Our Description and Beliefs

We are a statewide organization committed to fostering community support for quality public education in Georgia through outreach, information, and advocacy.

We believe:

  • All students have the right to a quality public education.

  • It is society’s responsibility to provide that education and to ensure all necessary resources for its provision.

  • Strong public schools unite communities, providing unique opportunities for engagement and interaction.

  • Public education preserves the foundation of our democracy by creating an informed citizenry.

  • An informed citizenry benefits all facets of society.


Our Team

Cecily Harsch-Kinnane
Policy and Outreach


cecily@pem-ga.org
404.217.8703

Cecily Harsch-Kinnane was a member of the Atlanta Board of Education for two terms. During her eight-year tenure on the school board she served as Vice-chair of the Board as well as serving on the Audit, Accountability, and Policy committees and as the Board's Legislative Liaison. Cecily has had a long-standing interest, professionally and personally, in the development of K-12 policies and initiatives in the state of Georgia. This interest compelled her to join Carolyn Wood and Janet Kishbaugh in forming Public Education Matters Georgia in early 2015.

Prior to serving on the Atlanta school board, Cecily worked as a high school math teacher and in positions providing support and mentoring for students facing educational challenges. As a volunteer, she has participated in, and led, organizations that advocate for enhanced educational opportunities for children and communities in Atlanta and Fulton County.

Cecily was raised in Georgia and graduated from Dekalb County Schools. She has three children who graduated from Atlanta Public Schools and are now in college and graduate school. Cecily has a BA in Mathematics from Brown University and has completed graduate coursework in Math Education and Educational Psychology at Georgia State University. 

Janet Kishbaugh, JD
Research and Information Services

janet@pem-ga.org
404.275.1481

Janet Kishbaugh has served as a lobbyist for Southern Education Foundation promoting responsible public education policy for all Georgia students since 2013. She partnered with Carolyn Wood and Cecily Harsch-Kinnane to form Public Education Matters Georgia in early 2015. Janet’s experience as a litigation attorney in several major law firms in New York and Atlanta, as well as her political and policy work for an Atlanta City Councilmember, honed her skills in analyzing and explaining the often complex education legislation introduced at the Georgia Capitol.  As part of her work at Public Education Matters Georgia, she researches education issues and provides information to communities upon request. Janet believes a thoroughly informed parent or community member is the best advocate any public school or student could have.

Janet was born in Georgia and is a product of K-12 public education.  She enrolled her two daughters in public school and became an active parent advocate on behalf of all public school children.  She has held various positions with neighborhood school organizations and the PTAs/PTSAs of her children’s public schools and has served on numerous advocacy boards and committees. 

Janet received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Yale University, and a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.

Carolyn Wood, JD
Advocacy and Legislative Services

carolyn@pem-ga.org
404.402.1928

Carolyn Wood began as an education advocate at the Georgia Legislature in 2013, lobbying on behalf of the Southern Education Foundation. In partnership with other public education organizations, she, Janet Kishbaugh, and Cecily Harsch-Kinnane have worked to advance responsible education policy in Georgia. This work led to the formation of Public Education Matters Georgia in 2015.

Carolyn was born in North Carolina and educated in the public school system from elementary through graduate school. She received both her BA and her JD, with honors, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from law school she clerked in federal district court and with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She then began the practice of law at Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan where a significant portion of her practice was in the area of education law.

Carolyn has three children, all of whom are public school graduates. In her years as a parent in the public school system Carolyn has served in numerous leadership roles on each of her children’s schools’ PTAs/PTSAs and on other community education boards and task forces. She believes that state-wide community engagement in public education will enable advocates to be successful in promoting improved education policy at the Georgia Capitol.