Governor’s wife visits Bainbridge
Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal, visited Bainbridge Monday.
On Monday afternoon, Deal read to Pre-K and kindergarten students at Jones-Wheat Elementary School and toured the Friendship House of Jesus, a faith-based after-school program for local children and youth.
Deal was joined by Katie Jo Ballard, executive director of the Georgia Governor’s Office for Children and Families, and members of both of their staffs. The Governor’s Office of Children and Families Advisory Board, which Deal chairs, held a morning meeting at the Bainbridge-Decatur Chamber of Commerce building.
Local businessman Dan Provence also serves on the advisory board and arranged for Deal to visit Decatur County. The Provence family was scheduled to host a reception for Deal on Monday night, to meet with local government officials and others.
Provence said Deal’s entourage ate lunch at The Bean and did a little shopping at Reeves Linens and Gifts on the downtown square. They also enjoyed seeing the Flint River as they traveled from the Boat Basin to downtown, he said.
Before returning to Atlanta, Deal is also scheduled to read to school students in Seminole, Miller and Early counties, said her assistant, Ember Bishop.
Deal is a retired sixth-grade teacher. Along with her husband, Gov. Nathan Deal, she has placed early childhood education and reading among the First Family’s key initiatives, Bishop said.
This past March, Mrs. Deal launched her “Read Across Georgia initiative in support of Gov. Deal’s goal of increasing the percentage of children reading at grade level by the completion of third grade.
Mrs. Deal hopes to read at a school in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. Going into this week, she’s read at 170 schools in 70 counties, her assistant said.
The children’s book that Mrs. Deal reads everywhere she goes is titled “Who I’d Like To Be.” It’s written by a Georgia author, the late Elizabeth Brown of St. Simons Island, who wrote the book when she was 90 years old. The book is illustrated by Brown’s great-granddaughter, Alexandria Brown, who was eight years old at the time of publication.
Mrs. Deal gave copies of the book to each of the classes she read to and also donated one to the Jones Wheat Elementary School Library.