First Lady Sandra Deal last week visited Rowland Elementary School in Stone Mountain, marking her 900th school visit since Gov. Nathan Deal took office in 2011.
“My goal has been and continues to be encouraging children to want to learn to read,” said Mrs. Deal. “I plan to continue my visits to schools as long as I have the opportunity to serve and I hope to visit many of the schools I have not yet been to. Reading is the gift that keeps on giving and education is essential for any student to achieve lifelong success. Knowledge is power, and when we teach students to love reading at an early age, we give them the confidence to acquire that power for the rest of their lives.”
As a former teacher of 15 years in Georgia’s public schools, Mrs. Deal is dedicated to promoting statewide childhood literacy. In total, Mrs. Deal has completed 900 school visits in all 159 counties and all 181 public school districts during her time as Georgia’s first lady.
“Early in Gov. Deal’s administration, Mrs. Deal quickly set a high standard of work ethic among the staff,” said Chris Riley, Gov. Deal’s chief of staff. “As a passionate advocate for student achievement, Mrs. Deal cares for each of the students she meets and she has inspired countless young people to love reading. Come Jan. 14, 2019, I would not be surprised if Mrs. Deal has visited 1,000 schools across Georgia.”
When visiting a school, Mrs. Deal typically meets with the office staff, reads to a class of students, recognizes educators and discusses the importance of childhood literacy. From Oct. 1-5, Georgia observed Georgia Pre-K Week, during which time Mrs. Deal visited 24 schools. She has visited as many as eight schools in a single day.
Mrs. Deal is a co-chair of the Georgia Literacy Commission, which hosts a series of symposiums to examine and improve low literacy rates. She also plays a significant role in “Read Across Georgia Month” during March and has partnered with the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, an initiative that aims to have all of Georgia’s students reading on grade-level by the end of the third grade.