Three honored for making ‘tough decisions in best interest of kids’

Celinda Wilson, Tim Brooks (center) and Steve Bryant were honored with the Jackson County School System’s Excellence in Service award at the Dec. 10 meeting of the Board of Education. The regularly scheduled session was to have been their last meeting, but they were together again here -- on Dec. 13 -- at a called meeting at the system’s central office.

Celinda Wilson, Tim Brooks (center) and Steve Bryant were honored with the Jackson County School System’s Excellence in Service award at the Dec. 10 meeting of the Board of Education. The regularly scheduled session was to have been their last meeting, but they were together again here — on Dec. 13 — at a called meeting at the system’s central office.

Three members of the Jackson County Board of Education were honored at the Dec. 10 meeting, their last regularly scheduled monthly meeting after a combination of nearly 40 years of service with “tough decisions” and the “best interests of kids” as a theme.

Excellence in Service honors went to Tim Brooks, Steve Bryant, and Celinda Wilson. (Click here to see more photos from the reception that preceded the board meeting and the presentations made during the meeting by Dr. Blankenship.)

“Twenty years on any school board deserves an outstanding award,” said Dr. Selena Blankenship, human resources director for the Jackson County School System, when she presented his certificate and pin first.

“Mr. Brooks has always kept the best interest of the local taxpayer and the students in mind. He is thoughtful, cares about kids, and always provides perspective with a little comic relief.”

Among those nominating him, his daughter Brittany Beauchamp said growing up with a parent on a school board was “tougher than anyone could imagine,” but she said her dad never let anything bother him while serving on the board.

“He has always gone above and beyond and helped out at schools and never missed one of his grandchildren’s events at school,” she wrote in her nomination. “He is very deserving of this award.”

Dr. Blankenship said Bryant has served as advocate for all public educators and “has thoughtfully aligned decisions to the goals of the school district” for more than eight years.

“In that time, he and the board have had to make some tough decisions,” Blankenship said. “While most people think those are easy decisions, they are not. He listens to all parties — parents, students, teachers, administrators, etc. — who are involved before he makes his final vote.”

One of his nominators, who chose to remain anonymous, noted that Bryant “tells others that Jackson County is the best school system in Georgia, or for that matter the best school system in the country.

“Even though not all have agreed with his or the board’s decisions, he has represented Jackson County well and is very deserving of this award,” the nominator said.

Another nominator noted that Wilson, who has served eight years as a board member, “worked very hard to make tough decisions that were in the best interest of the entire system.”

The nominator cited her time and effort “to support all students and staff of the community she represents, as well as our entire system.

“Ms. Wilson gave of her time to attend numerous school functions, community events, and has been active in the support of public education for all children.

“She is passionate about educating the whole child and continuously looks through a lens that aligns decisions to whatever is in the best interest of children in our community.”

Excellence in Service honorees are chosen by a committee of personnel from across the district, and Blankenship said anyone can nominate “a deserving individual or group.”

The nomination form is available online at http://bit.ly/JCSS_18Excellence; 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 more than 7,700 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 10 schools throughout Jackson County.

Find more information online at jacksonschoolsga.org, at Facebook.com/JacksonCountySchoolSystem, or Twitter.com/JCSchoolSystem.