Press Releases

Georgia Department of Education’s Bob Swiggum Recognized Nationally for Leadership in Supporting Data Use to Improve Student Achievement

Georgia Department of Education’s Bob Swiggum Recognized Nationally for Leadership in Supporting Data Use to Improve Student Achievement

Contact:, 202.667.0901

Washington, DC, February 16, 2011 – Georgia Department of Education’s Chief Information Officer Bob Swiggum is nationally recognized today for developing an accessible, cost-effective statewide education data system that has contributed to education improvement across Georgia. The award was announced at Data for Action 2010: DQC’s State Analysis release event.

The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) Recognition Program Award honors state and district leaders who have led remarkable efforts to collect and use education data to improve student achievement. Under Swiggum’s leadership, the Georgia Department of Education quickly transformed from operating a statewide education data system that simply collected data for compliance to developing a customer-driven system that allows teachers and principals to easily access and use data to make informed educational decisions.

Joining Georgia’s Department of Education in 2009, Swiggum inherited a system that collected a wealth of valuable education data from districts across the state. He also inherited established district data systems and local skepticism that the state education agency could deliver anything of value without adding burden, increasing costs, and creating yet another new system.

“In just under one year, Bob changed the way district administrators, principals and teachers perceived the value of state data systems to local stakeholders,” said DQC Executive Director Aimee Guidera. “He has changed the culture within the state education agency to focus on its customers, especially districts, and for the first time, has given education leaders a complete picture of Georgia education.”

To ensure minimal disruption and maximum value to local stakeholders, Swiggum led the integration of student-level longitudinal data collected by the state into existing district student information systems. By visiting the same site that they have been using for years, educators and local administrators are now provided with instant access to critical information about the students in their districts, as well as students who just transferred from other school districts within the state. With the click of a mouse, teachers can instantly understand a student’s prior education experience, and within the next year, parents will also be provided access to important student-level data via the local district’s parent portals.

”In other industries, using data to make informed decisions is the rule, not the exception,” stated Swiggum. “When I joined the Georgia Department of Education, I wanted to ensure that district administrators, teachers, and principals were afforded the same opportunity to make better decisions based on rich data.”

By developing a system that does not require additional logins or authorizations, local agencies provide extra services at no additional cost or effort. Swiggum has made tremendous progress in bringing Georgia districts on board, with the final remaining districts in the process of integrating the statewide system.

Each year, the DQC Recognition Program Award is given to leaders in three categories: State Policymaker, State Data Leader and District Data Leader. The other 2010 winners are:

  • State Policymaker: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for his efforts to lead stakeholders in building robust statewide data systems that span early childhood to the workforce and protect data privacy, helping to ensure students graduate college and career ready

For more information on the Data Quality Campaign and the Award Recognition Program, please visit our website at: Interviews with Bob Swiggum and representatives from the Data Quality Campaign can be arranged by contacting Rachel Zaentz at or 202.667.0901.


The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a national, collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement. The campaign provides tools and resources that will help states implement and use longitudinal data systems, while providing a national forum for reducing duplication of effort and promoting greater coordination and consensus among the organizations focused on improving data quality, access and use.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is DQC´s founding funder; additional support has been provided by the Casey Family Programs, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Connect with the DQC on Facebook and @EdDataCampaign.

Get news direct from the DQC via RSS: