Talley Wells is in his second year as the executive director of Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. During his tenure, Talley and his team have positioned Georgia Appleseed to be a key voice for systemic change in areas that affect low-income Georgia children, including healthy housing, school climate, school-juvenile court partnerships, and children’s behavioral health. He is a frequent speaker on these topics.
Prior to joining Georgia Appleseed, Talley was at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society for seventeen years. At Atlanta Legal Aid, Talley served as the Director of Disability Integration Project where he advocated for children and adults with significant disabilities. His primary focus was on the implementation of the United States Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C. Olmstead was brought by Atlanta Legal Aid. The decision held individuals with disabilities have the right to live and receive supports in the community, rather than in institutions. Talley was also a key advocate in the implementation of a United States Justice Department settlement with Georgia in which the state invested over 200 million dollars in state services for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
Talley created a national website on Olmstead, Olmsteadrights.org, which has over 9,000 visitors per month. He also wrote articles on Olmstead and legal services for publications such as Huffington Post, BillMoyers.com, and Making a Difference Magazine. Out of this work, Talley also created The Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic at the Georgia State School of Law, where he taught a weekly two-hour seminar on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Olmstead, special education, and other disability rights. In addition, Talley worked with the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD) at the University of Georgia to educate law students and others about Olmstead, and to educate individuals with disabilities and their families about disability resources and advocacy opportunities in Georgia.
Talley was the lead author of a 2018 companion guide for Georgia court officials to provide accommodations for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. It was created by the Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee of the Judicial Council of Georgia Administrative Courts.
Talley earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University, a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Juris Doctor from the Duke University School of Law.
Talley is a former skipper on the world famous Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World where he spent four summers on the rivers of adventure.
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