By Johnny Jackson
McDonough resident, Bert Brantley, said he is prepared for the next step in his life's journey. That next step will include a stint at helping program Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Brantley, who spent four years in Gov. Sonny Perdue's communications office, was recently appointed by the governor to join the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, the nine-member governing board of Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) Media.
"It's a great way to continue my public service, even though I won't actually be employed in public service any longer," explained Brantley, whose final duties as communications director will be during Monday's inauguration activities.
The 36-year-old said he has enjoyed working with the governor and learning from the out-going state leader, during austere economic times.
"It's been an extraordinary time to serve...," he said. "I think leadership is even more important when things aren't going very well. It's just been a great experience working with the governor. It's been really fulfilling, great, and rewarding, but it's also very exciting to move on to new things."
Brantley began working in the governor's communications office in 2006, first as press secretary and then as director of communications.
"The governor's been an excellent leader and a great role model for Bert, and [First Lady] Ms. Mary, too; she's fabulous," said Tonya Brantley, Bert's wife of 12 years, "We're very excited about the opportunities that the governor has given Bert, and we're excited about the future."
The couple's future, according to Tonya Brantley, will surely involve more time with their two daughters, Kendall, 8, and Carson, 6. The family is active at Salem Baptist Church in McDonough. And Tonya Brantley, a teacher at Timber Ridge Elementary School in McDonough, is chairperson for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Henry County.
Bert Brantley served as communications manager at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, from 2005, to 2006, during the state's successful courtship of the Kia auto-manufacturing plant, now in West Point, Ga. He also worked, between 1999 and 2005, as media relations manager at the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Asked about his future career plans, the father of two said he expects to spend some time in the public relations field in the private sector.
"The next step will be working at a PR firm here in Atlanta," he said. "Long term, I'm going to try to wait and see what turns out."
The communications director said a four-year appointment to GPB's governing board is a post he -- with his journalism experience and skills -- can appreciate as his state-level duties followed a brief career in journalism.
Brantley earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's in public administration from the University of Georgia in Athens. He also worked as sports editor of the Jackson Herald, in Jefferson, Ga., and news editor of the Madison County Journal, in Danielsville, Ga.
"I really have always liked the service that Georgia Public Broadcasting provides," he said. "In many area's of Georgia, GPB is one of their only sources of Georgia news and programming."
The Valdosta native recalled his childhood, playing in organized basketball and baseball leagues and being fascinated watching images of Georgia streaming from the public broadcasting station on his family's color television set.
"The thing I remember is when they would sign off," he said. "They would sign off to Ray Charles singing 'Georgia On My Mind.'"
Brantley said he is impressed these days with GPB's attention to local communities throughout Georgia, as well as its educational programming. He acknowledged he still enjoys keeping up with sports teams from his hometown in south Georgia, by watching GPB's "Prep Sports Plus," now "GPB Sports Central."
"GPB's coverage of high school sports -- they dedicate more coverage to high school sports than any other television news outlets," he said. "And what a lot of kids don't understand and realize is that a lot of educational tools teachers have available to them is because of GPB. GPB has lots of resources for the classroom."
Brantley, the only new appointee to GPB's board of directors, expects to meet with other members in mid-January.