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Ambassadors for William James
Three workers run front office at middle school
William james for Web
The 'Ambassadors' for William James: left to right, Kim Nelson, Gwen Butler and Lynn Brannen. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special

At William James Middle School, there are three ladies who do more than run the front office: they serve as "William James Ambassadors" to the public each day. According to Principal Mike Yawn, without Lynn Brannen, Gwen Butler and Kim Nelson running the show, the front office would quickly come to a halt.

Brannen is in her fourth year at William James, coming from Liberty High School. Originally hired as the secretary until the bookkeeper went out on medical leave, Brannen serves as the school's payroll clerk, managing the school's books.

She also has the responsibility of keeping track of all of the sports orders and receipts, which can be a full-time job in itself.

"My duties manage to keep me on my feet, both mentally and physically," she said.

Kim Nelson is in her fifth year at William james, although she has worked for the Board of Education as a substitute teacher since 2000.

Nelson has the responsibilities of the attendance clerk, while also serving as an administrative aide. As most people know, each school must keep daily records of who is in class, and who is not, and if not, why.

Nelson said all the records the teachers must produce to document what they do are more than enough to "drive the teachers crazy themselves" and the reports make for a lot of work when they land on her desk.

Brannen is the mother to two children: Jenny, and Jarrell, as well as a grandmother twice-over. Nelson is the mother of three children: Angel, Amanda, and Chuck, and has a set of twin grandchildren, with another set on the way.

Butler is the veteran of the bunch, having worked for the Bulloch schools for 11 years. She is originally from Savannah, where she attended Savannah State University. After moving to Bulloch, she enrolled at Ogeechee Technical College to continue her education.

After she spent the first two years working at Statesboro High School as a guidance office secretary and attendance clerk, Butler moved to William James. Butler is now the registrar.

Her duties include adding new students to the school's roster, recording all grades given to students, keeping immunization records up to date and withdrawing students when their families move or they transfer to another school.

Also, Butler finds time to serve as Statesboro High's concession operations manager for the basketball, softball and track team games. Her daughter Stepheni Butler, who recently graduated from both SHS and Ogeechee Technical College in a 30-day period, holds the discus throwing record at Statesboro.


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