Ronshekua Sims and Brooke Jaramillo Named Wiregrass Employees of the Year

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Recently two Wiregrass employees were honored for their dedication, hard work, and leadership skills by the faculty and staff of the college. Wiregrass employees annually nominate a staff member and a supervisor for their exemplary performance on the job.  The nominations are narrowed down by a committee and the finalists are interviewed by a panel of judges to decide who will be honored.
Ronshekua Sims, Department Assistant for Academic Affairs, was awarded the eighth annual James A. Bridges Vanguard Award for the staff member of the year. Ronshekua is described by her peers as one who goes above and beyond to help students and faculty and staff.  One nomination for Ronshekua stated, “Ronshekua is always nice and willing to help staff within and outside of her department. She answers questions thoroughly, and if there is something she's unsure of she doesn’t hesitate finding out for you. Her attitude and persona are always pleasant and warm, which really brightens the day of the students and staff.” As the Department Assistant for Academic Affairs, Ronshekua provides advanced and diversified clerical duties for the Technical and Industrial programs.
Ronshekua feels her job allows her to make a difference by assisting the Technical and Industrial Department and making things run efficiently.  She also feels there is a genuine spirit of teamwork and shared goals revolving around helping the students at Wiregrass.  Sims has worked at Wiregrass for seven years.  

The James A. Bridges Vanguard Award was created in honor of former Valdosta Technical college president, James A. Bridges. Bridges served the people of Valdosta and Lowndes County for 40 years, first as the vocational director of Valdosta High School, and then as president at Valdosta Tech. During his tenure, Bridges provided leadership as Valdosta Technical Institute became Valdosta Technical College. A strong believer in work ethics, he was the co-author of Georgia’s renowned work ethics curriculum. Thanks to his leadership, work ethics is not only taught at every technical college in Georgia, but also at post-secondary institutions all over the world.
Brooke Jaramillo, Executive Director of High School Services, was awarded the eighth annual Lewis I. Brinson, Sr. Leadership Award for the supervisor of the year. One nomination for Brooke stated, “She has a collaborative management style and she's a team player. Our team works so well together, and ensures that students are served through communication with multiple parties involved including students, parents, high school counselors and high school administration.”  Serving Wiregrass as the Executive Director of High School Services, Brooke is responsible for the achievement of services, goals, and objectives of the High School Services Department. This includes coordinating all enrollment and academic functions of high school services within an eleven county service area; responsible for supervision and communication between high school services and the program areas; management of High School Coordinator positions and ensuring the job responsibilities of each coordinator are met, and acts as liaison between the High School Services Department and other divisions within the college.
Brooke has been employed by Wiregrass for nineteen years.  She shared that her favorite part of her job was seeing young people grow and get connected with a program that will lead them to their future career.  “Working at Wiregrass has been a blessing to me, and I’m so thankful I can serve here,” shared Jaramillo.  The Wiregrass Dual Enrollment program, was recently recognized as the number one in enrollment for the state for FY19 under Jaramillo’s leadership.
This award was named in honor of Lewis I. Brinson, Sr. for his visionary leadership, his unquestionable integrity, and his passion for technical education. Brinson was the founding director (president) of Ben Hill-Irwin Tech. The World War II veteran taught in the Ben Hill County School System for 20 years. During these 20 years, he served as the vocational director at Fitzgerald High School. Based on his integrity and outstanding leadership qualities, in 1968, the Board of Directors of Ben Hill-Irwin Tech selected Mr. Brinson to serve as the first director of the school, a position he filled for the next 15 years, retiring in 1983. Brinson was responsible for overseeing the construction of what is now the 100 through 400 wings of the Charles Harris Learning Center as well as hiring the original faculty and staff of the college.