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Georgia Department of Education Fine Arts Specialist Jessica Booth received the Georgia Art Education Association’s Rosalind Ragans Distinguished Service Within the Profession Award this weekend. This award recognizes an outstanding GAEA member for exemplary contributions, service and achievement at the state level.

Booth, who has more than 22 years of experience in arts education, was GaDOE’s first fine arts specialist in more than a decade. Over the last three years, she has focused on expanding arts opportunities for students – creating new virtual fine arts courses, refreshing standards and increasing the number of creative industry aligned high school arts courses, and offering professional learning on arts integration for teachers of all content areas. She helped lead the development of the GaDOE’s new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) certification for school districts and played a key role in ensuring Georgia’s ESSA state plan included opportunities for districts to expand arts education using Title IV funds.

“When I came to the Department, I was deeply concerned by the lack of focus on arts education at the state level,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Creating a Fine Arts Specialist position at the GaDOE was a top priority for my administration, and we could not have found a better person to fill that role than Jessica Booth. She is a passionate arts educator who has greatly expanded the opportunities available to Georgia’s students. I am proud to see her recognized by our state’s arts educators.”

GAEA President Dr. Zerric Clinton said:

“This award recognizes a high level of professional accomplishment and service by a dedicated art educator. Ms. Booth exemplifies the high quality of individuals involved in the field of art education today: leaders, teachers, students, and advocates who give their very best to the profession. We are proud to recognize Jessica Booth.”

The Georgia Art Education Association’s membership includes elementary, secondary and college-level art educators in public and private schools. It is GAEA’s purpose to promote and maintain the highest possible degree of quality instruction in visual arts programs throughout the state of Georgia. The Georgia Art Education Association is unified with the National Art Education Association, the largest professional association of art educators in the country.

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