"It's an honor and privilege to serve as State School Superintendent," Barge said. "I am excited about this new challenge and will hit the ground running to build a strong foundation to positively benefit our students, teachers and communities. As a parent with a child in public schools and as one who has served at virtually every level in public education, I am keenly aware of the challenges we face as a state and the challenges our students, teachers and local administrators are facing. I am committed to ensuring that the Georgia Department of Education is a service agency and is communicating directly with educators in our local districts."
Barge was born and raised in Cobb County, graduated from Campbell High School in 1984, and attended Berry College in Rome on academic and journalism scholarships where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1988.
Barge has earned three advanced degrees, a master's degree and a specialist's degree from the University of West Georgia and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Georgia.
In his 20-year education career, Barge served as a high school English teacher, middle school Spanish teacher, assistant principal and principal. He also served as the State Director of Career, Technical and Agriculture Education for the Georgia Department of Education.
Barge was recognized as a Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) teacher in 1996, Georgia's Assistant Principal of the Year in 2001, and he received the Berry College Alumni Association's Distinguished Achievement Award in 2005.
Barge and his wife, Loraine, are both long-time Floyd County residents and have been married for 19 years. They have a 14 year-old daughter who attends public school in Floyd County.
The Georgia Department of Education was closed Tuesday due to inclement weather, but is expected to reopen today.