Colquitt County Chosen as Recipient of UGA Leadership Development Resources

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

A University of Georgia leadership initiative will partner with seven new organizations over the next year to develop leaders equipped to address critical issues in communities across Georgia. The Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority, in partnership with Colquitt Count Schools, is among the selected organizations.

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, developed the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative in 2020 with private funding donated by members of the Fanning Institute Advisory Board, most notably a lead gift from the James L. Allgood Family.

Through the initiative, the institute provides resources and technical support to communities and organizations in Georgia seeking to enhance their leadership development efforts.

“Strong communities must have leaders from all walks of life who can identify challenges and know how to build the right team to affect change,” said Matt Bishop, Director of the Fanning Institute. “The Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative allows us to support communities who share this commitment, but lack the resources needed to make it happen.”

With this support from the Fanning Institute, the Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority will be developing soft skills training program for the school system that that will be taught with a specific focus on leadership development.  Barbara Grogan, President of the Development Authority, and Timothy Hobbs, Director of the Career Technical and Agricultural Education program for Colquitt County Schools, will serve as project leads, bringing together business leaders and school personnel as needed to create and implement a successful program.

“Understanding many personal skills can be taught through the lens of leadership, we believe faculty members of the Fanning Institute have the expertise, resources, and understanding of how to develop a program to address soft skills for students in Colquitt County Schools,” says Grogan.  “Soft skills cover many topics, such as showing up on time, paying attention, and being engaged and active, which are skills individuals need at all stages of life. Whether a student is in third grade, middle school, high school, is an employee on a job, or simply a member of a family, soft skills enable a person to be actively engaged and participative in their environment.”

 Over the next year, the Fanning Institute faculty and staff will work with the Development Authority and the school system to develop and build out the proposed leadership program. 

“Our youth are our future workforce, and in time, the impact and benefits of this program will be evident in the community,” says Colquitt County Schools Superintendent Ben Wiggins. “While this program will be specifically designed for Colquitt County, it could very well be a model for other school systems in the future.”

As part of the Innovations in Community Leadership Initiative, communities are expected to sustain and continue the programming over multiple years. Once the program curriculum is defined and the initial cohort underway (expected August 2022), the Development Authority is prepared to secure funding for implementation over future years.