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Dr. Jason L. Branch named finalist for Georgia Superintendent of the Year

Oconee County Schools Superintendent Jason Branch headshotL. Branch has been named a finalist for Georgia Superintendent of the Year. The Georgia School Superintendents Association named this year’s four finalists on Oct. 20, 2021.

"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers across the state as a finalist for Georgia Superintendent of the Year,” said Superintendent Jason L. Branch. “This recognition is a reflection of the body of work that together, the Oconee County Schools community has accomplished. My sincere appreciation goes to our Board, leaders, teachers, support staff, parents, students, partners – and my family – for our shared commitment to sustained excellence in Oconee County Schools.”

A single winner to represent Georgia at the national level will be announced at the Georgia School Board Association/Georgia School Superintendents Association conference in December. The four finalists are:

  • Dr. Jason L. Branch – Oconee County Schools
  • Dr. Noris Price – Baldwin County School District
  • Dr. Steve Smith – Bleckley County Schools
  • Mr. Wes Taylor – Lowndes County Schools

Branch was nominated for the award by the Oconee County Board of Education. In the application, the Board cited Branch’s ability for developing organizational empowerment to achieve results. Some of the results accomplished during his decade-long service as superintendent of Oconee County Schools include the following:

  • 97.5% graduation rate
  • Top ACT and SAT score in Northeast Georgia
  • #1 county system in Georgia as ranked by Niche and SchoolDigger
  • OCS ranked in the top 19/19 Georgia Milestones assessments
  • Both high schools in top 5% nationwide, as ranked by US News & World Report
  • Five National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence
  • One Georgia STEM-Certified School; One Georgia STEAM-Certified School
  • Three Title I Distinguished Schools

In addition, under Dr. Branch’s leadership, the school system developed their first-ever strategic plan which has ensured measurable, transparent outcomes. Further, a COVID-19 continuity of learning plan was established whereby zero days of in-person instruction were missed during the 2020-21 school year. Even during the school closure of 2019-20, students never missed one day of instruction as OCS is a fully 1:1 system, with all students in grades K-12 provided a Chromebook.

Oconee County Schools has also achieved a five-star efficiency rating from the Georgia Department of Education, which places it at the top in the state when comparing student achievement to dollars spent. The community continues to be extremely supportive of the school system with an over 80% passage of ELOST VI and a lowered millage rate to 16.5.

“The Oconee County Board of Education appreciates the outstanding leadership skills of Dr. Branch. He has taken a very good school system and made it great. There is not a more deserving or qualified candidate for Superintendent of the Year,” said Board Chair Kim Argo.