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

The 2022 Board Recognition Program is Now Closed

View the updated FY2022 Board Recognition criteria. All changes are highlighted in yellow.

Program Deadlines + Reminders

  • Applicants will be notified of their award status this fall.
  • 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, 2022, in order to receive recognition.
  • These awards will be presented during the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference in December.

2021 Board Recognition Recipients

In FY21 there were 13 Quality Boards, 5 Distinguished Boards, and 60 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 which challenges boards, but creates a culture of success for students and communities.

Quality Boards

2021 Quality Boards

Atlanta Public Schools

Bibb County School District

Bremen City Schools

Candler County School District

Gilmer County Schools

Lamar County Schools

Macon County School System

Pike County Schools

Social Circle City Schools

Thomasville City Schools

Turner County Schools

Valdosta City Schools

White County Schools

Distinguished Boards

2021 Distinguished Boards

Carroll County School System

Gainesville City Schools

Pelham City Schools Charter System

Pulaski County Schools

Washington County Schools

Exemplary Boards

2021 Exemplary Boards

Bacon County School District

Baldwin County Schools

Barrow County School System

Ben Hill County Schools

Bleckley County Schools

Brantley County Schools

Bryan County Schools

Burke County Public Schools

Calhoun City Schools

Carrollton City Schools

Catoosa County Public Schools

Chattahoochee County Schools

Chickamauga City Schools

Clayton County Public Schools

Coffee County Schools

Colquitt County Schools

Coweta County Schools

Dade County Schools

Dalton Public Schools

Dawson County School District

Dodge County Schools

Dooly County School System

Douglas County School System

Dublin City Schools

Early County School System

Effingham County Schools

Fannin County Schools

Fayette County Public Schools

Gordon County Schools

Greene County School System

Griffin-Spalding County School System

Hall County Schools

Haralson County School District

Harris County School District

Hart County Charter System

Henry County Schools

Houston County School District

Jefferson City Schools

Jefferson County Schools

Jones County School System

Madison County Charter School System

Marietta City Schools

McDuffie County School System

Monroe County Schools

Murray County Schools

Muscogee County School District

Oconee County Schools

Oglethorpe County School System

Paulding County School District

Pierce County Schools

Polk School District

Richmond County School System

Rockdale County Public Schools

Thomaston-Upson Schools

Walker County Schools

Walton County School District

Ware County School District

Whitfield County School District

Wilcox County Schools

Wilkinson County School District

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. 

GSBA will be utilizing Award Force, an online platform, to streamline 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. If you have already created an account for a different program or application for GSBA, you do not have to create a new one. Simply log in with your existing username and select the Beacon Award application. If you have not previously created an account in Award Force, please do so when the application becomes available. If you would like to watch a demo of how the Award Force platform works, please click here.

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

Program Deadlines + Reminders

  • The Beacon Award application opens on August 11, 2022.
  • Participating districts must complete their applications by Friday, October 14, 2022, at 5:00 pm.


  • 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.