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Brown reflects on 40-year career in education
rick brown
Chief Operations Officer Rick Brown is retiring after a 40-year career in education. - photo by Jessica Taylor

Over the past 40 years, Rick Brown has done it all. From teaching to coaching to serving as principal and chief operations officer for Dawson County Schools, Brown is ready to settle into retirement this summer.

Brown and his wife, Angie, and children Lindsey, Grant, Laura and Gavin moved to Dawsonville in 2002 after he retired from education in Alabama where he served as a physical education teacher and head football coach for 16 years.

“It’s been a great place. We love Dawson County,” Brown said. “I’ve been fortunate to be in some very good places and the people make the place.”

When he came to Dawsonville, Brown was named principal of Dawson County High School in 2002 where he served until 2007 when he transitioned to the central office. He oversaw curriculum before taking on the role of chief operations officer, overseeing departments like school safety, transportation, facilities, nurses and nutrition.

“I’ve enjoyed it all, but first and foremost the teaching and coaching was just something that I have always known I wanted to do,” Brown said. “I was one of those that never had a question about what I wanted to do.”

Teaching and coaching others came easily for Brown. Even in high school, his coaches would often call on him to help the younger members of his sports teams, he recalled.

Looking back at his former coaches as inspiration, Brown became an educator and coach with the hopes of uplifting his students and later as an administrator, uplifting his teachers and staff.

“As leaders we need to try our best to motivate and uplift others and to serve our community,” Brown said.

Throughout his 40 year career, Brown applied his coaching techniques to his position. Whether he was teaching a health course or serving as a school principal, it was always about supporting the people around him and making everyone feel like part of the team.

“I truly believe that if you’re in education, you’re in the people business,” Brown said.  “That’s why we’re in education... to impact lives.”

What Brown said he has loved the most about his career are the relationships he’s fostered with students, teachers and faculty over the years and being there to celebrate their successes.

When reflecting on Dawson County High School’s accomplishments under his principalship, Brown was quick to deny credit and praised the teachers and staff.

“I just happened to be there when it happened,” Brown said.

Brown’s philosophy as a coach and administrator has always been to support teachers, uplift them and provide them with the resources that they need because in turn they will do that for the students.

At the end of the day, Brown said he’s not sure what he’s going to do once retirement sets in, but hopes to find a way to stay connected to education in some way.

“I’m going to cross that bridge when I get to it,” Brown said.