(Marietta, Ga. – May 17, 2013) Dr. Betty Ann Cook of Mableton, Ga. has worn many hats at Chattahoochee Technical College from Acting Dean of the Austell Campus, Foreign Affairs Liaison and Ombudsperson to her current role as the Executive Director for Outreach and Community Engagement. On May 16, she was given a new title to add to the list – South Cobb County’s Citizen of the Year.
The South Cobb Citizen of the Year is an award created by the South Cobb Rotary in 1986 and co-sponsored by the South Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Nominations are solicited yearly with a selection committee making the final decision as to who has demonstrated through definable, exceptional deeds that he or she has made the South Cobb area a better place to live and work. Cook was honored in a luncheon ceremony by the South Cobb Rotary at Presbyterian Village that included speakers and a video message from her daughter who lives in New York City.
“Dr. Cook has an exceptional ability to build bridges, fill gaps and strengthen communities,” said Chattahoochee Technical College President Dr. Ron Newcomb. “She was hard-wired that way.”
Cook was selected from a long list of other nominees this year, having been nominated by both Chattahoochee Technical College and the Cobb Library Foundation where she serves on the board. The Howard University and Atlanta University graduate has made her mark on the South Cobb area through service on various committees and boards, as well as many volunteer projects. Her resume details her extensive experience in higher education and government as a leader effective skill bank for community building among diverse groups; skills in linking diversity assessment to policy and program development in organizations and community settings; and strong conflict resolution skills.
She is often seen coordinating clean up days and improvement projects in the community, participating as a principal for the day at local elementary schools and assisting in the planning of fundraising events for the Cobb Library Foundation. Her commitment to education and children was noted by Cobb Library Foundation Executive Director Linda Hoynes in one of Cook’s nominations.
“Dr. Betty Ann is a wonderful example to our young ladies on the importance of education,” Hoynes wrote.”She is a community advocate for South Cobb. She is the perfect example of one who shares her time and talents for the good of the community. She serves on many boards such as Cobb Library Foundation, Keep Cobb Beautiful, and Leadership Council of United Way. Dr. Cook epitomizes the community spirit of the revitalized efforts of the region.”
According to South Cobb Rotary Club President and past recipient of the award, Nancy Arnold, the idea for the South Cobb Citizen of the year was conceived in 1986 by several Rotarians who felt that South Cobb, as a geographic area, received very little recognition. Few people outside the South Cobb area were aware of individuals who made exceptional contributions not only to the South Cobb area, but to Cobb County in general. Past recipients include business leaders, community activists, ministers and a former governor.
Cook began her career at Chattahoochee Technical College in 2004 and has served as director of college research, the acting dean of the Austell Campus, the college’s ombudsperson, and as the special assistant to the president for international affairs before her current position in community outreach and engagement, where she is focused on creating long term partnerships with businesses, community leaders, faith-based, civic organizations, community groups, government entities/agencies and schools. During her time at the college she has coordinated many projects, including being responsible for developing and co-directing the “Experience America in Cobb” immersion program with South Korea for two years.
A Fulbright-Hayes International Scholar, she holds degrees in social work from Howard University and Atlanta University, as well as a doctorate in educational administration. Dr. Cook has traveled extensively, including to Africa, Europe, India, China, Canada and several Caribbean countries. She is a lifetime member of the Cobb NAACP, a member of the 2013 Cobb Library Foundation Board, Cobb Faith Partnership Board, and Grace Faith Ministries Board, as well as a member or board member of several local organizations and non-profits.