ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal gave his upcoming education plans to Georgia school superintendents and other leaders at a conference in Atlanta.

Deal said Thursday at the Georgia Education Leadership Institute that education will continue to be a top priority in the same manner as criminal justice reform was in the past, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://on-ajc.com/2c298Ex ) reported.

“Education reform is the best and the ultimate criminal justice reform,” said Deal, who spoke longer than his 30-minute allotted time. The Republican governor made education a focus of his second and final term in office.

Deal lashed out against critics of his proposed constitutional amendment to create an Opportunity School District.

“The General Assembly and I have lost our patience in trusting” superintendents and local boards of education, the governor said.

A key part of Deal’s agenda is a school-run district taking over schools dubbed “chronically failing” based on student testing and other factors.

Under the plan, an appointed superintendent can select up to 20 schools each year and make them into charters, close them or overhaul management. Up to 100 schools could be included at one time.

Georgians will vote on the constitutional amendment in November.

Some school boards have publicly opposed it, arguing that local officials are best equipped to manage schools.

With lawmakers, Deal plans to overhaul the school funding formula, which has been around for about a decade. The governor, who does not plan to run for another office, said it’s an exciting time for education and called himself an educator.