GAEL Exemplary Service Award for SSTAGE

Each year, the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) provides members the opportunity to nominate fellow members for the Exemplary Service Award. Recipients are recognized at the Winter GAEL Conference. The honor goes to individuals who have provided GAEL and the educational community with exemplary and distinguished service. Each Affiliate and Associate within the GEL organization nominate someone within the ranks of their membership as a recipient of this award.

2017 Recipient - Dr. Paula Freer
DeKalb County School District
Dr. Paula Freer, DeKalb County School District

Dr. Jim Puckett Outstanding Educator Award for SSTAGE

Each year, the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) provides members the opportunity to nominate fellow members for the Outstanding Educator Award. Recipients are recognized at the Summer GAEL Conference. The honor goes to individuals who personify the leadership qualities modeled by GAEL’s third executive director Dr. Jim Puckett. Individuals who are nominated must possess a record of service for the profession of educational leadership that is considered exemplary and exhibit leadership characteristics that are considered a positive role model for others.

2015 Recipient - Jennifer Schau
Forsyth County Schools
Jennifer Schau, Forsyth County Schools
2016 Recipient - Lynn Pennington
SSTAGE Executive Director (Retired)
Lynn Pennington, SSTAGE Executive Director (Retired)

Intervention Resilience Award

The Intervention Resilience Award is based on the idea that research-based interventions and even small changes can make a significant difference in a child’s life. This award is established to honor educators who possess the spirit, attitude, aptitude, and determination to successfully implement interventions matched to student needs. The award seeks to recognize educators who believe in the resilience of students and make a positive impact in the lives of students with academic and behavioral challenges. The recipients of this award, along with their students, will have the opportunity to share the story of their successful intervention implementation, highlighting the positive student outcomes (data).

2014 Recipient - Dacula Middle School
Gwinnett County Schools
Dacula Middle School, Gwinnett County Schools

Sage of SSTAGE Award

2011 Recipient - Frank “Buz” Y. Smith
Co-founder of SSTAGE
Frank “Buz” Y. Smith

Co-founder of SSTAGE and former GaDOE Liaison to the SSTAGE Board of Directors, Frank “Buz” Y. Smith was honored at the February 9th Best Practices Conferences for his many years of service to educators, families, and students in Georgia. He served more than 30 years in education, with 28 of them at the Department of Education. During this time, Frank co-produced many best practices manuals and presented throughout the state and at national conferences. In 2000, he and Lynn Pennington co-founded the Metro SST Consortium in 2000, which later incorporated as a non-profit organization called SSTAGE. Frank was instrumental in ensuring this organization was started off on the right foot, and we like to say that he is the “Sage of SSTAGE.”    Pictured above with Frank are Debbie Rondem, the 2010-11 SSTAGE President, and Executive Director Lynn Pennington.


Pyramid of Interventions & RTI Leadership Award

2010 Recipient - John Wight
John Wight

On January 13, 2010, John Wight, GaDOE’s Director of Assessment Administration and Accountability, was presented with a special award entitled Pyramid of Interventions & RTI Leadership Award for his statewide leadership in RTI and Pyramid of Interventions.


RTI Lifesaver Award

2009 Recipient - Jim Wright
Jim Wright

Dr. Paula Freer, 2009 SSTAGE President, presented Jim Wright with the RTI Lifesaver Award at the 2009 SSTAGE Fall Conference for his contribution to RTI and his continuous outreach to educators through the development of the Intervention Central website and other free sites.