Georgia agency leadership changes for new year

ATLANTA – Governor Brian Kemp is announcing a variety of changes to the leadership of agencies and state offices that will take effect over the next year.


Governor Brian P. Kemp announced his selection of various heads of agencies and state offices to take effect in the coming year. Dr. Dean Burke will resign his seat in the state senate effective Dec. 30 to become chief medical officer for the Department of Community Health. A special election for his District 11 Senate seat will be held on January 31, 2023. In addition to her current duties as Director of Georgia Transportation Planning, Janine Miller will become the Executive Director of the State Highway and Tollway Administration effective January 16. Governor Kemp will also recommend her to serve as executive director for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Atlanta Region Transit Authority. Current Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) Commissioner Tim Ward will join the Board of Pardons and Paroles, following the Jan. 1 retirement of Brian Owens. Current Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Commissioner Tyrone Oliver will become GDC Commissioner, also effective January 1. DJJ Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb will serve as Interim Commissioner.

“With a long and accomplished medical career in rural Georgia, as well as extensive policy experience as Chair of the Community Health Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, Senator Burke will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role of Chief Medical Officer,” said Governor Brian Kemp . “I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this new capacity for the benefit of all Georgians, including those in our rural communities.”

“Janine Miller is another great public servant who will also enhance her influence throughout the state.” It has distinguished itself as a leader in the field of transport and infrastructure at the state and national level. Jannine will bring an innovative approach and deep knowledge of the issues facing commuters and those who move Georgia-made products through and out of Georgia as she steps into these new roles.

“I am also grateful for Tim Ward’s decades of service to the people of Georgia in our correctional system.” Over those many years, he has seen all aspects of our prisons and the people they affect, most of whom will eventually return to society. This makes him uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and I am pleased that he will continue his public service in this capacity.

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“I am also grateful that Tyrone Oliver will advance his innovative approach and dedication to protecting Georgians at the Department of Corrections.” His years of experience in law enforcement at both the local and state level will serve the agency, those housed in our prison system and our communities well. I look forward to the impact he will have in this new leadership role.”

“Last but certainly not least, I want to thank Brian Owens for his years of service to the people of our state.” Like Commissioner Ward, he led the Department of Corrections with dedication and care before joining the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Marty and I wish him many years of happiness in his well-deserved retirement.”

Dean Burke, chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee and vice chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and the Ethics Committee.

Dean Burke currently represents Senate District 11, which consists of Colquitt, Decatur, Early, Grady, Miller and Seminole counties, along with parts of Mitchell and Thomas counties. He serves as chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee and vice chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee and the Ethics Committee. He also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Community Health, which is responsible for over 14 percent of the total state budget. Before being elected to the State Senate, he served five years on the Bainbridge City Council and the Lower Flint Water Board.

Dr. Burke currently serves as Chief Medical Officer at Bainbridge Memorial Hospital and Manor and also chairs the Stratus Healthcare Board of Directors. He is a former member of the Hospital Board of the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County. Dr. Burke graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia Southwestern University and graduated from the Medical College of Georgia. He specialized in obstetrics and gynecology at Mercer University School of Medicine and practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 27 years.

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Dr. Burke and his wife, Thea, have been married for over 38 years and have two children and three grandchildren. They are members of the First United Methodist Church in Bainbridge.

Jannine Miller, director of planning at the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Jannine Miller is the director of planning for the Georgia Department of Transportation, serving on the executive leadership team with Commissioner Russell McMurry. She was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp and confirmed by the General Assembly in 2020. In this role, Miller is responsible for short- and long-term planning and investment strategy for state and federal road and bridge transportation funds.

During her career, Miller held numerous leadership roles, including Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor to former Secretary Elaine Chao at the US Department of Transportation and as Senior Advisor to then-Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, responsible for programs and policies related to rural infrastructure development and financing.

Previously, Miller served as director of the Center for Logistics Innovation at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, senior manager of supply chain finance at The Home Depot, executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and senior planner at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Miller earned an undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, a master’s degree in public administration, planning and economic development from the same institution, and an MBA in global business from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Timothy “Tim” Ward, Georgia Commissioner of Corrections.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed Timothy “Tim” Ward as the 2019 Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, where he oversees approximately 10,000 employees in protecting the public by overseeing more than 50,000 state offenders while reducing recidivism through education and health care programs. Ward began his career with the Department in 1992 at Scott State Prison as a correctional officer and eventually became Chief of Staff in 2016.

Ward is a member of the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council and is one of 28 commissioners nationally at the American Correctional Association for the Commission on Correctional Accreditation. He is an active member of the Southern States Correctional Association, the Georgia Community Supervision Professional Association, the American Correctional Association, and the Georgia Prison Guards Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Savannah State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus State University. Ward and his wife have three children and live in Milledgeville.

Tyrone Oliver, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Tyrone Oliver currently serves as the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and oversees the day-to-day operations of the multi-faceted agency that calls for justice-involved youth through probation supervision and secure detention. Governor Kemp appointed him to this position in 2019.

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Commissioner Oliver began his career in law enforcement in 1999 as a Detention Officer with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. He held several leadership positions in his career before being named Chief of Police at the City Community Circle. In 2018, he became the deputy city manager.

Under the current leadership of Commissioner Oliver at DJJ, the agency has focused on returning youth in and out of custody through social programs, education, credible messenger mentoring and comprehensive services. This community-focused approach has increased educational and employment opportunities for youth across Georgia, reducing gang affiliation and increasing reentry success. The FRESH Start youth initiative, which has gained national attention, is becoming a model approach for successfully partnering with companies, community leaders and higher education institutions to provide employment, training and scholarship funding for justice-involved youth.

In November 2022, Commissioner Oliver was elected Vice President of the American Corrections Association (ACA), the oldest national accrediting body for the corrections industry. In 2022, he was elected vice president of the Board of Directors of the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators. He also serves on the Board of Peace Officers of the Annuity and Benefit Fund, the State Workforce Development Board, and the executive committees of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Department of Community Supervision.

Commissioner Oliver graduated from Columbus State University’s Law Enforcement Professional Management Program. He also completed Leadership Newton County and Walton County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Development Program, the Leadership Trilogy Program, and the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange in Israel.


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