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State Board of Education Members Brad Bryant, Mary Lord, and Wayne McDevitt Receive National Public Service Award

For Immediate Release: August 24, 2017

Contact: Michael Spaeth,, 703-684-4002

State Board of Education Members Brad Bryant, Mary Lord, and Wayne McDevitt Receive National Public Service Award

Alexandria, Va.—The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to announce that state education leaders from Georgia, the District of Columbia, and North Carolina are recipients of NASBE’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award. This national award honors current and former state board members who have made exceptional contributions to education. It is given to three outstanding leaders each year and is the highest award that NASBE can bestow on a state board of education member.

Brad Bryant served on the Georgia State Board of Education for seven years beginning in 2003. An active member of NASBE, he chaired the board of directors, served as southern area director, and was a member of the Government Affairs Committee.

Bryant was Georgia’s state superintendent of education, president of the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA), and president of the National School Boards Association’s Southern Region. He served as executive director for the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and as general counsel for the Georgia Department of Education. Bryant also served on the Governor’s Education Reform Commission, the Governor’s Office of Education Accountability Report Card Committee, the Georgia Closing the Gap Commission, and the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children.

“Brad’s entire career has been dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for all children,” said Georgia State Board Chairman Mike Royal. “Brad has been a tireless servant and leader in public education, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”

Bryant is currently vice president of REACH Georgia, where he leads the State of Georgia’s public-private needs-based scholarship program, Realizing Education Achievement Can Happen (REACH).

Mary Lord served on the District of Columbia State Board of Education for nine years since its inception in 2007, during which she led the state board’s adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. She also was a member of NASBE’s Board of Directors, serving as northeastern area director, and chairing the board in 2015. Lord, an award-winning journalist, served as Tokyo bureau chief and business editor for U.S. News & World Report before covering K-12 and higher education for the publication. She currently is a writer and editor for the American Society for Engineering Education’s Prism magazine as well as producer of its Engineering, Go For It blog and e-newsletter for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math educators.

“Mary Lord has been a leader in the D.C. education sphere for over a decade,” said D.C. State Board President Karen Williams. “Her dedication to STEM education in the city has ensured that students have access to stimulating educational experiences. Her service on the NASBE Board provided a direct link for the students of the District into national education policy debates. Her service on the state board will be felt for many years. I am honored to call her a colleague and partner in bettering opportunities for all District students.”

Wayne McDevitt has served on the North Carolina State Board of Education for over 16 years. He was the board’s vice chairman for six years, and he served on its Executive Committee and many of its standing committees. McDevitt chaired several of the board’s special committees, blue ribbon commissions, and task forces. He also led the board’s innovative global education initiative, from initial design to shepherding the successful implementation.

“He is a consistent voice at the table whose primary concern is whether the board is doing the right thing—putting the needs and concerns of children and educators first,” said North Carolina State Board Chairman Bill Cobey. “He is the epitome of a board member who understands that his board colleagues will always have different philosophies and opinions, but that at the end of the day, when the votes are counted, the board will speak with one voice.”

McDevitt was chief of staff to North Carolina Governor James B. Hunt, secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and senior vice president for University Affairs for the University of North Carolina’s 17-campus system. During a career of public service spanning more than four decades, McDevitt also has served on the boards of business, education, economic development, conservation, church, arts, civic, community, nonprofit, foundation, and government organizations. He is currently engaged in several consulting and business opportunities.

“Again and again, these leaders have brought innovative ideas to their state boards,” said NASBE Board Chair Jay Barth. “They are thoughtful policymakers who inspire us with their commitment to ensuring equity and excellence for every student. Brad, Mary, and Wayne are truly deserving of this honor.”

The 2017 Distinguished Service Awards will be presented Friday, November 3, 2017, at NASBE’s national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

NASBE is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and ensure continued citizen support for public education. Learn more at


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