The Georgia Association on Young Children has named Mercer administrator Dr. Penny L. Elkins as its Educator of the Year for the state. GAYC is a non-profit professional organization that promotes quality early care and education for young children.
Dr. Elkins is senior vice provost for strategic academic initiatives and associate dean of the Tift College of Education at Mercer, and also holds the Fred L. Miles Chair of Educational Leadership. She helped design the curriculum standards for birth-to-five-year-old education for Georgia and helped to launch Mercer’s Early Care and Education degree program, which was the first in the state approved by the Professional Standards Commission. Dr. Elkins last year was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to serve on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which oversees teacher certification and preparation for the state.
She has 20 years of experience in leadership, curriculum design and development, educational leadership, program planning, teaching and program evaluation. Over the last 11 years at Mercer, she has served as department chair for both teacher education and educational leadership in the Tift College of Education before assuming roles in university administration. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Christianity and early childhood education and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Mercer, as well as an education specialist degree in education, administration and supervision from Georgia College and State University. Her Ph.D. is in educational leadership from Georgia State University. She currently serves as one of two education faculty representatives on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
An international presenter and noted keynote speaker, Dr. Elkins has worked as a teacher, elementary school administrator and university professor and administrator. She serves as a consultant with schools, chambers of commerce, businesses and financial institutions in the areas of leadership development and curriculum planning. Her areas of research interest include cognition theory in leadership, transformational leadership, birth-to-five education, women in leadership and community partnership development.