(Photo Credit: City of Atlanta)

Atlanta Mayor Names City's First-Ever Chief Education Officer

Aliya Bhatia is a native of metro Atlanta

Maria Boynton
July 11, 2018 - 12:05 pm

Atlanta's first-ever Chief Education Officer is a native of metro Atlanta. Aliya Bhatia, according to a statement from the office of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, started her career as a teacher with Teach for America and later joined the Boston Consulting Group as an associate and consultant.  “Quality education can transform lives.  Aliya Bhatia’s experience, passion and commitment to creating high-quality, accessible educational opportunities will allow her to effectively partner with APS and other education and industry leaders from throughout the community as we work to improve access to education and training for all of our children and residents,” said Mayor Bottoms. Bhatia's appointment is effective as of July 16th.

Mayor Bottoms tells WAOK/V103's Maria Boynton, "we've had some great announcements in terms of leadership including the City Attorney, Chief Procurement Officer, and Chief Education Officer." Bottoms adds that she "is looking forward to announcing soon a new head for the Atlanta Airport."

The new City Attorney is Nina Hickson, who came onboard in an interim capacity in May, following the resignation of Jeremy Berry as part of a shake-up in the mayoral cabinet. Prior to her position in the City Attorney's office, Hickson was the lead lawyer for the Atlanta Beltline beginning in 2016.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel David L. Wilson, II, was named Atlanta Chief Procurement Officer last month. In making the announcement, Bottoms said, “Few positions are more important than Chief Procurement Officer. As we continue to ensure transparency and fairness in our business operations. I am proud that someone of Wilson’s caliber will join our Administration.” His appointment is effective July 30th.

As Chief Education Officer, Bhatia, according to the press statement, will work with community stakeholders to improve collaboration and identify and advocate for policies and resources that will improve access to high quality education for all Atlantans. This will include convening industry and education leaders to develop vocational training programs to meet the growing demand for workers in the city’s film and entertainment, smart technology, and construction industries.  Bhatia will also be tasked with creating a citywide Children’s Savings Account Program for every child entering kindergarten and with working across city government to ensure that public schools are a priority for infrastructure investment and public safety. 

The search for the position was led by two members of Mayor Bottom’s transition team:  Bill Rogers, Chairman & CEO of SunTrust Banks and Virginia Hepner, former CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center.  

Bhatia recently completed her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, during which time she focused on issues including workforce development and worked on projects for both the City of Atlanta Department of Performance and Innovation and Enterprise Community Partners Southeast.