ATLANTA – An Acworth resident has been selected by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve on the new state Charter Schools Commission that will have the power to authorize charter schools in Georgia.
Jennifer Rippner, 37, is one of seven Georgia residents appointed to the commission by the state Board of Education last week. She also served on the former state charter committee and moved to Cobb about four months ago from Gwinnett County.
“I didn’t necessarily expect to be placed back on the commission but am really flattered to be asked to serve on it again,” she said Tuesday. “I think the governor, speaker and lieutenant governor as well as the state board really did a great job (with their nominations), and I am looking forward to serving with my fellow commissioners.”
Spokesperson for the governor’s office Stephanie Mayfield said, “Rippner undoubtedly brings a lot to the table.”
Mayfield said Deal is “confident that Rippner will continue to play a key role in ensuring the commission holds a high bar for charter school approval as we work together to improve educational opportunities for Georgia's children.”
Rippner echoed Deal’s message about holding the commission to a high standard.
“It’s all about a high bar, having integrity with the process and working with the districts,” she said. “I think our local school districts, for the most part, do a really good job already. I believe in public schools in general, and I think charter schools are a great public school option.”
Rippner is an attorney who has spent her career working in education policy.
She currently serves as a consultant for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers of Chicago and is a graduate research assistant at the University of Georgia, where she is working towards her doctorate in higher education.
She earned her B.A. and a law degree from the University of Florida and has previously worked as a senior policy and legal advisor at Education Counsel LLC, as education policy advisor to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, charter schools program manager for the Georgia Department of Education and director of the Charter School Accountability Center at Florida State University.
Commission members were appointed by the state board based on two recommendations for each open seat from the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
Deal also nominated Charles Knapp as interim chairman and Tony Lowden. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle nominated Tom Lewis if Cartersville and Paul W. Williams. Speaker David Ralston nominated Jose Perez and James E. Hogg.