2023-2024 GAEL Executive Officers
The Annual Summer GAEL Conference has concluded, but the leadership is only beginning!
History was made in the GAEL organization via the swearing-in of our new officers for 2023-2024:
2023-2024 GAEL President: Mrs. Valerie Suessmith, Chief Human Resources Officer, Henry County School District
2023-2024 GAEL President-Elect: Dr. Aaron Geter, Superintendent of Wilkinson County School District
2023-2024 GAEL Past President: Dr.Zabrina Cannady, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Houston County School District
2023-2024 GAEL Treasurer: Dr. Chad Stone, Principal of Tift County High School, Tift County School District
Please join us in congratulating and supporting our new executive officers!
2023 H.M. Fulbright Award
Deborah White
The H.M. Fulbright Award is GAEL’s highest honor, awarded annually at Summer GAEL to a GAEL member who has shown significant achievement in the field of educational leadership and who has made significant contributions to GAEL. The honor goes to individuals who personify the leadership qualities modeled by GAEL’s first President and Executive Director, Dr. H.M. Fulbright. This year’s winner is Deborah White, past Executive Director of GACIS.
2023 Jim Puckett
Outstanding Educator Awards
Each year, GAEL provides the affiliate organizations the opportunity to nominate fellow members for the prestigious “Outstanding Educator Award,” named after GAEL’s third Executive Director, Dr. Jim Puckett.
The honor goes to individuals who personify the leadership qualities modeled by Dr. Puckett on behalf of the GAEL organization for so many years.
GAESP: Dr. Brian Keefer, Forsyth County
GAMSP: Jeannette Hallam, Coweta County
GASSP: Dr. Elizbeth Bennett, Bryan County
GACIS: Dr. Amy Fouse, Houston County
G-CASE: Dr. Demita James, Middle Georgia GLRS
GASPA: Ramon Ray, Savannah-Chatham County
GSSA: Dr. Aaron Geter, Wilkinson County
GELFA: Dr. Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Georgia Southern University
SSTAGE: Dr. Courntey Holley NCSP, Cook County
RESA: Tim Helms, Southwest Georgia RESA
GADOE: Dr. Keith Osburn, GADOE
2023 John Yates Scholarship
GAEL is proud to award two $750 scholarships each year at the Summer GAEL Conference to GAEL members who are currently enrolled in a college or university leadership preparation/development degree program.
Winners are recognized in honor of Dr. John Yates, GAEL’s 2nd Executive Director.
The 2023 winners are:
Cori Duffey, Bleckley County Schools
Lee Ann Rice, Forsyth County Schools
2023 Hubert “Skip” Yow, Jr. Award For Educational Advocacy
Dr. Jimmy Stokes

The Hubert “Skip” Yow, Jr. Award for Educational Advocacy recognizes individuals that demonstrate a commitment to quality public education in Georgia and whose public activities have shown dedication and effective leadership in promoting effective policy, legislation, and perceptions regarding public education in our great state. Governor Brian Kemp was the inaugural honoree for this award at the GAEL Summer Conference in 2019. The 2023 winner is Dr. Jimmy Stokes, past Executive Director of GAEL and Past-President of GAEL.