Two teachers receive Susan Johnson Scholarships

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Thursday evening two teachers were presented with the Susan Johnson Continuing Education Scholarship during the Board of Education meeting.

According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. April Aldridge, this award is respected among teachers, educators and non-certified personnel. The award is in memory of Susan Johnson, who served in Decatur County for 39 years. Johnson was a fierce advocate not only for students, but teachers and leaders as well.

Upon Johnson’s passing, her family set up a scholarship that would be presented to a teacher who was seeking or searching for an advanced degree or additional professional learning that would help an individual further their education.

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This year’s recipients of the award were Ward Cole and Patrcia Isom.

Cole, who was unable to be present at the presentation due to helping his students with an area ag competition, was a BHS graduate and a graduate of UGA College of Agriculture. In 2018, he returned home to Bainbridge to teach at Bainbridge Middle School and is now pursuing a degree and Ed Specialist in Ag Education at Murray State.

Cole’s principal Quinten Fuller was aware of Cole’s application and wrote to the committee on his behalf.

“I have personally been in his (Cole’s) classroom and heard students say, ‘I didn’t think I was going to like this class, but it’s pretty cool.’ This is a testament of how Mr. Cole takes his love of agriculture and turns it into forever learning in his students.”

Cole’s wife Rebecca then went and received his award on his behalf, following a round of applause for Cole’s contributions and dedication to his students.

Aldridge then recognized Isom, who she said has done a little bit of everything and personifies what it means to be a forever student.

“She started out with DFACS and then became a counselor before finding her way into the classroom,” Aldridge said. “She has served several different grade levels from kindergarten to middle school.”

Last year, Isom became a Decatur County Remote Learning teacher and added an online teaching certification to her resume.

She now has enrolled herself to get her Ed Specialist in Instructional Technology at Valdosta State.

Following a round of applause for Isom, Aldridge said that Johnson would be proud.

“For those who had the pleasure of being Susan Johnson’s colleagues, you know she is smiling tonight,” she ended. “She loved nothing more than encouraging young and old educators to pursue their life long passions. She made Decatur County a better place and we appreciate her family for continuing her legacy.”