Early childhood education and the promotion of literacy have been among the first lady’s top priorities. In March of 2012, Mrs. Deal launched her “Read Across Georgia” tour in support of the governor’s goal to increase the percentage of children reading on grade level by the completion of third grade. To date, she has visited all 159 counties and 181 school districts, and she has read to children in more than 320 schools.
“As a parent, grandparent and former teacher, I understand that encouraging children to become lifelong learners is vitally important. That is why “Read Across Georgia” has been one of the highlights of my time as first lady,” said Mrs. Deal. “Throughout the duration of my tour, I repeatedly emphasized that doing simple things, such as taking the time to read stories aloud to young children and talking to them, increases their engagement level, and in turn, fosters an atmosphere in which literacy skills flourish. Children truly are one of Georgia’s most precious resources, and we as their parents and teachers must lay the educational groundwork to ensure our future leaders’ academic success.”
Another initiative spearheaded by the first lady is “With a Servant’s Heart,” a statewide day of service that has matured into regular community service and volunteer programs across the state.
“In everything she does, Sandra truly serves both her state and her family with a servant’s heart,” said Gov. Deal. “Sandra’s initiatives embody her passion for helping others, especially our state’s children. By traveling to every county to read and mentor our youth, Sandra has and will continue to lead by example. I am proud of the way she has focused her role as first lady on helping Georgians of all ages.”