Talley Wells became the Executive Director of Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice on January 1, 2018. Talley joins Georgia Appleseed after 17 years at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.
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., brought by Atlanta Legal Aid, which held that 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.
From 2003 to 2012, Talley and his wife Laura worked were part of a founding team that launched L'Arche Atlanta, a community where people with and without developmental disabilities share life and friendships together.
Talley served eight years on The Center for Working Families, Inc. board of directors, including a tenure as board chair. During his time on the executive committee, TCWFI hired a new executive director and merged with another nonprofit, New Hope Enterprises. He also served on the board of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association from 2009 through 2017, and was awarded an inaugural Mission's Champion Award in November of 2017. Most recently, after many years advocating for children, Talley was appointed in January 2018 to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court's Justice for Children Committee (J4C).
Talley comes to Georgia Appleseed with an impressive record of awards and recognitions. Talley was in the Class of 2011 for Leadership Atlanta and has also received the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service from the Georgia Bar Association in 2015, the Randall Baxter Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network in 2010, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in 2009.
He earned his Bachelor's degree from Duke University, a Master's in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Juris Doctorate from the Duke University School of Law.
Talley and his family are active members of St.Paul United Methodist Church in Grant Park where he has taught children's Sunday School, adult Sunday School, and directed the children's Christmas play.
Talley is a former skipper on the world-famous Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World.
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