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Fulton schools name Professionals of the Year | People

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Fulton schools name Professionals of the Year
People, Schools
Fulton schools name Professionals of the Year

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- The Fulton County School System is pleased to announce its selections for the district's 2011-2012 Professional of the Year and Support Professional of the Year.

Every spring, each Fulton County school and administrative building is invited to select a staff member who isn't a teacher but is still committed to making a positive impact on students and contributing to the department's overall success.

Both winners will be recognized next fall at a special luncheon with the state's other employees of the year.

School Professional of the Year
George Walker -- Chattahoochee High School, Johns Creek

As a school resource officer, Walker finds opportunities every day to connect positively with students.

In fact, he is a self-described "role model, a father figure, an advisor, a counselor, a big brother, a friend, a life coach, and a mentor."

Walker believes in nurturing relationships that help students grow into good citizens and spends much of his time making sure that Chattahoochee High is a place where they feel safe and supported.

"I have spent many hours along with my fellow officers, administrators and staff members doing our best to keep our school safe for teaching and learning. In doing so, I have learned that it's not enough just to protect and serve the students in our school system. We also have to teach them by setting the proper example," he said. "Our future doctors and lawyers, scientists and inventors, governors and presidents can only be successful if they have the proper examples, training, guidance, motivation, determination and direction. What we instill in them now will have a lasting effect on them for the rest of the lives."

Tim Duncan, principal of Chattahoochee High, agrees.

"Officer Walker has embedded himself in all aspects of our school community, providing assistance with our freshmen advisory program, coming in early and almost always staying late to assist with school programs or sporting events," he said. "His attention to detail has made Chattahoochee a tremendous place to work."

Support Professional of the Year
Patricia Munford -- The Meadows Operations Center, College Park

A 23-year veteran of the school system, Patricia Munford is described as "the heart and spirit of the Operations Division" by those who know her best.

As the professional assistant to the Chief of Operations for more than 10 years, Munford has been a steady presence in the office, working as her supervisor's right hand and helping manage constituent concerns related to construction, facilities, safety, nutrition, transportation and warehousing, not to mention planning and development.

"I receive a lot of calls every day, sometimes from people who don't know what to do. I try to find out what the problem is, and rather than tell them I don't know or transfer them to someone else, I try to help them or will get back to them with an answer," Munford said. "I've had people call me in tears, and by the time we've finished, we have a solution or are working toward one. Even if I can't help them with that specific problem, I've had people call me back just to say thank you for taking the time to listen and for trying to be helpful. It makes my job rewarding."

Munford's supervisor, Chief of Operations Patrick Burke, praises her for her consideration of others and the way she provides attention to every stakeholder.

"She has a presence about her that communicates caring, customer focus and confidence. It is almost an innate ability to make the person who she is communicating with feel as though they are the most important person with the most pressing issue in the world," Burke said. "Ms. Munford operates under difficult, stressful conditions, always exhibiting a positive attitude regarding whatever circumstance we face."

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