Lexington One Educational Foundation Awards 2022 Administrator of the Year Award to Heath Branham
Julie Anderson Washburn, Lexington One Educational Foundation Executive Director
Megan Moore, Lexington District One Chief Communications Director
NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2022, LEXINGTON, S.C. — On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Lexington One Educational Foundation presented the 2022 Joseph M. Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award to Mr. Heath Branham at the Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees meeting. Established by the Foundation in 2005, this foundation award recognizes an outstanding and deserving administrator in the district, while also honoring an esteemed administrator from the original Lexington School District One staff of 1952, the late Mr. Joseph M. Bedenbaugh.
Mr. Bedenbaugh worked in the district for 36 years serving as a seventh-grade math teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for personnel and federal programs. The Educational Foundation honors Mr. Bedenbaugh annually as its leadership presents the award to a contemporary administrator at the end of each school year.
Mr. Branham currently serves as the Principal of Centerville Elementary School (CES). He is a seasoned educator with more than 20 years of teaching and educational leadership experience.
Centerville Elementary School second grade teacher Emily Walker initiated and led the nomination of Mr. Branham and shared in the submitted packet, “When reading the Lexington One Educational Foundation’s Bedenbaugh Administrator of the Year Award criteria, I could not find a single requirement that Heath did not meet.” Other teachers and students from the second and third grades contributed photos, writings and personal quotes. One student said he is “always kind and caring,” while another said, “he always keeps us safe and if we need help, he helps us…he is the best!” Staff shared that Branham is an encouraging and supportive leader who expects the very best of his teachers, staff and students and believes in them. He was described as a wonderful communicator, greeting students in a “happy voice” each day and updating staff and parents weekly. Others said he is very kind and thoughtful and makes his staff feel appreciated. Finally, students shared through descriptive writings that Mr. Branham interacts with CES students on a daily basis by welcoming them to school each day, encouraging them by assisting in the classroom and/or celebrating their “dreambox lessons with music.” Branham also shares on the CES website his belief that all children can and must learn and lead a life full of rewarding opportunities, which emanates in everything he does in leading the school as principal.
Mr. Branham began his career in education as a teacher at Newberry Middle School in 1995, moving the following year to teach at Prosperity-Rikard Hill Elementary. Soon after he was promoted to assistant principal and then principal at the elementary level at various schools.
Branham first came to Lexington District One in 2005 as principal at Saxe Gotha Elementary School. In 2007, he was promoted to the position of Lexington District One’s Director of Elementary Schools.
In 2009, he left the district to join Edison Learning and the South Carolina Department of Education as SC senior vice president in the School Turnaround program. In 2011, he became the executive director for school improvement and worked with partnership schools, turnaround schools, and dropout centers across the nation.
Branham returned to Lexington District One in 2017 as the Gilbert Elementary principal and was appointed as Centerville Elementary School’s first principal in 2019.
Branham received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Newberry College and a Master of Education in supervision and administration from Clemson University. He is a member of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, Learning Forward, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the International Literacy Association.
Branham’s wife, Julie, and his children, Drew, Libby and Sydney, as well as Branham’s parents, F.L. and Linda Branham, all attended the surprise meeting to celebrate the honor presented to such a deserved Lexington District One administrator. Many individuals from Centerville Elementary School also attended for the special surprise presentation. It is always a challenge for the Educational Foundation’s Bedenbaugh Selection Committee to make decisions each year, as many wonderful administrators are nominated. However, once the administrator of the year is revealed, it’s evident that the individual stood out among the others, as Heath Branham was the obvious choice for the Educational Foundation’s 2022 Administrator of the Year in Lexington District One.
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Front Row (Left to right): Heath Branham’s parents, Linda and F. L. Branham; Branham’s children, Drew Branham, Libby Branham and Sydney Branham; Branham’s wife, Julie; award winner & Centerville Elementary School (CES) Principal Heath Branham; Educational Foundation Executive Director Julie Anderson Washburn; Lexington District One Superintendent Dr. Gregory D. Little; Centerville Elementary School Assistant Principals Kim Streett and Patrick Burnett
Second Row (Left to right): Lexington District One Board of Trustees Kathryn W. Henson, Timothy F. Oswald, Michael E. Anderson, Anne Marie Green (chair), Dr. Brent M. Powers and Jada B. Garris
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