of assessment, accountability, and growth modeling for over 10 years. At the GaDOE, she oversees the state's accountability and growth model programs. She also leads the development of the state's revised CCRPI under ESSA. Prior to joining the GaDOE, she oversaw assessment and evaluation for the Southern Regional Education Board's school improvement initiatives. 

Melissa Fincher has worked in the field of assessment for over 20 years. Her background includes experience with assessments in both university and K-12 settings. She has developed and managed a number of large-scale, high-stakes assessment programs for both Tennessee and Georgia. In her present role as the Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability at the Georgia Department of Education, she oversees the development of all Georgia assessment and accountability programs. She is responsible for ensuring these programs meet high standards for technical defensibility. Melissa has served as the principal investigator in several grants and research projects and has presented at numerous professional conferences.

Shaun Owen

2. How the Consolidation of Funds Pilot is Helping Students Across Georgia

Shaun Owen

ABOUT THE SESSION: The Georgia Department of Education and 20 LEAs are conducting an Initiative to fully consolidate federal, state, and local funds in specific Title I schools that operate schoolwide programs.  Once these funds are consolidated, the federal funds lose their identity as federal funds, and expenditures of those funds are no longer limited to the federal requirements for individual programs.  A schoolwide program school that consolidates federal program funds "is not required to meet most statutory or regulatory requirements of the program applicable at the school level, but must meet the intent and purposes of that program to ensure that the needs of the intended beneficiaries are met."  Shaun Owen, Director of Consolidated Federal Initiatives, along with representatives from the Pilot Systems (Cartersville City Schools, Calhoun City Schools, Foothills Education Charter High School, and Madison County Schools), and the Charter System Foundation will discuss the Initiative and answer questions.

PRESENTER BIO:  Shaun Owen was hired as the Director of Consolidated Federal Initiatives on August 1st by the Georgia Department of Education.  Shaun is a veteran educator with 23 years' experience.  Prior to accepting the position, she worked in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for nine years at the DOE where she oversaw the Social Studies Precision Review, statewide training and resource development and worked closely with the Assessment Division to help develop statewide assessments.  She has worked with school systems and RESAs across the state to help improve student achievement by supporting and training educators and administrators.  Shaun led several statewide initiatives such as the Governor's Directive for Resource Development and has worked alongside the State Board and Legislators to advocate for educators and students across the state.  She is eager to head the Pilot Program for the Consolidation of Funds for Title I Schoolwide Consolidation Programs and looks forward to growing the program and supporting schools as we undertake the journey of increased district flexibility.

Arianne Weldon

3. The Impacts of Social, Emotional and
Mental Health on CCRPI

Arianne Weldon

ABOUT THE SESSION:  A positive school climate directly impacts CCRPI and indicators of success such as increased teacher retention, lower dropout rates, decreased incidences of violence, and higher student achievement. This Pre-Institute Session highlights and features practical ways to improve learning conditions through acknowledging and addressing the Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Development of each student.  While student populations and demographics differ across the state, there are key similarities that drive engagement for all students and their families.  We will explore the four research-based pillars that provide a foundation for student achievement and growth.   

The experts weighing in on the discussion are Justin Hill, Ed.S., Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP, Rebecca Blanton, Cheryl Benefield, Ed.S., CPS-P and Rachel McCrickard.  They are leaders from Project AWARE, PBIS, Georgia Hope and SEEKS and are readily available to help schools improve the school climate and impact more students.  We will hear stories of how districts have taken steps to address the Social, Emotional and Mental Health Climate in Georgia communities and how this success can be replicated across the state!  This session is for leaders who want to move the needle forward and make a positive impact in their schools and communities!  

LEAD PRESENTER BIO: Arianne Weldon is the Director of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign.  Arianne served as the Maternal and Child health (MCH) Services Title V Administrator for the Georgia Department of Public Health.  She was the Director of State Partnership Strategies for Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) where she served as liaison to state-level population-based initiatives across multiple state agencies, private sector organizations, and communities.  Arianne also spent five years with GaFCP as a Community Facilitator providing strategic planning technical assistance for the 15 counties in NW Georgia and two years as liaison to the state Medicaid agency.  In addition to her background in public health, her experiences working with and supporting leaders in communities in all of Georgia's 159 counties has prepared her to promote implementation of effective population-based strategies across the state.  Arianne holds a Master of Public Health from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Georgia State University.

GELI Keynotes

Monday, September 18th
Luncheon Keynote Speaker

Ken Williams

Starting a Movement:
Taking Students To and Through the BAR

Ken Williams

ABOUT THE SESSION: During Ken's engaging and provocative keynote, Starting a Movement: Taking Students To and Through The BAR, Ken will help you discover how to quiet the noise and focus on the handful of high leverage collective commitments that will help you build a culture of learning for all. Learn how to LIVE your posters, and really deliver on the promise education should offer every student. This session is not for the faint of heart...or for defenders of the status quo. For all others, get ready for a transformational experience.

SPEAKER BIO: Kenneth C. Williams shares his experience and expertise as a recognized trainer, speaker, coach, and consultant in education and leadership. He is the chief visionary officer of Unfold the Soul, a company dedicated to helping make the school you have, the school you want. Skilled in joining the why of our work to the how of our work, Ken is an expert at helping schools build capacity in the collective commitments required of learning for all cultures. He is a distinguished teacher, mentor, public speaker, and school leader. Ken is a contributing author to The Collaborative Administrator (Solution Tree Press, 2009), the author of both Essentials For Principals: Creating Physical and Emotional Security in Schools (Solution Tree Press/NAESP, 2012), and Starting A Movement, Building Culture From The Inside-Out in PLC's (Solution Tree Press 2015).  

GELI Special General Session

Tuesday, September 19th 
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Education Update

Under the Governor's leadership, Georgia has risen to become the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business, a goal achieved by creating the Competitiveness Initiative, reforming the state tax code, shaping Georgia's educational system to support workforce needs and recruiting businesses to relocate here. Though he has reduced the size of state government, Gov. Deal has prioritized education and child safety funding as state revenues rebound from the Great Recession. In 2014, the Governor increased K-12 spending by more than half a billion dollars, the largest increase in education in seven years, and in his 2015 State of the State address he proposed the creation of a new Opportunity School District to rescue failing schools.

GELI Breakout Sessions

50 Informative Breakout Sessions! Track descriptions are below.

Culture of Success
These sessions will highlight innovation and best practices from schools around the state in curriculum, classroom instruction, and school climate. You'll hear from colleagues who have beat the odds and guided their schools to success despite challenges. 

Educating Georgia's Future Workforce
This track will focus on partnerships that create high-quality Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education experiences for students. Learn how to partner with businesses in your community to create courses that lead to jobs for your graduates.

School Climate and Safety
A positive school climate directly impacts indicators of success such as increased teacher retention, lower dropout rates, decreased incidences of violence, and higher student achievement. Come learn about the four major categories that shape perception of school climate: safety; teaching and learning; interpersonal relationships; and the institutional environment.

Teacher & Leader Development
This track will focus on identifying, developing and retaining your best teachers. It will also focus on the effectiveness and development of other leaders within your school or district.

Business and Operational Management
These sessions are designed for CFOs, Finance Directors, and other members of your district's business office. Network and share best practices with other professionals within your field.

GELI Schedule


Sunday, September 17, 2017
1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Registration Opens
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free Pre-Institute Sessions
3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
Monday, September 18, 2017
7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Registration Opens
7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Exhibits Open
9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Opening General Session
Kickoff Remarks by Richard Woods, State School Superintendent
9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Breakout Sessions
11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. General Session, Lunch, Keynote Speaker - Ken Williams
12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions
4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Networking Reception
Featuring music provided by students from
Peachtree Ridge High School, Gwinnett County Schools
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 
7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions
9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
10:00 a.m.  to 10:30 a.m. Special General Session:
Education Update with Governor Nathan Deal
10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Break - Visit Exhibitors
10:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session

SCALI Registration

Online registration is now closed,
but we have room for you!

Bring your purchase order, credit card, check or cash to the conference and register onsite!

Please make your check or purchase order payable to:
National Center for Youth Issues
Mail the check or purchase order and registration forms to the address above.

Click here to download the 


PRE-INSTITUTE (Sunday, September 17, 2017, 2:00 p.m. - ­5:00 p.m.)

Cost: $0*

*Institute registration ($125) is required to attend one of the FREE Pre-Institute Learning Sessions. Please indicate if you plan on attending the Pre-Institute. You may only choose only ONE.

  1. Assessment and Accountability in the Era of ESSA
    Allison Timberlake and Melissa Fincher

  2. How the Consolidation of Funds Pilot is Helping Students Across Georgia
    Shaun Owen

  3. The Impacts of Social, Emotional and Mental Health on CCRPI
    Arianne Weldon


MAIN CONFERENCE (September 18-19, 2017)

Cost: $125.00 (Includes Pre-Institute)

Please note: There will be no refunds after September 1, 2017.  All cancellations before September 1, 2017 will be refunded less a $25 handling fee. The institute is not responsible for and cannont give refunds due to problems beyond its control, such as weather or school closings.

GELI Accomodations 

Host Hotel:


Sheraton Atlanta Hotel
165 Courtland St NE
Atlanta, GA 30303


The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel  has a conference rate of $140 plus tax. This rate is valid  by August 28, 2017, as long as rooms are available in the block.


  • CALL:  (866) 932-7269 or (404) 659-6500. Please be sure to tell the hotel that you're with the Georgia Education Leadership 2017.

  • REGISTER ONLINE:  Go to the  Sheraton Atlanta Hotel website

PARKING:  We have special valet pricing for parking at the hotel. The daily price is $18.00. Other parking lots close to the hotel range from $4 to $20 per day.

Nearby Hotel:


Atlanta Marriott Marquis

265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303

The room block reserved at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel is full, but the beautiful Atlanta Marriott Marquis, only one block away, appears to have rooms available.  The  government rate of $140 plus tax is what is listed on their website. 


  • CALL:  (404) 521-0000

  • REGISTER ONLINE:  Go to the  Atlanta Marriott Marquis website . Enter in your dates (September 17 - September 19). Then choose "Government / Military" in the Special Rates drop down list. Finally choose "View Rates" to be taken to the list of rooms available.

PARKING:  Contact the Atlanta Marriott Marquis with questions about daily parking rates at the hotel or nearby.

GELI Work and Play

Click here to see Things to Do around Atlanta!

Event management support provided by

National Center for Youth Issues