Dianne Lassai Barker, Secondary Education Initiatives State Coordinator for the Technical College System of Georgia, has a way of making a person feel immediately comfortable. She is resourceful, has a keen sense of how to deal with policy issues, has been an instrumental leader as Georgia embarks on a significant expansion of dual enrollment.
Barker shared how she first met Adam Lowe, executive director of NACEP, while attending her first NACEP conference in Chicago. It was Barker’s birthday, and she shared this information with some fellow attendees whom she met upon her arrival. When they realized Barker was spending her birthday evening alone, they invited her to join them for dinner. Barker describes what happened next, “When I arrived [in the hotel lobby], the ladies had cupcakes, a card, and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me! Adam [Lowe], whom at the time I had not yet meet, walked up and joined in the singing! I knew right then I was with the best organization - ever!”
Barker began her volunteer involvement with NACEP on the State Policy Leadership Committee a year after that first conference when Committee Chair Amy Williams from Montana began a conversation with her about their respective state’s different dual enrollment models. Barker explains that the two went on to talk about “the difference in weather (Montana snow vs. Georgia heat), boots vs. shoes, you know, important stuff like that.” Shortly thereafter Williams and Lowe contacted Barker to ask if she would join the State Policy Leadership Committee. Barker, who has worked in the state system office coordinating the dual enrollment program for 22 technical colleges in Georgia, thought the request was a perfect fit. She remembers thinking, “This is right up my alley. YES, of course, I will be a part of this committee!”
Barker’s involvement with NACEP has led her to believe that volunteering for the organization is a great opportunity for concurrent and dual enrollment professionals. She is enthusiastic in her recruitment of NACEP volunteers and asks: “Why wouldn’t you get involved? You get to work with great people from across the US who are just as committed to education as you are!” She adds, “Jump in and enjoy the ride! There is a lot or work to do, but you will have fun doing it.” Beyond her involvement with the State Policy Leadership Committee, Barker has recruited Georgia speakers for the national conference, presented at workshops and on webinars, and is helping plan NACEP's 2019 Southeast regional conference in Savannah.
When Barker is not working on state-wide dual enrollment initiatives, or helping her peers through NACEP, she likes to read, crochet, spend time with her family, and enjoy true “Southern Girl” pleasures: banana pudding, cake, and chocolate.