The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Leadership Dekalb open for applicatio­ns

The 10-month program offers an inside look at how county works.

- By Michael E. Kanell

Leadership Dekalb is accepting applicatio­ns for this year’s program. The 37-year-old program — which

has about 1,500 graduates including many businesspe­ople, elected officials, judges and attorneys — is intended to bolster the links among local leadership as well as to provide those leaders with more informatio­n about the county group.

“It’s not really for people who want to be leaders as it is for those who are establishe­d leaders who are looking to expand their connection­s, expand their knowledge and learn how they can improve the county,” said Shara Sanders, Leadership Dekalb’s interim executive director.

Among Dekalb alumni are current Commission­ers Michelle Long Spears and Edward “Ted” Terry, District Attorney Sherry Boston, former state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, state Sen. Tonya Anderson and state Rep. Omari Crawford.

The 10-month program includes a series of day-long examinatio­ns of topics, including the county’s economic developmen­t, history, government, justice systems and education. Sanders, who went through the program in 2017, said, “Leadership Dekalb has changed my world.”

She remembers seeing a news headline about the county jail not long after the program had taken her there for a tour and conversati­ons with those running it: “I was able to read that news story with a very different perspectiv­e.”

At its start in 1986, the program was a project run by the Dekalb Chamber of Commerce.

But it has since been spun off as a not-for-profit, stand-alone organizati­on with a budget of about $200,000. That money is raised through grants and sponsorshi­ps, as well as the tuition of $3,200 per participan­t, Sanders said.

“It is not cheap,” she said. “It’s an investment in yourself and in your community. I think it’s important to have knowledgea­ble leadership in your community.”

Scholarshi­ps are available, she said.

A typical class has 60 or 70 participan­ts, although fewer people have been part of the program during the pandemic years.

The fee for applying is $50. The deadline for applying is March 31.

An open house for those interested in learning more from staff and alumni of the program will be March 1 at 6 p.m. at The Cereal Lab, 335 W. Ponce de Leon, Suite D, Decatur, GA 30030.

For more informatio­n, go to leadership­

 ?? SCREENSHOT ?? Leadership Dekalb is a nonprofit group that runs programs aimed at connecting and educating local leaders.
SCREENSHOT Leadership Dekalb is a nonprofit group that runs programs aimed at connecting and educating local leaders.

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