Retirees reflect on career success during annual reception

Harlem High School custodian Brenda Dixon and Assistant Principal Kem Carter have both called Columbia County School District home for much of their careers.

Their retirement, along with more than 100 other CCSD employees were celebrated during the district's annual retirement reception. Each year, the event honors these hardworking staff members for their dedication to public education in Columbia County. 

Dixon, a beloved custodian, has served the Harlem High School community for 45 years. She says Harlem High has been her home away from home and has enjoyed watching students grow up and become teachers, and their children do the same.

teacher holding plaque and smiling

“I was so lucky to be working in Columbia County because I just love it,” Dixon said. “My years can tell you that, they speak for themselves. I am going to miss it.”

True to her duty to care for others, and being part of a dedicated team, Dixon says she held off on retiring due to a shortage of custodial staff, to ensure her coworkers and her beloved Harlem High would not go without. Though she is retiring, Dixon says she is considering returning part-time to continue to serve the school community she loves.

Similarly, Carter celebrated retirement from education after 32 years, with 20 of those spent in service to the students of the Columbia County School District. Looking back over her years of service, Carter credits the Columbia County School District for her professional growth.

teacher holding plaque and smiling

Carter began her career as a young teacher with the school district before leaving for a short period of time. Upon her return to education in Columbia County, she was hired as one of just two instructional coaches in the district at the time. 

“I got that opportunity right when instructional coaching first was introduced in education, and Columbia County jumped in and hired math coaches,” Carter said. “I was one of the first two and it just grew me professionally and I was able to learn a lot about myself through that. Then from there, I moved into administration.”

“That experience was something I felt like I wouldn’t have received anywhere else,” Carter said. “I credit Columbia County and the people and the support in Columbia County for my professional growth.”

Check out a full photo album from the annual retirement reception here:

To become a part of the Columbia County School District team, check out certified and non-certified positions available now at or contact [email protected].