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Teacher recognized for work with special needs students

POSTED: February 22, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News/

Philip Wright Award nominees stand with Director of Special Education Susan Rutherford last week. From left, award recipient Phil Branson with nominees Karen Cox, Misti Moore, Tanya Davis, Rutherford, Kaytie Mashburn, Tasha Hamil, Patricia Barrett and John Kenny.

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Long-term substitute teacher Phil Branson was honored last week for his work with special needs students at Riverview Middle School.

Branson was selected by peers to be a district-wide ambassador during the March 2, Philip Wright Award ceremony in Cleveland. Seven other Dawson County teachers and school employees were nominated.

"He went above and beyond," said Riverview Middle School Principal Bill Zadernak. "He faces adversity every day with a smile on his face."

Branson, who will be recognized by officials with Georgia Learning Resource Center, said he was "privileged" to be selected.

Susan Rutherford, Dawson County Director of Special Education, presented Branson the district-wide plaque, explaining he was "so deserving."

The board of education recently approved Branson's transfer to Dawson County High School as a special education parapro "based on student population needs and current physical/medical condition of staff."

The other nominees for the Dawson County Philip Wright Award, included: Misti Moore, Tanya Davis, Kaytie Mashburn, Tasha Hamil, Karen Cox, John Kenny and Patricia Barrett for her work with Special Olympics and the preschool disabilities program.

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