George Kronnisanyon Werner is the Minister of Education of the Republic of Liberia. In his commitment to rebuild Liberia’s education system, Werner used his experience as a high school teacher in five countries including Liberia and the U.S., to address the twin challenges of expanding access to education and improving the quality of teaching.
Under his leadership, the ministry has implemented stepping stone programs, among them, the internationally acclaimed Getting to Best Reform along with pay and pension reform (which rationalizes salaries, mobile money payment systems, among others), capacity building, and performance management reform.
In 2016, Werner continued his bold agenda in what turned out to be a great year for the education sector. The ministry made significant savings of $2.25 million, which were recovered from removing ghosts teachers as a result of vetting 65% of the ministry’s 15,000-teacher workforce. The recovered funds proved significant in the inclusion of voluntary teachers and the addition of a support partnership program.
The Partnership Schools of Liberia initiative became a reality, championed by Werner to leverage the management expertise of the private sector in operating government schools, as part of proposed solutions to stimulate education in Liberia.
A former Director General of the Civil Service Agency (June 2013 to May 2015), Werner was an instrumental figure in implementing the Public Sector Modernization Project whose $11.5 million funding from the World Bank, SIDA, and USAID fundamentally backed the reform of the entire civil service.
In 2014, Werner set up critical solutions to curb the deadly Ebola virus. Using his background in health care studies from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, he implemented policies and travel sanctions to decongest workspaces and lower the risk of contracting the virus.
Meanwhile, regardless of the state of emergency, Werner ensured that civil servant payments continued. Furthermore, death benefits were paid to families of healthcare workers affected in the line of duty.
Werner is the current chair of the Government of Liberia’s Inter-Ministerial Scholarships Committee, a post he has held since 2011. Additionally, he is the co-chair of Liberia’s Health Workforce Development Taskforce and a member of the board of directors of Liberia’s largest public hospital, John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.
Werner received a master’s degree in social work from the the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors of Arts in General Education with Religious Studies from Marist College, now the Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.
He served as a research fellow in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, won a travel award for Open Mind for Africa Program, and was given the John Hope Franklin Combating American Racism Award.