Georgia Department of Human Services honors three newcomers with Rookie of the Year awards

May 9, 2018

ATLANTA –­­­ Three newcomers to the Georgia Department of Human Services received awards for their outstanding work during the inaugural Rookie of the Year Awards ceremony today. Seven others were honorable mentions.

“We want to encourage energy and fresh perspective at DHS,” said Commissioner Robyn A. Crittenden. “Our department has more than 9,400 dedicated employees, all of whom play important roles in serving millions of Georgians. We want to show that we appreciate those who have come aboard and immediately excelled in ways that make our state stronger.”

This marks the first time the Department has specifically and officially honored the work of individual newcomers. Any DHS employee who was hired into a new role during the 2017 calendar year was eligible for the awards.

These are the three award recipients:

Allister Ferguson, who works in the Department’s Office of Inspector General in Atlanta, received the Rookie of the Year Award for Administrative Support.

Ms. Ferguson was cited for her above-and-beyond efforts to provide cost savings to the office, and for ensuring that the Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) website is kept current and accurate and provides the best tools possible to the public and coordinating agencies.

Kaylan Maloney, a social services specialist with the Gwinnett County Office of the Division of Children and Family Services (DFCS) in Lawrenceville, received the Rookie of the Year Award in the Individual Contributor category. Ms. Maloney was recognized for being in the top 10 percent among foster care workers for successfully reunifying families.

Jasmine Polley, curriculum unit manager for DFCS in Atlanta, received the Rookie of the Year Award for Organizational Leadership. Ms. Polley developed tools to streamline work, created spreadsheets to track individual and team projects, and established forums for posting assignments so her unit can operate in a shared environment and more easily access information.

In addition to the award recipients, seven other DHS employees will receive Honorable Mention citations.

  • Administrative Support -- Cheryl Gilmore (DFCS, Gilmer County); Ara Michelle Nickelson (DFCS, Lumpkin County); Kenya Vargas (DFCS Office of Family Independence, Whitfield County)
  • Individual Contributor -- Leticia Mathis (Office of Facilities and Support Services, Atlanta); Gina Moon (DFCS, Hart County); Shakeel Radford (DHS Office of Communications, Atlanta).        
  • Organizational Leadership -- Anita Stokes-Hicks (Division of Aging Services, Atlanta); Daphne Walker (Office of General Counsel, Atlanta)

DHS, Georgia’s largest state agency, delivers a wide range of human services designed to promote self-sufficiency, safety and well-being for all Georgians. With a budget of $1.9 billion, the Department comprises three Divisions -- Aging Services, Child Support Services, and Family and Children Services – and 11 administrative offices.

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