SDOC Board Honors Mrs. Margaret Brown
The School District of Oconee County Board of Trustees honored Mrs. Margaret Brown, widow of former superintendent James M. Brown, in recognition of the years of support for arts education by the Brown family in the School District of Oconee County.
Mr. James M. Brown served as superintendent from 1988 until his untimely death in 1994. During his tenure, he was a strong proponent of providing robust programs in the arts for students. Mrs. Brown shared, “Jim used to say that some students are good in academics, some are good in sports, but others may shine in the arts. He always wanted to celebrate student success.”
To honor Mr. Brown’s commitment to the arts, the Brown family established the James M. Brown Scholarship for the Arts in 1995. Winners were chosen by the scholarship committee, consisting of Mrs. Brown, John Kelley, Beverly Robinson, Dr. Bonnie Rushlow, Rick Baumgarner, Sue Maher and various School District of Oconee County administrators after student auditions. Since its inception, 28 School District of Oconee County seniors have received the scholarship. While originally $1000 a year, renewable for 4 years, the past several years the amount was increased to $2,000 per year. At least four scholarship winners returned to Oconee County to teach in our schools.
In 2019, the 25th year of the scholarship, Mrs. Brown and the committee made the decision to end the scholarship and transfer the remaining funds to the School District of Oconee County for use in its visual arts department. Mr. Stan Dubose, the district elementary art lead teacher, shared that the funds will be used for professional development as well as supplies and materials.
Dr. Michael Thorsland, superintendent, said, “Our district provides opportunities in the arts for students at all levels. We can attribute the strength and success of those programs, in large part, to Mr. Brown’s commitment to the arts. We are grateful for Mrs. Brown and her family’s support for our students. We’d also like to thank the members of the committee; we appreciate their work and support as well.”