“The Get Georgia Reading Campaign connects the dots of education to ensure we’re supporting children from the time they are born through graduation and on to a successful career. We can’t wait until a child is in high school to think about how to boost their chances of graduation. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The Campaign provides a framework to break us out of our silos and bring us back to focus on the basics across that continuum so we can build on those basics to ensure all of Georgia’s children have an opportunity to succeed.”
Randy Nix, State Representative (Retired)
Former Rep. Randy Nix brings a wealth of knowledge and diverse expertise to the Georgia House of Representatives and the Get Georgia Reading Cabinet. When Nix first heard a presentation about the Get Georgia Reading Campaign in 2015, it was like a “lightbulb was turned on” with the four-pillar framework for action connecting the dots from prenatal through postsecondary education and the workforce in a way he had never heard before. Since that time, he’s worked to spread the Campaign’s message across the state. While serving in the Georgia House of Representatives, he shared the four-pillar approach with his colleagues on the House Education Committee. Since retiring from office in 2021, Nix has helped position other Campaign leaders in front of key local and state audiences to further advance this comprehensive approach.
After Campaign leaders met with local partners in Heard County, one of the counties in Nix’s legislative district, the school system launched a Baby Braves effort in 2016 to reach, engage, and support families with preschool-age children, beginning at birth, to promote school readiness. As part of the district’s efforts to increase graduation rates, which already exceeded state averages, Baby Braves connects the district and community partners as they distribute children’s books and activities, host family friendly events, and share information about child development. This innovative approach is spreading across the state, with other districts “enrolling” young children and families in similar programs.
While in office, Nix also worked to advance legislation that applies the four pillars statewide. He played a leadership role in increasing funding for the expansion of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as Georgia has seen the number of schools applying this evidence-based approach to improving learning climates grow from just 50 in 2007 to more than 1,400 in 2021.
With Georgia data showing that higher counts of K – 3 out-of-school suspensions correlate with lower reading and math proficiency, Nix partnered with Rep. Henry “Wayne” Howard on HB740 in 2018. This legislation prohibits students in preschool through third grade from being suspended from school for more than five days without first receiving supports for any identified academic and behavioral needs.
As this legislation helped expose the need for more health care professionals who can respond to the needs of children, Nix advocated for policies that ensure children across the state have access to the care they need whether through telehealth services or streamlined processes to recognize the out-of-state credentials of military spouses and others who move to Georgia.
Nix and his colleagues in the legislature also worked to strengthen the capacity of Georgia’s teachers to apply the science of reading in the classroom, engaging the deans of education schools to ensure programs are including the teaching of reading in their core curriculum.
Nix says that if Georgia is going to continue to thrive and be the No. 1 place in the country to do business, failure in getting all kids on the path to reading proficiency by third grade is simply not an option.