J.L. McGarity Award

Walton County School District Superintendent Nathan Franklin has been awarded the 2022 J.L. McGarity Citizenship Award. Presented by the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Franklin was recognized at the Chamber’s 75th Annual Banquet.

Over the past 53 years, this award has recognized 65 Walton County citizens who exemplify the qualities of leadership, initiative and determination that are essential to effective public service. Nominees must reside in Walton County, positively impact the quality of life in Walton County, possess high ethical standards and morals, showcase impeccable integrity, have a cooperative community spirit and maintain a sense of community pride.

In his introduction, Mike McGarity stated, “Children are the stepping stones to the improvement of any community in which they live. Their life, dedication and understanding of life dictate the future character of their community. Without a character-building process, our children will not have the desire nor the ability to step forward when their time comes to take over the reins of community leadership. If you believe in this as I do, then you must agree that those persons who inspire, who train and who motivate our children deserve our deepest gratitude. Such a person is Dr. Nathan Franklin.”  

The nomination letter highlighted the significant gains and improvements WCSD has made in student achievement, school safety, financial efficiency and community partnerships under Franklin’s leadership. Some of the results accomplished during his service as superintendent include the following:
  • 94.9% graduation rate, an increase of 12 percentage points since 2016
  • Four-time GSBA Leading Edge Award Recipient in the areas of School Safety, Teaching and Learning, Communication and Early Learning
  • Nine schools with a 5-star School Climate Star Rating
  • Four-Star Financial Efficiency Rating from the Georgia Department of Education
  • Annual growth on Georgia Milestones with students exceeding the State in nearly all tested grade levels and subjects
  • Three Advanced Placement Honor Schools
  • 2021 Georgia School Boards Association Governance Team of the Year Finalist
In addition, under Dr. Franklin’s leadership, the school district has developed a robust career development program to expose students to local career options and provide access to job opportunities after graduation. Further, the district has implemented several Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs to foster positive school cultures and help students thrive in a variety of areas.

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