Mara O. Shaw

Mara O. Shaw

Mara O. Shaw

Associate Director; Governmental Training, Education, and Development
Expertise: Land Banks



Mara serves as the Associate Director for the Governmental Training, Education, and Development division. She also manages all leadership development and financial management training programs for more than 5,000 local and state government officials annually. She works with officials and staff from local and state government in managing and providing various professional and leadership development training programs in multiple state agencies and a variety of local government professionals associations in the state. Her primary areas of focus as the associate director are the evaluation of all educational programs and the development of public sector competency-based learning objectives and course curriculum. She has more than 25 years of experience in local government, primarily in the areas of administration, downtown and community development, code enforcement and local government planning. Before joining the Institute of Government in 2013, Mara served as the assistant to the city manager with the City of Valdosta. She successfully completed the course of study as a Certified Main Street Manager through the National Trust Main Street Center in Washington, D.C., in 2000 and was named the 2005 Sen. Loyce Turner Outstanding Public Official by Valdosta State University and received the Department of Community Affairs Outstanding Leadership Award in 2006. Mara was honored with the Candle in the Dark award in 2014 for her government and community service by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Association. Mara was a 2020 recipient of the Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach.


M.P.A., Georgia Southern University, B.S.C.J, Valdosta State University

Additional Info:

Areas of Expertise:

facilitation, local government administration, neighborhood and community development, downtown development, historic preservation, code enforcement, local government planning, public information/communications, land bank authority development and administration