Meet Linda Bragg, a wife, mother and grandmother who has worked for nearly four decades in the Bryan County School system.
Please give readers some information about yourself.
My name is Linda Bragg and this August will mark my 39th year with the Bryan County school system. I was born in Brantley County, but my family moved to Bryan County before I was a year old. With the exception of the third and fourth grades, I attended Bryan County schools until my graduation. My family returned briefly to Brantley County where I completed the third and fourth grades.
I am married to Dave Bragg and have one son Cliff Horton, who is also a graduate of Bryan County High School. I adore my husband and son, but my heart belongs to my two grandchildren, Bailey and Dustin. Bailey is almost 15 and Dustin is 19. As with all grandparents, I think my grandchildren are absolutely the greatest!
You’ve worked quite some time for Bryan County School system. How did it begin and what do you do now?
I began my career in 1970 as a teacher aide, as they were called back then, at Bryan County Elementary School. At that time the school was located where the current Pembroke Pre-K and the Bryan County Head Start Programs are now located. The facility is now fondly referred to as the old "Dingle School." 1970 was the first year that the schools in Bryan County were completely integrated for students and Mr. Dingle was the principal at Bryan County Elementary. His secretary left at Christmas and since I was the only teacher aide who could type, I got promoted to school secretary! Currently I am employed as the Assistant Finance Director for the school system.
You’ve obviously seen quite a few changes over the years. What are the biggest?Bryan County schools have seen many changes over the past thirty-nine years. I can remember when Richmond Hill was the "small" school in the county. I say small school, because there was only one school in Richmond Hill for children in grades one through twelve. The south end of the county has grown by leaps and bounds. Providing classrooms for the rapid influx of students has been an on-going priority for the administration. While there may be an increase in the tax digest fairly quickly when new families move here, funds filtering down from state and federal sources do not come so quickly. Sometimes money earned for growth may not be reflected in payments to the local school system for between two to four years! While it may not always be what one would want, I think our school system administration has done a great job in tackling this problem. Without an enormous abundance of funds, it isn’t easy to provide facilities required to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio that we have been fortunate enough to have in our school system.
Another major change that has come about is the dress code for students, as well as faculty and staff. When I began working for the school system, female students could not wear shorts beyond grade five. It may have even been lower than that! Female school employees could not wear pants, dress slacks, jeans, etc., at all. Female employees could only wear dresses! We’ve really come a long way in that area and I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing! It’s hard for me to get upset about the dress code when I remember what it was a few years ago!
I think another major improvement has been in our School Nutrition Program. Under the direction of Carole Knight, the lunch program has continuously improved not only in food quality, but in management. Part of my job is paying bills for the school nutrition program, typing -- not planning -- monthly menus, and filing monthly reports with the state. Our school nutrition program is one of the most successful in Georgia and I’m proud to be a small part of that program.
What’s remained the same?
I have worked under seven different superintendents, some of them more than once, and more board of education members than I can remember. The one thing that has remained constant through all of the change is the educational progress. I think that our schools have continued to improve each year. Sometimes test scores, for various reasons, may not reflect the improvement, but nonetheless, it is there. The progress made has far exceeded any decline. There are those in our school system who work diligently every day to be certain that our students’ needs are met. Some are behind the scenes and some are right out front, but don’t ever doubt that they’re there and they are giving 100 percent to the students in Bryan County schools.
What do you do when you're not working?
I serve on the board of directors for the Development Authority of Bryan County. This has truly been a rewarding experience. When the commissioners dissolved the two development authorities and created one development authority, everyone wondered if it would work. Well, believe me, it has worked. I cannot say enough about the way the members have come together and worked for economic growth for Bryan County! Whoever said north and south Bryan County residents can’t work together, has never attended one of our meetings! We discuss, disagree, vote and then support the decision that is made. What a great group of citizens!
My husband and I own a small seafood restaurant in Blitchton, called Sandra’s Seafood. When I leave my job at the Board of Education office, I usually go straight to the restaurant and spend another four to five hours. As anyone who owns a business knows, you don’t have much time for anything else. However, Dave and I do try to do a little fishing every now and then. We are fortunate to have good people working for us and that makes it a little easier!
What is it about Bryan County that makes it such a special place?
Bryan County is my home and I love it…the good and the bad! I suppose it is no different than most other counties. Naturally there are the politics and the gossip, but then there are those wonderful people! Just like everywhere else, we have good and bad, but here in Bryan County, the good outweighs the bad…at least most of the time! That’s why I’ve chosen to remain in Bryan County.