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.


GSBA Leading Edge Award

About the Leading Edge Awards

The GSBA Leading Edge Award seeks to highlight school districts that are leading the way in ensuring students are competitive in an ever-changing global market.

This unique achievement will recognize innovative design and implementation of projects and programs by local governance teams that are having a significant positive impact on student achievement and engagement. The award is open to any school system in Georgia.

The awards are presented at the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference in Atlanta. The Award will be rated and scored by an outside organization. We look forward to honoring the outstanding work of school districts all over Georgia.

Throughout the year, Leading Edge Award recipients may be asked to present on their recognized program at GSBA trainings and events.


The applicants select one of the 9 components of the Georgia Vision for Public Education that aligns to their innovative practice.

  1. Continuous Improvement
  2. Communication
  3. Early Learning & Student Success
  4. Teaching & Learning
  5. Teaching & Learning Resources
  6. Human & Organizational Capital
  7. Governance, Leadership & Accountability
  8. Culture, Climate & Organizational Efficacy
  9. Financial Resources

Apply for the Leading Edge Award

Leading Edge Award applications open on Friday, August 18 – Friday, September 29 at 5:00pm.

GSBA will be utilizing Award Force, an online platform, 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. If you have already created an account for previous programs, you do not have to create a new one. Simply log in with your existing username and select the Leading Edge Award application. If you have not previously created an account in Award Force, please do so when the application becomes available on August 18.

NEW THIS YEAR! Updates for the FY2023 Leading Edge Award Application:

GSBA has updated the application with additional questions/criteria for the FY23 Leading Edge Award.

  • Applicants must describe the following in their application:
    • How their program aligns with the Vision component selected.
    • How their program impacts the students in their district.
    • How they measure the outcomes of their program.
    • Provide evidence/data that supports those outcomes.
  • Applicants must also now provide 4 unique artifacts supporting the program description. All artifacts must come from different sources. (i.e., a picture of the program and a newspaper article that includes the same picture will not be accepted as 2 separate artifacts).
  • Applicants will continue to provide 4 letters of support. However, one letter must now be from a student or parent of a student that has been impacted by the program.

Program Guidelines:

  • The Leading Edge Award application process opens on Friday, August 18, 2023, and closes on Friday, September 29, 2023, at 5:00pm.
  • Please note the entry deadline. This date is final and there will be no extensions provided. The system will automatically prevent entry submission after the deadline.
  • Any application information emailed directly to GSBA will not be accepted. All supporting documents must be submitted through this platform.
  • You may edit your application after submitting it, up until the application deadline.
  • You may save your work and come back to it at any time during the application period.
  • Please make sure all your personal details are entered accurately, including contact details.
  • Returning applicants must submit different innovative practices for this year’s competition.
  • These awards will be presented at the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference in December 2023.
  • Recipients of the Leading Edge Award may be asked to present at future GSBA trainings and events.
  • Districts may select only 1 of the 9 components of the Georgia Vision Recommendations that aligns with their innovative program. More information on the Vision Components can be found on GSBA’s website here.
  • The 4 required artifacts may be uploaded in a variety of ways. You can include a combination of PDFs, images, videos, or URLs.
  • IMAGES: may be uploaded as gif, jpeg, jpg, png, tif, or tiff.
  • VIDEOS: may be uploaded as an mp4 or wmv. Videos CAN NOT be more than 5 minutes long.
  • LINKS: up to 2 links may be provided. If you have a link to a newspaper article and a subscription is required to read the article, please PDF it and upload it instead of providing the URL. Otherwise, judges will be unable to review your artifact.

2022 Leading Edge Award Winners

Baldwin County Schools

Barrow County Schools

Carrollton City Schools

Cartersville City Schools

Chattahoochee County Schools

Cherokee County Schools

Dooly County Schools

Early County Schools

Gordon County Schools

Griffin-Spalding County Schools

Harris County Schools

Heard County Schools

Henry County Schools

Houston County Schools

Jefferson City Schools

Lumpkin County Schools

Muscogee County Schools

Newton County Schools

Oconee County Schools

Oglethorpe County Schools

Rockdale County Schools

Savannah-Chatham County Schools

Social Circle City Schools

Twiggs County Schools

Walton County Schools

Washington County Schools

Wayne County Schools

Whitfield County Schools

Please note:

The Leading Edge award and the Governance Team of the Year award are different from the board recognition program (Quality, Distinguished & Exemplary Boards). The board recognition program still exists and will be awarded this year at the GSBA/GSSA Annual Conference.


Leigh Crow, Program Manager: Conferences & Events