Byers, Brown honored for ‘Excellence’

Mandy Byers, left, and Sandra Brown were honored with Excellence in Service Awards at the January meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education meeting, held at East Jackson Comprehensive High School.

Mandy Byers, left, and Sandra Brown were honored with Excellence in Service Awards at the January meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education meeting, held at East Jackson Comprehensive High School.

One east side, one west; one a volunteer, one a member of the staff; and both essential to and honored by the Jackson County Board of Education.

Mandy Byers, a parent volunteer nominated by East Jackson Comprehensive High School, and Sandra Brown, Jackson County Comprehensive High School cafeteria manager, were recognized with Excellence in Service awards by the Jackson County Board of Education Jan. 14 when the board met at EJCHS.

Byers “has been an amazing volunteer for the east side for several years,” staff who wanted to remain anonymous wrote in nominating her.

“She exemplifies true professionalism and integrity in everything she does … (and) is the first person we think of when we have a special event to coordinate. She always does it to the highest standard, usually either free or under budget,” they wrote.

Byers was helpful in coordinating vendors and contributions for the first-ever Eastside Community Tailgate and makes and delivers food to EJCHS Eagle cheerleaders, donating materials for bows and shirts.

Most recently, she coordinated the accommodations for the school chorus trip to Hawaii and oversaw its entire budget.

Byers’ work also helped ensure a successful event when then-Gov. Nathan Deal visited the campus to honor the first-ever class of REACH Scholars in October; she was in charge of refreshments and decorations.

“She is a small business owner, and her knowledge of our students and community, as well as her connections to other business owners, has been such a valuable resource to us,” her nominator wrote. “We not only consider her a Partner in Education, but a true supporter, and someone who loves our Eastside community!”

Sandra Brown

Brown, cafeteria manager at JCCHS, also was nominated by a school staffer who had high praise for her commitment to her work.

“There are days when I arrive to school before 6 a.m., and her car is already parked outside of her office,” her nominator noted, pointing out her professionalism and the courtesy she and her staff show students and teachers.

Noting the impact Brown has made to help students succeed, her nominator credited “her servant’s heart.”

“Her commitment and love for what she does are evident in the way she performs her job. Her inviting personality and friendly smile, along with her professionalism on the job, improve the overall climate of our school.

“Data shows that meeting students’ nutritional needs positively affect their academic performance. Mrs. Brown plans and prepares meals that provide our students with the nutritional resource they need to succeed in the classroom.

“Bottom line, students and teachers, enjoy her food!”

The awards were presented by Dr. Selena Blankenship, JCSS human resources director. Honorees are chosen by a committee of personnel from across the district, and Blankenship said anyone can nominate “a deserving individual or group.”

The award is intended to highlight the “unsung heroes who serve the students and staff of the school system,” often without recognition of any kind, Blankenship said.

The nomination form is available online at; nominators must provide their names and email addresses for verification purposes, but they may choose to remain anonymous when the winners are announced.

School system employees, volunteers, or community partners will be considered “for going above and beyond in service to our school community,” she said.

Nominations should range from 150-300 words and should be submitted by the 25th of each month. The award is presented monthly, and nominations remain active during the school year in which they were submitted.

JCSS serves approximately 8,000 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 10 schools throughout Jackson County. Learn more online at