News Release

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Zaundra Brown
Director of Public Relations and Information
404.297.9522, ext. 1757


Dr. Jabari Simama Inaugurated as Georgia Piedmont Tech's Third President

Clarkston, GA - February 27, 2013

Dr. Jabari SimamaDr. Jabari Simama was sworn in as the third president of Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) during a formal installation service today at the school's DeKalb Campus Conference Center in Clarkston, Ga.

Simama's inaugural address was a celebration of Georgia Piedmont Tech's history and a glimpse of his vision for its future.  

"As we venture into the new chapter of the wonderful story of Georgia Piedmont Technical College, I am reminded of the Sankofa Bird," said Simama. "The bird looks behind it, with the egg of the future in her beak, constantly checking as she moves into the future. The word Sankofa is of the Akan language of Ghana; when translated in English it means to 'go back and get it.' More, specifically, it means to go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward, so we can understand why and how we came to be who we are today."

Simama further explained, "All fellow Georgians who don't have the skills to meet the workforce needs of the 21st Century are like family members being left behind. Our job today as leaders, not only of this institution, but also in the greater society, is to be a Sankofa bird. We must always look back and help bring those behind us, with us as we move forward."

His address also outlined his strategic operating plan, with eight key tenets, for the college: Elevating College in Community, Expanding Student Enrollment, Supporting Student Success, Attracting Visionary Leaders, Opening Communications, Making Data-Driven Strategic Changes, Developing New, Innovative Industry-Needed Programs, and Becoming A Best-In-Class Higher Education Institution.

Simama was introduced by Ron Jackson, commissioner of the Technical College System of Georgia. Greetings from college presidents were delivered by Dr. David Swinton, president of Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., where Simama once served as vice president for community development and external relations. The ceremony also included videotaped greetings from the two members of Congress who represent the districts in which the College has a presence: U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson. Delivering words of welcome in person were: Georgia State Rep. Michele Henson; Dr. Lynn Cornett, chair of the state board of directors of the Technical College System of Georgia; DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis; Ellen Warren, chairman of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners; Richard Oden, chairman/CEO of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners and Keith Ellis, chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners.

Simama's wife,  Nisha was on hand, and received a bouquet of flowers as a token of appreciation. The Simamas' daughter, Ndelea Simama, delivering a poetic tribute to her father. Members of the newly installed president's family attended. Toward the close of the ceremony, the congregation joined in singing the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Alma Mater. A community reception at the same location immediately followed the inauguration ceremony

Simama was named the third president of Georgia Piedmont Tech in August 2012, and assumed office on September 4, 2012, following the retirement of GPTC's former president Dr. Robin Hoffman. Prior to joining Georgia Piedmont Tech, Simama was the chief of staff for DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis since 2010. He was the chief policy advisor and senior officer in the executive office that serves 740,000 county residents and manages a $1.5 billion budget and 7,000 employees. He was the county's deputy chief operating officer of development from 2009 to 2010.

Simama was the vice president for community development and external relations at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he was the executive director of community technology for the City of Atlanta from 2000 to 2005. He served as the City of Atlanta's chief of the office of marketing and communications from 1998 to 2000. His career in higher education includes teaching positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Morgan State University, University of Cincinnati, and Atlanta Junior College (now Atlanta Metropolitan College). Simama held elected office as a member of the Atlanta City Council from 1987 to 1993. He also served as an appointed member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Olympic Games Authority, which provided financial oversight for the Atlanta Olympic Games Committee's $2 billion budget. Simama has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University. He earned his master's from Atlanta (now Clark Atlanta) University and his bachelor's from the University of Bridgeport.

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About Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Established in 1961, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) is one of the top technical colleges in Georgia. As a student-centered institution, GPTC prepares individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing, global economy. In August 2016, Georgia Piedmont was ranked among the top ten technical colleges in terms of enrollment by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. GPTC’s graduation rate is more than 74.3 percent, and its graduates secure employment at a level resulting in a 98.7 percent placement rate. With nearly 4,000 students, Georgia Piedmont’s adult education program is among the largest in the state. The college has 12 learning centers in DeKalb, Newton, Rockdale and Morgan counties. As set forth in its student catalog, Georgia Piedmont Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion, disability, age, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, veteran status, or citizenship status (except in those special circumstances permitted or mandated by law). Contact Lisa Peters, the ADA Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1154, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-170; or Dr. Debra Gordon, the Title IX Coordinator, at 404/297-9522, ext. 1176, or at the main DeKalb campus, 495 N. Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021 Room A-103 for assistance. For more information about our graduation rates and other important program information, please visit our website at

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.