Governor Nathan Deal - Georgia’s 82nd Governor (2011-2019)

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Deal appoints 26 to boards

July 22, 2011

Robert Bauer, Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission
Bauer is chair of the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Valdosta State University. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer. Bauer is also a member of the state board of directors for Georgia Family Connection, chair of the Lowndes/Valdosta Commission for Children and Youth, and a board member of Elderhostel, Inc., an international educational program for persons 60 years of age and older. He and his wife, Anunciacion, reside in Valdosta.

Curtis Harris “Curt” Collier, Civil War Commission
Collier is in field sales for Henry Schein Medical, covering the territory of Athens and the majority of northeast Georgia for almost 11 years. He serves on the Vestry of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Athens and is a life member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Historical Society (National and Georgia). Collier earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in 1991. He and his wife, Georgia, have two children.

David Blanton Dove, Civil War Commission
Dove is currently enrolled in the University of Georgia School of Law, Class of 2014. Previously, he worked for Congressman Paul Broun, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, and most recently for Gov. Deal as county and local government affairs liaison. He is a member of the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation. Dove earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.

James “Tripp” Mitchell, Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies (Reappointment)
Mitchell’s career spans many years of experience in public law enforcement, security consulting and private investigation. After graduating from the police academy, he began his career as a police officer where he served as a patrol officer, field training officer and as a detective. Mitchell later became a criminal investigator with the State Court Prosecutor’s Office and was eventually promoted to chief investigator. He is a past president of the Georgia Association of Professional Private Investigators and served that association in various areas. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP) by the American Society for Industrial Security. As a certified training instructor, he teaches at several regional police academies and is an adjunct college instructor in criminal justice. He and his wife, Trish, live in Villa Rica and have one son, Avery.

Alexander “Alex” Gross, Composite Medical Board (Reappointment)
Gross is reappointed the Georgia Composite Medical Board, having served as its immediate past chairman. He currently serves as an associate professor of Dermatology as well as Public Health and Family Medicine at Emory University. He is also the medical director of the Georgia Dermatology Center in Cumming. Gross received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Emory University and his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and the American College of Laser Medicine and Surgery.

Thomas R. Dirksen, Historical Records Advisory Board (Reappointment)
Dirksen retired as Associate Dean Emeritus from the Medical College of Georgia where he taught and conducted research for over three decades. He has published more than 150 scientific papers, abstracts and book chapters. He has held various offices and served on numerous committees with the International and the American Associations of Dental Research, the American Association of Dental Schools, the American Dental Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected fellow) and the National Institutes of Health. Dirksen was recently acknowledged for his 40 years of service to the Augusta Richmond County Library, having served as president of the board of trustees and the Friends of the Augusta Library for several terms. He is a member and has served as president of the Augusta Genealogical Society. He earned a bachelor's degree from Bradley University, received a master’s and Ph.D. (Biochemistry) from the University of Rochester, and completed a residency in Pediatric Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Dispensary. He and his wife, Jean, live in Augusta. They have six children and 13 grandchildren.

Kaye Lanning Minchew, Historical Records Advisory Board (Reappointment)
Minchew has served as director of the Troup County Archives since 1985 and also serves as director of Legacy Museum on Main, both located on Main Street in LaGrange. The Troup County Archives received the Council Exemplary Service Award from the Society of American Archivists in 2009. She has been a member of the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board since 1993. She received graduate degrees in history and library science from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is married to Gregory, an engineer. The couple resides in LaGrange.

P. Toby Graham, Historical Records Advisory Board (Reappointment)
Graham is deputy university librarian and director of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia. He also serves as director of the Digital Library of Georgia, a collaborative initiative led by GALILEO and the UGA Libraries to digitize and provide online access to key resources on Georgia history and life. Graham earned a Ph.D. in library science and master’s degrees in history and library science from the University of Alabama. He and his wife, Suzanne, have two children and reside in Athens.

Jamil S. Zainaldin, Historical Records Advisory Board (Reappointment)
Zainaldin is president of the Georgia Humanities Council. He attended Warner Robins High School, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago. Zainaldin is a member of the Georgia Association of Historians and Friends of the Georgia Archives. He has taught and published works about American history; he is co-founder of the award-winning New Georgia Encyclopedia. He also serves on state and national educational boards. Zainaldin promotes history education as important for character development and civic values. He and his wife, Ingrid, have three children and three grandchildren. The couple resides in Dunwoody.

Sheryl B. Vogt, Historical Records Advisory Board (Reappointment)
Vogt is the director of the Richard B. Russell Library for political research and studies. She is a fellow of the Society of American Archivists and a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists. She serves as president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and holds an appointment to the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress. Vogt was named the Scone Foundation’s 2004 Archivist of the Year. She is also a fellow of the Society of Georgia Archivists, served as society president in 1983, and was editor of its professional journal Provenance for 10 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and an education specialist degree from the University of Georgia. Vogt and her husband, John, have two children and reside in Athens.

Sheila Studdard, Historical Records Advisory Board
Studdard is the clerk of superior, state and magistrate courts for Fayette County. Prior to being elected in 2000, Studdard was an Atlanta police officer with 10 years of service. Currently serving as chairman, she was appointed to the Superior Court Clerks’ Retirement Fund in 2006. She was instrumental in passing the enabling eFiling and eRecording legislation in the 2009 General Assembly. Studdard earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She is a 2006 graduate of the Coverdell Leadership Institute. She and her husband, David, have three children and one grandchild and reside in Fayetteville.

Carey Williams, Historical Records Advisory Board
Williams has been the editor of The Herald Journal in Greensboro since 1969. The paper has been in family for more than 100 years. He is also editor of the Crawfordville newspaper. He attended Georgia Military College and the University of Georgia. Carey and his wife have one daughter and one son who they lost to ALS at the age of 39. They reside in Greensboro.

Janice N. Wittschiebe, State Board of Architects and Interior Designers
Wittschiebe is currently serving as treasurer on the board of the Georgia State American Institute of Architects where she has been a board member since 2009 and member since 1976. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Tech Foundation and the Georgia Tech Athletic Board. Previously she served as advisory board member to Tech’s president, board of trustees member and president of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Wittschiebe has also served as an advisory board member to Vice Chancellor Bill Chatham and is currently working with the Georgia State Investment Commission on the State Construction Manual. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a member of Rotary Atlanta. She currently resides in Atlanta.

Rachel L. Willis, Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia
After graduating from Smith College in 2004, Willis joined the field of education as a Teach for America corps member. After teaching second through fourth grade in the system, she was named the 2009-2010 Atlanta Public Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year. The following year Willis was honored nationally as a Milken Educator Award recipient. The Milken Family Foundation honors early and mid-career teachers for what they have achieved and the promise they possess in impacting education in the future. She recently received her Ed.M. in Education Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College. Currently, she teaches third grade at Morningside Elementary in Atlanta and serves on Gov. Deal’s Education Advisory Board.

Pam Williams, Professional Standards Commission
Williams has recently finished her year of service as the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year. She currently serves on Gov. Deal’s Teacher Advisory Board and the AdvancEd Council and is a member of the board of directors for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. In her 21st year as an educator, she currently teaches American government and economics at Appling County High School. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Brewton Parker College and both master’s and education specialist degrees from Georgia Southern University. She is a National Board Certified teacher and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University. She is also an active member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Williams is the mother of three children and resides in Baxley.

Heath Garrett, Professional Standards Commission
Garrett is a founding member of the law firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett LLC and Georgia360 Public Affairs. He leads the Southeast office of the Stevens and Schreifer Group, a national media advertising firm. Garrett currently serves on the boards of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Quality Growth and the Georgia chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He previously served as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's chief of staff, where he worked as the chief political strategist for Isakson's successful U.S. Senate campaigns in 2004 and 2010. Garrett’s other political clients have included: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the Georgia Republican Party. From 1996 through 1998, he served as a legal and policy adviser to Chairman Johnny Isakson and the Georgia State Board of Education. Garrett is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1995, where he served as an editor for the Georgia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Garrett and his wife, Lee, have three children. The family resides in Marietta.

Christy C. McGill, Professional Standards Commission
McGill has been a teacher in Gwinnett County for nine years and currently teaches kindergarten at Dacula Elementary School. She graduated from Georgia State University in the winter of 2002 and received a bachelor’s degree in the field of early childhood education. McGill returned to Georgia State University a few years later and received both a master’s and specialist degree in early childhood education. In addition, she received her Teacher Support Specialist endorsement through Gwinnett County and has been trained in mentoring teachers. During her career, McGill has had the opportunity to supervise a Georgia State University student teacher, coordinate Dacula Elementary’s three day summer pre-kindergarten program and serve as grade level chair for two consecutive years. She was also named a Teacher of the Year finalist at Dacula Elementary for the 2008-2009 academic school year. She currently serves on her school’s literacy team, as well as the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Board for the state of Georgia. She resides in Grayson.

Jerry Willis, Board of Corrections
Willis served 28 years in maritime safety for the Coast Guard. He was formerly captain of the port for Savannah and Brunswick and has formerly served on the Governor’s Office of Consumers Affairs and the Board of Public Safety. His various other duty stations include Jacksonville, New Orleans, St. Louis, Singapore and Washington. Willis served detached duty to the U.S. Army in the Republic of Vietnam and liaison to the U.S. Maritime Administration. His final assignment in 1996 was director of the Coast Guard Olympic Task Force and chairman of the Savannah Federal/State Olympic Security Force. After retiring, he worked as a maritime security consultant in Louisiana and Nigeria. Willis and his wife, Debra, have four children and two grandchildren and live in Perry.

Donald W. Venn, II, Board of Public Health
Venn is a retired colonel who retired as the Chief of Staff of the Georgia Army National Guard in 2005. He served as deputy director of the Georgia Office of Homeland Security from 2006 to 2008. He currently serves as assistant adjutant general of operations for the Georgia Department of Defense. Venn received a master’s in Education in 1976 from Armstrong State College. He and his wife, Carole, have two sons and three grandchildren and reside in Kennesaw.

James M. Smith, Board of Public Health
Smith is an adjunct professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a consultant in the field of biophysics. He worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 22 years and retired in 2006 as associate director for radiation in CDC’s Center for Environmental Health. Prior to CDC, Smith was an associate research professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He is a past recipient of several federal career awards; among them is the U.S. Public Health Service Superior Service Award. He is a graduate of West Virginia University, where he also earned master’s and doctorate degrees in physics. He and his wife, June, reside in Braselton and have three children and five grandchildren.

Cynthia F. Greene, Board of Public Health
Greene is a current partner at Bennett Family Dentistry in Gainesville. In Hall County, she serves in the Junior League, is an active board member of Teen Pregnancy Prevention and volunteers at the Good News Clinic to help provide dental care to the underserved. Greene is a member of the Georgia Dental Association, American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia Honors Program in microbiology and a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Florida. Greene and her husband, John, have two daughters, Bailey and Carly.    

James W. Curran, Board of Public Health
Curran has been dean and professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health since 1995. In 2009, the deanship of the school was endowed in his honor and he holds the position as the first James W. Curran Dean of Public Health. Since 1997, he has also served as principal investigator and co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research. Curran has been the author of more than 260 scientific publications. He serves on numerous local and national nonprofit boards and committees. Curran has also served as chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health and currently serves on the executive committee. He came to Emory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he served for more than two decades. From 1981 to 1995, he was a leader of the CDC’s HIV research and prevention efforts. Curran and his wife, Juanita, have two adult children and have lived in Atlanta since 1978.
Phillip L. Williams, Board of Public Health
Williams is the founding dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia, and he holds the Georgia Power Professorship of Environmental Health Science in the college’s Department of Environmental Health Science. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications, including two textbooks on toxicology. Prior to his tenure at UGA, which began in 1993, Dr. Williams was vice president of the Environmental Health Division of A.T. Kearney, a senior research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the industrial hygienist with the USDOL/OSHA. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and a doctoral degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Theda, have two children and two grandchildren. The couple resides in Watkinsville.

Kathryn K. Cheek, Board of Public Health
Cheek is the current president of the Georgia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has practiced primary care pediatrics in Columbus for the past 25 years, serving on multiple local and state boards throughout her career. Cheek earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and both a master’s degree in health education and an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. She and her husband, Ben, have three children. The family resides in Columbus.
Gary D. Nelson, Board of Public Health
Nelson has served as president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation since its inception in 2002. Prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Nelson was program director for the California Wellness Foundation. Nelson previously served as the associate director for evaluation and chief of the Health Promotion and Training Branch in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nelson has held academic appointments at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Nebraska, and he currently holds adjunct appointments at Emory University and Georgia Southern University. He is currently a member of the American Public Health Association and the Georgia Public Health Association. Nelson resides in Smyrna and has four children.
Mitch Rodriguez, Board of Public Health
Rodriguez currently serves as Regional Neonatal Medical Director for the Macon region. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, member of the Medical Association of Georgia, clinical associate professor of Pediatrics at Mercer Medical School and is a practicing neonatologist in Macon. He serves as chairman of the board at Mount de Sales, Macon. Rodriguez earned his medical degree from Universidad Nordestana in the Dominican Republic and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. He and his wife have two children. The family resides in Macon.

Robert S. Harshman, Board of Public Health
Harshman is the Medical Director of Georgia Power/Southern Company as well as the Trojan Battery Company. He serves on the Advisory Council for Public Health and on the Advisory Board of the Rollins School of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) at Emory. Harshman is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), the Georgia Chapter of ACOEM, the Medical Association of Georgia and Atlanta and the Southern Medical Association. Harshman earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a medical degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara Medical School.