The mission of the Georgia School Boards Association is to ensure excellence in the governance of local school systems by providing leadership, advocacy and services, and by representing the collective resolve of Georgia’s elected boards of education.


Awards & Recognition

Board Recognition Program

The GSBA Board Recognition Program is a three-tier process to achieve the highest level in board governance. The three recognition levels are Quality, Distinguished and Exemplary, with Exemplary being the highest level.

GSBA developed this program to reflect the state standards, which offers school boards additional ways to increase their effectiveness. The State Board of Education developed the state standards for governance that form the foundation for GSBA’s awards and recognition program.

Boards no longer must go through the 3 levels in succession. The board may apply for the level in which it meets all the criteria.

Apply for GSBA's Board Recognition program
Apply for GSBA's board recognition program
Apply to GSBA's board recognition program

Applications for this process are now closed.

2023 Board Recognition Program

View the updated FY23 Board Recognition Criteria. All changes are highlighted in yellow.

GSBA will once again be utilizing Award Force, for the board recognition application process. Applicants will have one location to fill out their information, upload supporting evidence, and save and edit their entries up until the deadline. Note: If you have already created an account for Award Force for last year’s application, you do not need to create a new account.


GSBA hosted a webinar to review the updates to the FY23 Board Recognition Program. A link to the updated recording can be found below. A Dropbox link with materials from the webinar can also be found below. This includes the templates that are now required to complete your application as well as some sample documents.

Program Deadlines + Reminders

  • The application process will go from Friday, March 31, 2023 to Friday, July 28, 2023 at 5:00pm.
  • The program operates on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year. All board member training must be completed by 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2023, in order to receive recognition.
  • GSBA will again be utilizing Award Force for this year’s application process. Applicants will have one location to fill out their information, upload supporting evidence, and save and edit their entries up until the deadline. Note: If you have already created an account for Award Force for a different GSBA program or application, you do not need to create a new account.
  • These awards will be presented during the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference in December.

Updates for 2023

For FY2023, the program has been updated with a small number of additional criteria for the Distinguished and Exemplary Levels. We have also worked to streamline the application process overall.

    • Under the Superintendent Evaluation section, all 3 levels will now be asked to provide the date the Superintendent Evaluation was completed.
    • Under the Fiscal Responsibility section, both Distinguished and Exemplary applicants will now be required to provide 1 regularly scheduled meeting agenda that reflects action items related to the budget and its alignment with the strategic plan.
    • Under the Strategic Planning section, only Exemplary applicants will now be required to provide 1 regularly scheduled board meeting agenda that shows the governance team is monitoring the plan and its outcomes at least annually.

To streamline the application process, GSBA has now incorporated templates applicants must use when filling out certain sections of the applications. Templates will be available within the application for download and usage in the following categories:

    • Georgia Vision for Public Education: All applicants will have one document to check off which recommendations they’ve incorporated into their strategic plan.
    • Local Board of Education Training Requirements: All applicants will utilize the template provided in the application to fill out the training their board of education has received.
    • Fiscal Responsibility: All applicants will utilize the template provided in the application to fill out the district’s annual budget calendar.

2023 Board Recognition Recipients

In FY23 there were 6 Quality Boards, 6 Distinguished Boards, and 67 Exemplary Boards.

This Board Recognition Program requires a high level of commitment from school boards and individual members. The ultimate goal is to provide a platform based on governance standards that challenges boards, but creates a culture of success for students and communities.

Quality Boards

2023 Quality Boards

Candler County Schools

Lamar County Schools

Pike County Schools

Sumter County Schools

Thomasville City Schools

White County Schools

Distinguished Boards

2023 Distinguished Boards

Burke County Schools

Gilmer County Schools

Johnson County Schools

Peach County Schools

Pelham City Charter School System

Pulaski County Schools

Exemplary Boards

2023 Exemplary Boards

Bacon County Schools

Baldwin County Schools

Barrow County Schools

Ben Hill County Schools

Bibb County Public Schools

Bleckley County Schools

Bryan County Schools

Calhoun City Schools

Carrollton City Schools

Cartersville City Schools

Catoosa County Schools

Chattahoochee County Schools

Chickamauga City Schools

Clayton County Public Schools

Colquitt County Schools

Commerce City Schools

Dade County Schools

Dalton Public Schools

Dawson County Schools

Dodge County Schools

Dooly County Schools

Dougherty County Schools

Douglas County Schools

Dublin City Schools

Early County Schools

Effingham County Schools

Fannin County Schools

Fayette County Public Schools

Gainesville City School System

Gordon County Schools

Greene County Schools

Griffin-Spalding County Schools

Hall County Schools

Haralson County Schools

Harris County Schools

Hart County Schools

Henry County Schools

Houston County Schools

Jackson County Schools

Jefferson City Schools

Jefferson County Schools

Jones County Schools

Madison County Charter Schools

Marietta City Schools

McDuffie County Schools

Meriwether County Schools

Mitchell County Schools

Murray County Schools

Muscogee County Schools

Oconee County Schools

Oglethorpe County Schools

Paulding County Schools

Pierce County Schools

Polk County Schools

Rockdale County Schools

Rome City Schools

Social Circle City Schools

Thomaston-Upson Schools

Twiggs County Public Schools

Walton County Schools

Ware County Schools

Wayne County Schools

Webster County Schools

Whitfield County Schools

Wilcox County Schools

Wilkinson County Schools

Beacon Award

GSBA’s Beacon award recognizes reporting on public education by people, representatives, or organizations whose coverage or projects over time (rather than a one-time article) has created an understanding of public education issues by informing the general public about programs, policies and/or issues affecting the public schools, students, and/or communities.

Reporting mechanisms include online publications, television programs, radio broadcasts, printed publications, podcasting, etc. The board of education must officially nominate and approve the nomination for a Beacon Award.

Please note: The purpose is not to congratulate school-related production from students or school employees. 

Board Signature Document
*This must be signed and uploaded to the Beacon Award application

Congratulations 2023 Beacon Award Recipients!

The Oglethorpe Echo

Nominated by

Oglethorpe County Schools

Liberty County Schools Public Relations

Nominated by

Liberty County Schools

The Baldwin Bulletin

Nominated by

Baldwin County Schools

Program Deadlines + Reminders

The Beacon Award application is now closed.


  • Examples should be included that demonstrate how the representative or organization has helped to create an understanding of public education issues include: online publications, television programs, radio broadcasts, print publications, podcasting, etc. Examples include: fair, non-biased reporting of education; a regular news source devoted to public education issues (aside from reports on athletics).
  • Individuals and organizations are not eligible to win the award in consecutive years.

Other GSBA Awards

GSBA will continue the regular cycle for the Partnership Commendations, and Board Service Recognition. We offer a variety of other awards for school board members, superintendents and districts in Georgia:

  • Governance Team of the Year – this award honors the top board/superintendent team that best demonstrates its commitment to maximizing student achievement and enhancing trust and support for public education in their community.
  • Leading Edge Award– the Leading Edge Award seeks to highlight school districts who are leading the way in ensuring students are competitive in an ever-changing global market.