State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge visited Pepperell Middle School on Wednesday, August 29 at 9:00 AM to present the Phillips Award to the family of Bonnie Cook. Mrs. Cook was the school secretary at Pepperell Middle School for 22 years. She passed away August 25, 2011 in a tragic van fire on her way to a treatment at a cancer center in Rome.
Dr. Barge presented the award to Bonnie’s husband Jim Cook, for her dedicated service to children in the Lindale community. Other family members present for the presentation included: Bonnie’s daughter Julie Cook; brother Dean Brannon, sister-in-law Janice Brannon and niece Ashley Brannon. This was the second time the Phillips Award has been presented by Superintendent Barge. He created the award to recognize school staff members who have had a tremendous impact on the education and lives of others.
Bonnie Cook was a beloved member of the Pepperell Middle staff as her time at the school spanned seven principals and 14 assistant principals during her 22 years at the school. Becky McCoy, principal at Pepperell Middle said, “Mrs. Cook’s warm smile always greeted you when you came through the school doors, and it was her voice parents and the community recognized when they called the school.”
During the presentation, Superintendent Barge said, “Mrs. Cook demonstrated how someone on a school staff can touch the lives of so many people.” Barge added, “She was the heart and soul of Pepperell Middle.” At the reception that followed the presentation of the award, former administrators, teachers and friends talked and shared stories of Bonnie Cook’s warmth, humor, and love she demonstrated to the staff, children and parents at Pepperell Middle over the years.
The Phillips Award was named in honor of Condyce Phillips who was the cafeteria manager at Griffin Middle School in Cobb County when Superintendent Barge was a student in that school. Superintendent Barge credits her with helping him and countless other children to write a better story for themselves.
The Phillips Award is sponsored by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, a non-partisan, non-profit policy and research organization whose mission it is to improve student achievement in our state.