Our state lost a great leader last week with the passing of former First Lady Sandra Deal.
Mrs. Deal was never elected to office — but she served just the same by her husband Nathan’s side over his nearly 40 years serving Georgia in Atlanta and Washington.
Her priority over those years wasn’t famous folks in Atlanta or visits to the White House in Washington; it was Georgia’s children.
Mrs. Deal was a career educator who began her public service before her husband did as a teacher in her native Hall County.
Over the years she stayed close to many of her students as they grew into adults and had children of their own.
She visited with students around the state, spending time in schools in every single one of our 159 counties.
One recognition of her work on behalf of Georgia’s students came in 2017, when the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy was named for her at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville where she received her college degree.
Mrs. Deal worked hard to achieve that degree, and dedicated her life to ensuring that Georgia’s students who came behind her have great opportunities as well, no matter where they grow up or go to school. Her emphasis on childhood literacy will continue to pay dividends for the children of the 159th District and beyond, and I’m proud to have had the chance to work with her over the years.
As we continue our work to provide educational opportunity and educational excellence to Georgia families from pre-K through college, I hope that we can remember the life and work of Mrs. Deal.
I know that Governor Deal; their children Jason, Mary Emily, Carrie, and Katie; and their grandchildren are missing Mrs. Deal greatly right now.
I pray that they can take solace in the legacy she left behind not just in their family or in Hall County, but in the successes of young people across our state.
Always remember that should you have questions, comments, or concerns about issues affecting District 159, your rights as a parent, or ways you can hold your schools accountable, you can always reach out to me at (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook.
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Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.