9th Annual Bridge Builder Awards

April 21, 2010

2010 Bridge Honorees

Suzanne Sitherwood was named senior vice president, Southern Operations in November 2004. Primary among her responsibilities is executive oversight of the three utilities – Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas and Florida City Gas. Prior to this role, Sitherwood served as vice president of gas operations and capacity planning, a position she held since June 2002. As vice president, Sitherwood directed the natural gas distribution infrastructure, gas control, gas measurement, marketer relations, customer-related services, interstate pipeline relationships, asset management, and management of storage facilities.

Sitherwood joined Atlanta Gas Light over 25 years ago as a co-op student in the cathodic protection group. She has held a variety of positions including vice president of engineering, environmental, and construction, chief engineer, director of competition planning, director of rates and regulatory affairs, and director of residential markets.

A graduate of Southern College of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology, Sitherwood also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Brenau University.

Sitherwood currently serves on the Governor’s Energy Policy Council and the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Governing Board. Sitherwood is 2010 chair-elect, an officer and board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, past chair of Environment & Energy Committee and general co-chair of the GA Initiative. She is also serving on the board of the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and currently serves as chair of the Children's Wellness & Legislative Board Committee, Atlanta New Century School Advisory Board and The Carter Center Board of Councilors. She was also recently appointed to the new Atlanta Dream Advisory Board. Sitherwood is a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way and a co-chair for the Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) 50 Forward Program. She also served on the boards of the American Cancer Society, Clean Air Campaign, Emory Hospital Visiting Committee, Atlanta Woman Advisory Board, Livable Communities Coalition, Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc., Governor’s Task Force on Transportation and AID Atlanta. She has also served on the board at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia for four years.

Sitherwood believes strongly in giving back to the community and is involved in many volunteer activities (AIDS Walk, Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, United Way and other organizations).

Sitherwood lives in Buckhead with her husband.

When Dr. Beverly L. Hall became the 15th appointed superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) on July 1, 1999, she promised to transform the district into a world-class school system, using nationally proven reform models, facility upgrades and business-operations redesign. Under her leadership, standardized test scores have risen, aging facilities have been renovated and a new blueprint for business operations is being implemented. The district's vision is that APS will be one of the nation's highest performing urban school systems, where 90 percent of its ninth-graders graduate from high school in four years ready for success in college or career. In addition to setting an aggressive reform agenda to accelerate student achievement, Dr. Hall has worked actively with the community to gain support for public education in the city of Atlanta. She has developed relationships with the business community, civic organizations, nonprofits and government leaders. As a result, APS has an extensive network of partners who donate time, resources and volunteers to help individual schools.

Prior to her post in Atlanta, Dr. Hall was state district superintendent of the Newark Public Schools, the largest school district in the state of New Jersey. Before then, she served as deputy chancellor for instruction of the New York City Public Schools; superintendent, Community School District 27, Queens, New York; and principal, Junior High School 113 and Public School 282, Brooklyn, New York.

Professional/Civic Affiliations and Expert Panels
Dr. Hall chairs Harvard University's Urban Superintendents Program Advisory Board, mentoring participants in the doctoral program, and she serves on the newly created International Benchmarking Advisory, which works to ensure that all American students receive a world-class education. Dr. Hall also serves on the board of the U.S. Department of Education Urban Education Research Task Force. Moreover, as a member of the Teaching Commission, she helped develop policy recommendations to address the teaching crisis in America. In June 2009, Dr. Hall was elected for a one-year term as secretary-treasurer of the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of 67 of the nation's largest urban public school systems.

Locally, Dr. Hall serves on the boards of the Woodruff Arts Center, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Communities in Schools of Atlanta, and Junior Achievement of Atlanta. She is also a member of the Agnes Scott College Board of Visitors.

A nationally recognized educator, Dr. Hall frequently speaks to local, statewide and national organizations about the importance of improving public education, particularly in urban areas. She has presented to many prominent groups, including the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, the Aspen Institute's National Education Summit, the Central Atlanta Progress Board, Concerned Black Clergy, the Buckhead Coalition, the Friendship Baptist Church Forum, The Conference Board's Business/Education Council, the National Summit on America's Silent Epidemic, and 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

Honors and Awards
Dr. Hall is the recipient of several national and local honors. In February 2009, she was named the National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators, the top professional honor for a K-12 education leader in the country. In addition, she won recognition as the 2009 State Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. In the 22-year history of both the national and state awards, Dr. Hall is the first superintendent from Georgia and Atlanta, respectively, to receive the honors.

With her June 2009 acceptance of the prestigious Keystone Award for Leadership in Education, Dr. Hall continues to garner accolades for her turnaround of Atlanta Public Schools. She is the first K-12 school superintendent to receive the distinction from the Keystone Center.

In admiration for her leadership of Atlanta's public school system, Dr. Hall also has been recognized with the Council of the Great City Schools National Urban School Superintendent of the Year Award (Richard R. Green Award); the Institute for Student Achievement Distinguished Leadership Award; the National Alliance of Black School Educators Superintendent of the Year Award; the Concerned Black Clergy Education Award; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Ground Crew Service Award for Education; and the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta Legacy Award. Furthermore, she was saluted by the Carnegie Corporation for being an immigrant who represents the “pride of America.”

Other awards include the Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators and the inaugural Administrator of the Year Award from the Atlanta Urban Debate League. In February 2007, Dr. Hall was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame by the Atlanta Business League. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Georgia Trend magazine recognized her as one of its 100 Most Influential Georgians, as did the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2007 and 2008 on its list of 100 Most Influential Atlantans.

Born in Jamaica, West Indies, Dr. Hall immigrated to the United States upon completion of her high school education. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Oglethorpe University and earned a Doctor of Education degree from Fordham University. Dr. Hall is married and has an adult son.

Bill is a native Atlantan. He is manager of Community & Economic Development Support and assistant to the vice president of Community & Economic Development for Georgia Power. Bill is a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force.

Bill has dedicated much of his time to community and civic service. He is a member of the 2006 class for Leadership Atlanta and is a graduate of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education’s Education Policy Fellowship Program, having been a member of the 2009 inaugural class. He is a past recipient of Girls Inc’s Giving Girls Wings Award. He has served in many leadership roles for the West End Rotary Club, which was the first Rotary Club to admit women. During Bill’s year as president, his Rotary Club was selected as the Best All-Around Club.

His commitment to education is demonstrated by his having served as Principal for a Day at Booker T. Washington High School, John F. Kennedy Middle School and Lenora P. Miles Elementary School. Bill presently serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Education Committee and on the Atlanta Partners for Education Committee. He is a member of the Atlanta Public Schools Career and Technical Education advisory board. Bill also serves as a member of the advisory board for the School for Technology, Engineering, Math and Science at Therrell High School, which opened its Center for Advanced Energy Studies in 2009. He serves on the Georgia School Boards Association’s strategic planning board as well as on the board of directors for the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

Bill is a runner, cyclist and kayak enthusiast who constantly challenges himself, as shown by his successful completion of Ride the Rockies, a 400-mile bicycle trek across the Rocky Mountains. He is a charter member of an annual 400-mile relay team for Georgia Power that has raised over 1.2 million dollars for the American Cancer Society. Bill also served as Georgia Power’s chair for the 2009 Atlanta Heart Walk fundraising campaign. He serves as a consultant and committee member for the Water for the World 10K/5K, the proceeds of which buy water purification systems for underdeveloped areas around the world. You may have seen Bill before and not recognized him as Bullwinkle in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Bill holds a BBA degree from Augusta State University and a certification in Community Relations from Boston College. He lives in Alpharetta with his wife, Debra, and their nine-year-old son, Will.