Twenty-Six Years of "Great Days" for SJES' Brooksher
South Jackson's Brooksher set to retire from education
Walk the hallways of South Jackson Elementary School and you will hear the saying “It’s a Great Day at SJ.” For Principal Resa Brooksher, it’s more than just a saying, but rather it has been a professional commitment to her students and staff, ensuring each and every one of them truly has a Great Day at SJ.
After twenty-six years worth of Great Days at SJ, Mrs. Brooksher is approaching a new phase of great days ahead in her life.
Come this June, it will be someone else’s turn to carry on the great days for the students and staff at South Jackson Elementary, as Mrs. Brooksher is set to retire from education. She served within the Jackson County School System for 29 years, beginning as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher when the program was established in the State of Georgia.
It is bittersweet, to say the least.
“I still have mixed feelings (about retirement),” Brooksher said. “I am excited but it is the unknown that is scary. Working at South Jackson and knowing the kids and the community, it gives you mixed feelings. I have always been in school as either a student or a teacher.”
In her two-and-a-half decades at South Jackson Elementary, Mrs. Brooksher has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. She was named Teacher of the Year for the school in 2001. She has served as the principal at SJES for the past eight years. Her only time away from South Jackson was a three-year stint as the principal of North Jackson Elementary School.
“Mrs. Brooksher has served not only as our school leader, but also a true role model of the welcoming and family-oriented culture that makes South Jackson such a special place,” said SJES Media Specialist Lisa Wilbanks. “She puts the needs of our students, families, and staff first to help ensure that everyone in our building has the opportunity to grow and reach their full potential in a safe and supportive environment.”
Through the multiple position changes and promotions, Mrs. Brooksher says being able to serve the South Jackson community has been one of the greatest honors of her life. An honor she will carry with her for the rest of her life.
“What is neat is when I started teaching at South Jackson, I was single. I got married, had kids while here,” Brooksher said. “I feel like I’ve grown up at South Jackson. We have students here who I taught their parents.
“That makes you feel a little old but it is also rewarding because you already have a relationship with that parent. It is easy to get to know the child because you already know the family.”
While Mrs. Brooksher will be stepping away from education in a full-time capacity, she admits she will not be disappearing. The South Jackson community, especially, will still be seeing her throughout the year.
“They’re still stuck with me. I’ll still be around,” Brooksher said. “I am not leaving education because I don’t love it. It is what I have always done. I still love it.”
Mrs. Brooksher said the basis for her retirement is to spend time with her family.
“It is time to give back to my parents and family,” Brooksher said. “They have been patient with the long hours. It is time to give back to them. But I am still volunteering at several events at South Jackson.”
Mrs. Brooksher said the opportunity to spend her entire career working in the county she grew up in has been a highlight of her career, including watching her two sons, Drew (23) and Charlie (20), graduate from the school system.
One thing that stands out about Mrs. Brooksher is the way she is revered by her colleagues, due to her commitment to putting students and staff before herself.
“One of the many things that I admire about Resa and her leadership is how in every decision she makes it is with the goal and intent of doing what is best for each and every student in her school. I am constantly in awe of her tenacity to keep this goal at the forefront of her work, especially when challenges arise,” said Counselor Ryan Poehler, who came to South Jackson Elementary from NJES when Brooksher moved over as the principal. The duo has been together for 10 years.
“We have been through a lot together within this ten-year span including how the world of education completely changed in a day with COVID-19. We went from teaching in-person to figuring out how we were going to reach and teach every student virtually practically overnight. Resa took this opportunity head on and believed in her staff that we could do it. And we did.”
Building relationships with people has always been Mrs. Brooksher’s niche, although she admits she maybe didn’t realize it as much until she was sitting in her dining room during the pandemic.
“Covid was really hard. Our students need to be here, adults need to be here too,” Brooksher said. “I am a people person and I didn’t realize how much I needed to be around people.”
But Mrs. Brooksher says the hard days have been long outweighed by the Great Days at SJ. After all, it isn’t hard to have a Great Day at SJ when you’re around 600 students each day.
“You can have a bad morning and come into school and see a child and it will put a smile on your face,” Brooksher said.
Heading into retirement, Mrs. Brooksher said it will be the interactions with her students and staff she will miss the most. But she won’t have to wait very long to have another Great Day at SJ.
Her volunteering will begin in the fall.