GSSA Bill Barr Leadership Award

Dr. Nathan Franklin has been named the 2021 recipient of the Bill Barr Leadership Award, one of the most prestigious honors from the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA).

“It is a true honor to receive this recognition from an exceptional group of colleagues,” said Dr. Nathan Franklin. “I am a firm believer that iron sharpens iron and consider it a privilege to support leaders across the state. This award also recognizes our entire Walton County team and the work they do to support our students, staff and families each and every day.”

Franklin’s nomination was submitted by Social Circle City Schools Superintendent Robbie Hooker and supported by superintendents across the state. Named for and given in honor of the highly-respected first executive director of GSSA, this award honors exceptional superintendents who possess the unique ability to mentor, teach and lead others in pursuing excellence in public education.

“Dr. Franklin is more than deserving of this recognition and we are honored to have such an extraordinary leader here in Walton County,” said Board Chair Diane Turner. “We congratulate him on this distinguished recognition and commend him for his ability and willingness to lead and mentor those around him.”

Under his leadership, WCSD’s graduation rate has seen continued growth each year, improving by over 10% since 2016. In addition, 83.2% of students with disabilities are graduating on time, an increase of 34.6% since 2016. Dr. Franklin has worked tirelessly to foster positive school climates that are conducive to open communication and trust, resulting in the majority of WCSD schools achieving the state’s highest school climate rating. Alongside a team of highly capable leaders, Dr. Franklin has also fostered work environments where employees feel their opinions are understood and valued, thus having a direct impact on the district’s ability to attract and retain qualified personnel as supported by an employee retention rate over 95%.

In his nomination, Dr. Hooker stated, “An effective mentor is highly committed to the task of helping other leaders find success and fulfillment in their work. It can be challenging work that requires significant investments of time and energy. Despite having to lead a district with 15 schools, over 14,300 students, and 2,000 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Franklin remained committed to building relationships with other superintendents and supporting their needs."

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