Governor-Elect Nathan Deal took office Monday in Georgia. In a surprise move just before the winter holidays, he tapped Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Deputy Commissioner Amy Howell to replace Garland Hunt as commissioner. Howell is an alumna of Emory University’s Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic and a past president of the Young Lawyer’s Division of the State Bar of Georgia. In her first formal interview late last week, she talked to JJIE.org’s Chandra Thomas about her plans at the helm of an agency facing more severe budget cuts in the coming year. Your appointment was a surprise to many in juvenile justice circles, was that the case for you too? I didn’t directly seek the appointment, but I have always made it known as the former president of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia that I am open to new challenges. I was really surprised because I have not been working with the agency for 30-plus years.