MOULTRIE — “And the winner is ...,” said Colquitt County Schools Superintendent Leonard McCoy Thursday as he opened the envelope revealing transportation mechanic Don Johnson as the second winner of the annual BRAVO Award.

“I was surprised and proud. I don’t know what else to tell you — shocked. I never thought I’d win this,” Johnson said, adding the transportation department secretary had to make him come to the afternoon ceremony at C.A. Gray Middle School.

Nominated by Rick Gehle, director of facilities and construction, Johnson has been employed by the Colquitt County School System for 28 years.

“Don’s attitude and disposition make him a pleasure to work around,” Gehle said. “He has proven himself to be a team player by going above and beyond expectations of the job. He has been a good role model for other staff members because of his work ethic and professional attitude. He has a genuine concern for the safety of all school vehicles and their passengers.”

The raves continued from Assistant Superintendent of Business Mickey Key.

“I’d like to say that Don Johnson is about the most dedicated employee I know in the school system,” Key said. “He cares about the students. He cares about the bus drivers. You can count on him any time to make the extra calls late at night, early in the morning. He travels with a lot of the buses to make sure that they have the mechanical equipment they need in case there’s a breakdown. You couldn’t ask for more.

“Don, honestly, is the most humble guy I know. He doesn’t want any recognition. When you talk with him, he says, ‘I just want to work on the buses and make sure they’re safe. I want them to be mechanically sound,’” he added.

Johnson will receive a Jostens ring in recognition of his longtime service to school operations. Last year’s winner, Elaine Burrows, showed off her Jostens ring to Johnson as he was about to pose for pictures with his trophies. Between the cash awards from the school and $500 from Altman and Barrett Architects, P.C., Johnson received $1,100, which wife Jackie is now in charge of, he said. The couple has one daughter.

Finalists receiving $400 from the school system were Willie Goble, lead custodian at Hamilton Elementary School, where he has been employed for five years; and Fay Wood, employee benefits coordinator for the Colquitt County School System at the Board of Education office.

Of Goble, Hamilton Principal Brenda DeMott said in her recommendation, “Mr. Goble is an excellent role model for our students by being a valuable member of the team, showing respect for self and others, and having great Hamilton Pride in all that he does. He instills in students a sense of responsibility for our new facility and the grounds. His work ethic is contagious to us all.”

“Mr. G.,” as he is affectionately known, retired from a long career in the Navy and that of an electrician before joining the Hamilton staff. He is married to Linda Goble, and they have five children.

“I was honored to be nominated for this BRAVO Award at Hamilton and very surprised to win it. I will do my best to be worthy and will try even harder to keep Hamilton School number one! “ he said.

Wood has been an employee at Colquitt County Schools for 15 years.

“Fay Wood has always demonstrated the willingness to put forth whatever extra effort is required to assure that our employees are served with care and efficiency. She plays a very vital role in the operation of this school system and at some point in time will be involved in the life of each of our employees,” Key said.

“I consider it an honor to be nominated by my peers,” Wood said. “I enjoy my job and assisting the employees of the school system. Throughout the years of assisting people with their insurance needs, I am the one who feels blessed to have met these good people.”

She is married to Ricky Wood; they have two children.

School winners receiving $200 each from the school system were Pete Johnson, head custodian of Colquitt County High School; Mary Frances Boyd, cafeteria cashier at Cox Elementary; Beth Howell, paraprofessional at Doerun Elementary; LuAnn Parker, school nurse at Funston Elementary; Chris Lawton, assistant cafeteria manager and head cashier at C.A. Gray Middle School; Carolyn Willis, paraprofessional at Norman Park Elementary; Geraldine Manning, paraprofessional at Odom Elementary; Lynn Hamner, school secretary at Okapilco Elementary; Edith Fuller, bus driver at Stringfellow Elementary; Sylvia Hiers, cafeteria manager at Sunset Elementary; Suzanne Sumner, school nurse coordinator representing Systemwide Support Services; Elaine Barfield, receptionist at Willie J. Williams Middle School; and Stacy Cardin, school nurse at R.B. Wright Elementary.

Beginning last year, the BRAVO Employee Recognition Program was created to promote the Colquitt County Schools’ shared values of excellence, innovation, continuous improvement, peer recognition and school spirit, school/community relations director Lou Ann Lardy said.

The BRAVO awardees are being recognized for their outstanding individual performance and to celebrate their commitment and contributions to the Colquitt County School System. Winners were selected by an independent panel, McCoy said.



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