DR. MERI BLACKBURN, COO
Dr. Meri Blackburn is extremely proud to be a three-time graduate of the University of Georgia with a BSEd in Foreign Language Education, a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Leadership. Meri also completed the Rising Stars program through Northeast Georgia RESA and the District Office Professional Development program offered by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. She continues to be a lifelong learner participating in a wide variety of professional development opportunities and conferences.
Dr. Blackburn started her career in education in 1995 at the Clarke County School District in Athens, Georgia. In addition to teaching Spanish and special education, she also served as master scheduler, Smaller Learning Communities Facilitator, and IB/Gifted Coordinator at Clarke Central High School before starting as Assistant Principal of Instruction at North Oconee High School in 2013. In 2016, Dr. Blackburn was honored to take over as principal at Malcom Bridge Middle School in Oconee County, where she served for three years before transitioning to the district office as Director of Secondary Education.
The Empower College and Career Center brings together all of the experiences Dr. Blackburn has worked to accrue over her quarter of a century in public education. Researching Career Academies during her doctoral program, Meri’s dissertation studied the impact of CTAE pathway completion on academic achievement. Knowing the impact that CTAE, Advanced Placement courses, cross-curricular collaboration, and dual enrollment have on post-secondary success, Dr. Blackburn is excited to work with the faculty and staff to create relevant and academically rigorous experiences for every student attending Empower.
Meri and her husband, Tony, moved to Hoschton from the Athens area in 2021. Tony is the founder and president of Blackburn Construction, LLC. Their son Matthew is studying Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech, and their daughter Ali attends the University of Georgia in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Blackburns have been involved in animal rescue for over 25 years, so they also have many beloved four-legged children.