I wouldn’t just rehire this Cobb special ed teacher; I would erect a statue in her honor.

This reader response to an AJC article on special education teachers in Cobb ended up on my desk where I read it in amazement. Teacher Shannon Bryant sounds extraordinary.

Read this letter from parent Jason Adams and you will understand why. After reading it, I am even more perplexed why a teacher of Shannon’s caliber was not rehired. I wouldn’t just rehire her after reading this; I would start collecting for a statue in her honor.

With the permission of the author:

I am writing in response to your recent article entitled “Cobb Rehires 130 Special Education Teachers.” My hope is to add to the sentiments expressed regarding special needs teacher Shannon Bryant.  My son, Sully, is a former student of Ms. Shannon.

When Sully was diagnosed with a brain disorder, we searched for the best special needs program in the state.  After speaking with both parents and teachers; and after visiting many schools, we were clear where we should be.  We moved our family to the Nickajack district so that Sully could join Ms. Bryant’s class.

Sully could barely walk or talk when he began class.  He was not potty trained, could not feed himself, and was troubled with intractable seizures.  Mentally, he was already several years behind in his development.  Shannon Bryant took him in and went to work.  Finally, Sully had met a teacher who was more stubborn than he.  Additionally, this teacher knew her business.  Sully’s time in pre-k class immediately began to pay dividends.  Shannon Bryant’s dedication did not end with the school year.  She offered to teach summer school, and we made sure Sully was there.

As Sully grew, he went through dramatic change.  His speech developed.  He physically developed, and he even learned to feed himself.  Then his medical problems worsened.  In October of 2008, Sully had surgery to remove the entire left half of his brain.  On the day of his surgery, we received a photo of Shannon, her class, and many other Nickajack teachers wearing T-shirts with SULLY printed across the chest.  Shannon was responsible for this, and I believe it to be the kindest gesture I’ve personally ever witnessed.

While recovering in a therapy center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Sully had to re-learn nearly everything.  He couldn’t walk.  Shannon boarded an airplane and came directly to Sully’s aid.  Within one day she had him walking.  Sully was weak, as he once again refused to eat or drink.  Shannon had him eating and drinking before she left.  She has repeated this act every single time Sully has suffered a setback (he’s had a few surgeries over the past year).

You see, Shannon Bryant is more than a classroom teacher.  She loves her students and is 100 percent dedicated to their success.  I suspect this is why she was voted Teacher of the Year in 2009.  In the history of the award, no teacher has deserved it more.

Fast forward to today.  Sully is in kindergarten.  He walks, talks, feeds himself, and is potty trained.  Cognitively, he is making great strides to catch up.  He is seizure free.  He is a joyful child and is loved by anyone who knows him.  As his father, I’d like to take credit for the person he has become.  But that wouldn’t be fair.  Sully has accomplished so much because of the hours upon hours of work put in by Shannon Bryant.  She is a true professional, and my family is so thankful that she came into Sully’s life.

I do not understand how Cobb County chose to fire Ms. Bryant.  Teachers like this don’t come along often.  A mistake has been made here.  A bad one.  I am most concerned that Ms. Bryant’s current students are being deprived of her great talents.  I hope and pray that Shannon Bryant is rehired by Nickajack Elementary.

Sincerely,

Jason Adams

110 comments Add your comment

Cobb BOE = failing teachers, failing students

June 18th, 2010
3:16 am

How many good teachers are being unnecessarily put through the ringer like Ms. Bryant and the Platts were, that we don’t even know about?

Retired Educator

June 18th, 2010
3:46 am

I guess my post is filtering since it’s been about 20 minutes since I submitted it.

schlmarm

June 18th, 2010
5:43 am

I hope Sonny Perdue reads this, so he can see the injustice he has caused to education. And shame on Cobb BOE. I wish Ms. Bryant well.

benny

June 18th, 2010
6:26 am

Schlmarm – that would assume Sonnycan read or even cares

Ole Guy

June 18th, 2010
6:36 am

In the education of kids, we speak of consequences for behavior…praise the positive; chastise the negative. We have witnessed, over the last 20-or-so years, the degredation of this very tenet, whereby awards and accolades become the standard regardless of behavior acceptability.

Why, then, is there such indignation when the powers that be…those who issue life-altering/career-altering decisions with reckless abandon…proceed completely unchallenged and without the least hint of…consequence, for it makes perfect sense (in a rather sick sort of way) that kids reared in the complete absense of consequence will become the adults…the movers and shakers…who will conduct themselves in precisely the same manner as those responsible for this travesty.

I fully realize my rantings has become a broken record of which some may easily tire. However, the simple fact remains…governing bodies left unchallenged, the teacher corps will continue to be the whipping boy, the tackling dummy for every two-bit politician, from county boe to the legislature.

Teachers, stop being afraid of the boogey man and organize.

Mr and Mrs Adams, I know your son, Sully, will have Ms Shannon Bryant to thank for the many achievements he will surely enjoy in life. It is my sincere desire, as I am sure yours as well, that many many “Sullys” will be touched and blessed by the “Shannon Bryants”.

A CONSERVATIVE

June 18th, 2010
6:38 am

Ms. D…IT IS CALLED LIFE…………….HUNDREDS OF GOOD SOLDIERS HAVE DIED ON THE BATTLE FIELD….DEFENDING OUR WAY OF LIFE…..THAT IS LIFE…..BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE…THAT IS LIFE..

A CONSERVATIVE

June 18th, 2010
6:41 am

LOOK AT THE FOLKS ON THE GULF COAST BEING PUT OUT OF WORK….DUE TO YOUR BOY…OBAMA…..DON’t CRY TO ME………Ms.LIBERAL

APS watcher

June 18th, 2010
6:45 am

That was very moving. Thank you. Good teachers will always be great whether their school system appreciates it or not. If Cobb does not want her, hopefully another school system will take her. It’s like that old saying; you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone. People are so busy demonizing teachers. They don’t realize how dedicated the older and some of the younger teachers are.

Vince

June 18th, 2010
6:59 am

@ schlmarm

I’m an Independent so I really care more about placing blame where it belongs than politics. I don’t think you can blame Sonny Perdue for either today’s worldwide economic collapse or for the absurd policies put in place by No Child Left Behind.

You give him WAY too much credit.

Dan

June 18th, 2010
7:22 am

Another ignoramus blaming Teddys NCLB for an economic problem pathetic

tell it

June 18th, 2010
7:34 am

@ a conservative
It would be nice to lay blame on our current president, but you cannot in truth, blame President Obama for this error, no matter how much hatred lies in your heart. Getting back tth reason for this blog,Ms. Bryant is the epitomy of the characteristics we should be looking for in qualified teachers across the board. KUDOS to you Ms. Bryant!!!

redweather

June 18th, 2010
7:36 am

A Conservative, please change your moniker to something like DRUNK AGAIN or KEEPING MY HEAD WHERE THE SUN NEVER SHINES. Your inane comments have begun to make me feel sorry for my conservative friends, and that’s saying a lot.

Marcel

June 18th, 2010
7:36 am

@ CONSERVATIVE….Please explain how Pres. Obama is responsible for people losing their jobs in the Gulf? I’m totally perplexed. Are you just that ignorant or really don’t know any better? This is about an exemplary teacher who was let go as a result of school cutbacks. And by the way, I consider myself to be an Independent but after what the Republicans have done to education here in Georgia the past 8 years, a Democrat will definitely be receiving my vote in November.

Bill

June 18th, 2010
7:39 am

Conservative,

If you yell it must be true. Try about an 18 font along with your caps next time. Nobody will be able to argue with that.

1st grade teacher

June 18th, 2010
7:39 am

Could it be her certification wasn’t up to date or she was under a provisional contract? Or was she just a victim of economics? Special ed teachers are usually VERy secure in their jobs!

feels good, but education?

June 18th, 2010
7:43 am

free public education should serve a public good. i’m sorry to be the one to say it, but few special needs children contribute to the public good in a substantial way. funds would be better spent on at-risk children IMO. that said, i hope ms. bryant is back in the teaching ranks soon.

MiltonMan

June 18th, 2010
7:47 am

The Liberals/teachers on this board blaming Sonny for this yet turnaround and defend Obama??? Please keep your politic preferences out of this discussion. You will not win anyone using such juvenile methodology.

Morrus

June 18th, 2010
7:47 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

MiltonMan

June 18th, 2010
7:49 am

Marcel – blaming republicans for the past 8 years??? Please explain to us what the DemoRats did the previous 100+ years prior to that. Was education in the state so wonderful when the DemoRats were in charge? How well did King Rat treat you?

ABC

June 18th, 2010
8:09 am

A lot of extraordinary teachers were let go in Cobb Co. My son’s 1st grade teacher (a simply AMAZING teacher) was (thank God) re-hired.

It’s actually pretty horrible what the county has done to these teachers. They submitted them to a roller coaster of emotions needlessly. Shame on them.

Cherokee

June 18th, 2010
8:12 am

Making the case for getting results as a major condition for employment in education…

Bill

June 18th, 2010
8:12 am

I totally agree with “feels good”. Special Ed kids are just taking up space and costing taxpayers money. Hitler had a way to deal with these people if we can even call them people. The retardation centers of the 1960’s did just fine didn’t they “feels good”.

NO REPUBLICANS

June 18th, 2010
8:14 am

To Conservative – spoken like a true moron who only cares about their own little selves – God help us if you ever need help for any child of yours – then you will be crying that YOU are being persecuted. People like you make me sick and disgust me to no end.

NO REPUBLICANS

June 18th, 2010
8:16 am

And Bill – while you may wish for Hitler tactics – keep in mind you sound more retarded and suffering from mental deficiencies than the people you are aiming your slurs at – so be careful what you wish for – you could be first in line if you get it.

glad to hear it

June 18th, 2010
8:18 am

Re: Feels good but education: free public education should serve a public good. i’m sorry to be the one to say it, but few special needs children contribute to the public good in a substantial way. funds would be better spent on at-risk children IMO.

Wow. I can’t believe I’m reading this in 2010. Special needs kids are first and foremost people. They deserve respect and care and yes, an education to the highest level they can achieve. You are on a slippery slope with who should receive an education.

Georgia

June 18th, 2010
8:22 am

While we are in this recession and dealing with budget cuts most school administrators are receiving INCREASES in their pay. You can Thank your LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD for this. SO, when it is election time to elect YOUR local school board member remember this. We have some school superintends making more money than the Governor of Georgia and even a few of them making more money than the Vice President of the United States. You can always request the spending records under the Georgia Open Records Act. Parents educate yourself, please check out the following web-site http://open.georgia.gov/.

Bill

June 18th, 2010
8:28 am

Oh and one more thing that “feels good” forgot. Whtat are all these black kids doing in my kids classes???

Bill

June 18th, 2010
8:31 am

Dear No Republicans. Do you not understand sarcasm???

Retired Educator

June 18th, 2010
8:32 am

Maureen, please check the filter. I submitted a post a little after 3 a.m. and it has not posted yet. It was rather long and I forgot to copy and save before clicking submiit for just in case it didn’t post.

Thanks much.

mom of one

June 18th, 2010
8:35 am

If you want to help teachers, pay attention to the State superintendents race and your local BOE. It is time to make a political statement that education is the priority.

Brian Westlake is that kind of candidate. visit his website brianwestlake.com and know that he passionate about public education, the needs and concerns of teachers and all students.

Georgia

June 18th, 2010
8:39 am

To “feels good, but education”: Evidently you do not know what the definition is of Free Appropriate Public Education, or FAPE. By you written language maybe you would have been eligible for services.

@ “Bill” I hope that you never have a medical need because you could fall under ADA Section 504 and need some of these services. Break a leg.

Georgia

June 18th, 2010
8:43 am

Bill I think you are eligible for services. Check out your local mental health services.

educator

June 18th, 2010
8:47 am

Do the research. The cutbacks are a requirement of Obama’s program. In order to qualify for the federal $$$$ dough that he is dangling in front of Perdue’s nose, you have to have massive cutbacks. It’s called “racing to the top” by the state of Georgia, appropriate, since we are at the bottom. I just want to know when Georgia is going to look to successful plans for education, instead of hopping on the latest train to come down the pike.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

Jennifer

June 18th, 2010
8:53 am

Cobb – hire her back. Period. Or Gwinnett, please recruit her.

Bill

June 18th, 2010
8:59 am

Georgia, Have you never heard of “Glen Becking” somebody? You act real stupid and then bring Hitler into the conversation to make your point stick. “feels good” is an idiot.

Fruity

June 18th, 2010
9:00 am

The Cobb BOE had to fire Shannon so they could pay the astro-turf installers…still waiting for the Apple laptops!!!

Ole Guy

June 18th, 2010
9:05 am

Feels Good About Education, why do you appologize for stating the perfectly obvious? Many many kids who have had the misfortune of beginning life with terrible challenges and set-backs have, with the right combinations of preparation and internal drive, both done quite well for themselves and contributed to the “grand scheme” of life. The “Van Goghs” in life may or may not have had the mental disorder which prompted self-mutilation, however, one has only to read of the man’s life, and view his contributions, to realize that disabilities, of one flavor or another, do not disqualify one from greatness.

I am quite certain that, with a continuation of the groundwork which Ms Bryant has initiated, Young Sully will grow up to lead a productive life.

Never appologize for what’s right!

@ Milton Man & Ole Guy

June 18th, 2010
9:05 am

Milton Man,
FYI – Education is so bad in this state because of D-F Redneck Republican Racists like you!
You’re just too ignorant to realize it!

Barbara

June 18th, 2010
9:16 am

To “Feels Good” and others who agree with his comments: In almost the blink of an eye, any of us could have a stroke or be in an accident that would leave us very or even totally dependent on others for our most basic of needs. You might want to think about that a bit . . . if it happened to you and you couldn’t “contribute to the public good in a substantial way” (your words), should we spend the necessary money for your care and rehabilitation?

MiltonMan

June 18th, 2010
9:16 am

@ – really mature of you to counter my opinion with false allegations of racism.

Hey AJC moderator please invoke some type of rule that a poster has to have an IQ of say higher than a rock to prevent riff-raff like @ from hijacking the board.

@ Milton Man & Ole Guy

June 18th, 2010
9:17 am

Ole guy,
That comment was NOT intended for you. My apologies for accidentally including your name with MM.

@ Milton Man

June 18th, 2010
9:20 am

Thank you very much, but my IQ is 148.

Teacher AND Taxpayer

June 18th, 2010
9:21 am

I’m astonished by the cruelty of some of these posts. Not to mention the idiocy. But, you know what they say about opinions. . .

Here’s what I didn’t see, but would like to know: was Shannon Bryant let go because of unsatisfactory performance evaluations or because of lack of seniority? If it’s the former, what were the performance problems? Were they real performance problems? Was an attempt made to address them? Did the administrator who performed the evaluations on the new evaluation instrument lack an understanding of the criteria? Or did the administrator believe that a certain percentage of staff needed to fall in the “needs improvement” category? I ask, because it appears that some Cobb principals and assistant principals apparently believed that they needed to have a percentage of “needs improvement” teachers; whether this was an area superintendant mandate or just an individual administrator idiosyncracy has not been made clear, though someone (like a reporter) certainly ought to check it out, since it’s been referred to in past blogs. Administrators have been known to use the performance evaluations to reward and punish. If this teacher had less than three years in the system, hopefully she has been re-hired. She sounds like a great teacher, one who is passionately concerned about the best interests of her students.

Retired Educator

June 18th, 2010
9:36 am

I don’t know how old MiltonMan is, but it appears that he needs some attention and seeks, and actually finds it, in places like this. MiltonMan, tell your mother that you need some attention. To ALL of us posting here, may I suggest that no one else respond to MiltonMan. This is not the place to fulfill his thirst.

A CONSERVATIVE, you can do the same thing.

Retired Educator

June 18th, 2010
9:37 am

Thanks, Maureen, for getting my original post released. It’s so high up now that I hope some here will go back and read it.

oldtimer

June 18th, 2010
9:38 am

Many, many special needs kids, with a good education will become self-supporting successful adults.
This special education teacher sounds like a jewel……..

Not Rehired For Bad Evaluations

June 18th, 2010
9:39 am

If I remember correctly when she was initially not rehired and parents were up in arms, a Cobb BOE spokesman made the statement that she was not rehired for bad evaluations. I wondered at the time if this was legal.

Retired Educator

June 18th, 2010
9:48 am

The Human Resources front page on the CCSD’s website introduces itself with a JOKE like this:

Welcome to CCSD Human Resources
“TEACH COBB! It’s Better at the Top!”

There also is the picture of a Dr. Donald Dunnigan with the title “Chief Human Resources Officer.” Has anyone heard a peep from this person during all this mess in human resources in the CCSD? Is he just a figure head person with zero input? You’d think that there would be some input from the person who supposed holds the highest reign dealing with employment matters.

Maureen Downey

June 18th, 2010
9:50 am

Retired Educator, Why don’t you just repost it? When I see the new version up, I can delete the earlier one.
Maureen