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Mercer Administrator Named State Educator of the Year

October 14, 2010

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or

ATLANTA – The Georgia Association on Young Children named Mercer University 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.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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