Education Luncheon

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LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga.- On Aug. 18 the Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon to give educators in the community an opportunity to tell the public how education in Lumpkin is currently tracking.

Spraker and Jacobs while she receives the challenge coin.

The educators were Dr. Bonita Jacobs, President of the University of North Georgia, Tim McDonald, President of Lanier Tech, Dr. Rob Brown, Superintendent of Lumpkin County Schools, and Dr. Wayne Lowell, Superintendent of Mt. Education Schools. The common thread between all these leaders was the partnerships they all shared to support the education of everyone in Lumpkin County. After all, the presenters, Mark Spraker from the Chamber presented them with Chamber Challenge Coins.

Dr. Jacbos began the luncheon with an overview of UNG. She talked about how fast the university system is growing and how they have not lowered the standards they expect from the students. Since 2013 they have given out more than 3,000 degrees, and last year they commissioned more than 100 officers from the Corp of Cadets.

The economic impact the university has on the community is $755 million. This is a 4.4% increase. This year the school is also celebrating its sesquicentennial 150 years. 

“It is fairly rare in higher education that we get to celebrate 150 years, and we are at 150 years and going strong. We are still recruiting top-notch students, we work very closely with the high school, with Lanier tech, and the other technical colleges,” explained Jacobs.

UNG stats

The new building they have been working on is a $35 million project with $25 million coming from state funding and the other $10 million from private funds. It will be open this fall.

McDonald explained what Lanier Tech has to offer the community. It not only offers associate degrees but has adult education services to help individuals without high school diplomas get their GED.

McDonald while presenting for Lanier Tech.

A key metric that they look at to gauge their success is Job Placement. They have been at 100% the past few years. Another key metric is Job Specific Placement meaning the student gets a job in the field they wanted, it had traditionally been in the mid-90s however COVID years it did drop to the 80% range.

They are also partnering with Lumpkin County School System and UNG on the new career academy that Lumpkin County High school is in the process of working on. To review information on that visit

“As you’re beginning to roll out what the college and career academy looks like, we are already in conversations about what the program mix needs to be there, what can Lanier Tech provide that the school system may not have to provide in terms of staffing and instructors. So we are just so excited for that,” stated McDonald. 

Dr. Brown and Spraker while the challenge coin is presented.

This is Dr. Brown’s seventh year as the Superintendent of the Lumpkin County School System. He explained that the school system goes by its Strategic Plan. To see the current strategic plan for the school system visit

Dr. Brown talked about how Lumpkin County students are ranked among the highest in Georgia for their test scores. They were also able to maintain the number of kids reading on grade level in third grade during the pandemic. 

Lumpkin County ELA stats

Lumpkin County students are in the top three for RESA ACT and SAT scores. He also mentioned the community involvement through the summer program Well Read Well Fed which was recognized at the most recent board meeting.

Brown also spoke about the financial challenges that everyone in the country is currently dealing with and how that is affecting the school system. The clip below is his explanation on the subject.

Dr. Lovell was the last to speak on his school’s education programs. Mt. Ed’s goal is to be the number one choice for a second chance. Lovell explained that they don’t compete with the traditional school systems but they partner with them to help the students that quit traditional school or need to make up credits.

Currently, they have 1,000 employees but only 38 are full-time. Some of the staff work during the day at traditional schools and then come in to teach at Mt. Ed at night.

Dr. Lovell and Spraker while the challenge coin is being presented.

Since the 2007-08 school year they have graduated 508 students. The teachers also got together and came up with a new learning software during the pandemic called TRAILS that better meets the Georgia Educational Standards.

He also touched on the future of Mt. Ed, their current charter is up next June but they are working to keep Mt. Ed going. They are now under the Department of Education and have been meeting with state representatives to explain how important what they do at Mt. Ed is to the communities they serve.

“We are cautiously optimistic, when Senate Bill 153 was passed last year there were parts that we can certainly embrace and we were under the State Charter Commission for the past 10 years. That piece of legislation removed us from that umbrella and put us back under the Department of Education and we have lived there before and it is our hope that we will continue to live as a charter school,” explained Lovell.

To see the luncheon in full please visit

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