Editor’s note: This week, Georgene Brazer profiles Dr. Paul Brooksher, superintendent of Bryan County Schools.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be part of such a great community and school system, and I’m looking forward to working with the parents, staff, community, businesses, all the stakeholders, (and) especially the children..”
This is a quote from Dr. Brooksher upon being selected as superintendent of the Bryan County Board of Education.
He officially started July 1, 2012. He expressed his excitement then, “I’m really excited” and has not let us down nor lost that enthusiasm.
The then Board of Education chairman Eddie Warren, who is owner/co-broker of Re/Max Accent in Richmond Hill, said he was excited to announce the hiring of Dr. Brookshire because he had all the qualities the Board was looking for in its next superintendent.
“The Board recognized his strength in the educational arena and his ability to ‘look outside the box’ when addressing our county needs.”
Dr. Brooksher holds a bachelor’s degree in business education, a master’s in special education and a doctorate in educational leadership.
He is a man of high self esteem who believes in himself and takes great pride in what he accomplishes. As we talked in our interview it quickly became clear to me there is a greatness in his desire to serve and has confidence and pride in what he accomplishes. This is a man committed to excellence and success in everything he does.
Since starting as Superintendent of Bryan County Schools he has never slowed down! He has 1,400 employees, 10,000 students under his purview. Very few superintendents lead this type of growth and capital project building plans that include a $90 million budget, 10 year long range capital project, and a fast growing, high growth school district.
Dr. Brooksher has opened four new schools during his time here, Richmond Hill Middle School, Bryan County Elementary, McAllister Elementary and Francis Meeks Elementary. He has led the redistricting of Richmond Hill twice. We now have a total of 11 schools.
Amy Murphy, a passionate advocate for public education, is the chairman of the Board of Education. She speaks about his commitment: “He works long hours daily and usually part of the weekend, all year round. He has faced numerous challenges during his tenure that include hurricanes, tropical storms, a solar eclipse, a South Georgia snow and ice storm and most recently, a global pandemic. With each of these situations came many hours of planning and preparation, keeping the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of his decisions.”
This is a man who is clearly involved and not one to sit behind his desk and plan. Through the recent pandemic he frequently monitored changes through the Department of Public Health, the Governor’s office and the Georgia Department of Education.
Amy goes on to say that Dr. Brooksher seamlessly navigates positive relationships with county and city officials as well as engages the support of the local business community. These achievements come from Dr. Brooksher’s ability to convey the positive culture of Bryan County Schools and the achievements planned as future goals of our school system.
She told me that even in face of significant challenges, he displays a sincere, positive outlook and always brings forth a well thought out plan of action for consideration. He never seeks credit for his achievements, always giving accolades to his staff and the Board of Education when it is he who deserves merit and praise.
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter, a teacher at Richmond Hill High School said: “Dr. Brooksher’s vision is extraordinary. His tenure here has been accompanied by unprecedented growth, but, at every turn, he has readied our schools to meet the burgeoning school population. Bryan County Schools are the County’s largest employer, and he has consistently raised salaries and benefits when possible.”
Ben Taylor, our Bryan County administrator said to me, “It was great luck that Dr. Brooksher is here. He has stepped up to the plate. He is here for the county and the schools to share information. A true professional whom I value collaborating with, one of the most valued relationships I have.”
Bill Cunningham, who heads up Raydient Places as director of community development, a Rayonier project in Richmond Hill, has known Paul Brooksher for the past 5 years, getting to know him through the planning of the new elementary and new high school.
“Paul has done a great job building a coalition with his Board, parents, teachers, students, City, County and Rayonier to create a very unique K-12 campus. He’s a problem solver who not only has vision but the ability to turn an idea into reality.”
Dr. Brooksher’s commitment to excellence is evidenced by the fact that the Bryan County School System is one of the top-performing public school systems in our region and state.
Anna Chafin, CEO of the Development Authority of Bryan County, whom I wrote about recently, works with Dr. Brookshire on projects for the county. She started her commentary by saying, “Bryan County is truly blessed to have Dr. Brooksher leading our public school system.” She went onto say he is, without a doubt, one of the most professional, trustworthy, collaborative and intelligent people she’s worked with and always enjoys partnering with him and “the fantastic team he has assembled. I admire how he actively works on behalf of our entire community and is so passionate about student success.”
As I reviewed what I’ve written several things became clear. This was a unique story to write. The individuals with whom I spoke and have quoted in this piece used powerful words to define Dr. Brooksher.
Here are but a sample: “Ability, Strength, Greatness, Confidence, Committed, Excellence, Professional, Trustworthy, Collaborative, Excellence, Intelligent.”
Thank you Mayor Carpenter, Eddie Warren, Anna Chafin, Bill Cunningham, Ben Taylor. And Amy Murphy, many thanks for sharing your belief in and deep understanding of who this man is as you work side by side with him as chairman of the Board of Education and as a good friend.
How fortunate Bryan County is.
Thank you Superintendent Brooksher for being here and for being who you are.
Georgene Brazer is chairwoman of the Richmond Hill Downtown Development Authority and a Ford resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.