Decatur’s Thomas O. Davis Award honors a public employee who helps strengthen the bond between government and the community, serves as a role model for others in public service, contributes to the well-being of the community, inspires others to get involved in public service, and serves the public with respect. The award is named for Decatur’s long-time city attorney Thomas O. Davis, who embodied these attributes every day of his distinguished career.
To nominate a public employee for this award, contact Lee Ann Harvey, email@example.com or 678-553-6548.
Robbin Dickerson Receives the 2016 Thomas O. Davis Award
From left: Jean Davis Sansone, Susan Davis Bennett, Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon, Mayor Patti Garrett, CSD School Board Chair Annie Caiola, CSD Schools Superintendent Dr. David Dude, award recipient Robbin Dickerson, Decatur Business Association President Kyle Williams, Decatur Lifelong Community Coordinator LeeAnn Harvey.
"When I think of a public servant who goes above and beyond his/her job, one of the first people who comes to mind is Robbin Dickerson, City Schools of Decatur (CSD) social worker. CSD has wonderful, dedicated social workers, counselors, and other staff members. Robbin stands out because of the work she does with parents and students who have greater struggles than some of the other CSD families. Robbin is the family support specialist. Her job includes serving as CSD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison.
Robbin began her career with CSD in 1999. I first met her in 2000 through my work with A Season of Giving /Christmas Decatur, a program that provides holiday gifts for low income children and senior citizens. Robbin has been instrumental in helping to make sure that all CSD families in need of help are included in this program. Frequently, this means adding special application sessions, so that all vulnerable families are able to apply for help.
In 2016, there were several McKinney-Vento families who were unable to attend the scheduled application sessions, so special sessions were set up for them. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act legislation mandates that homeless children have “equal access” to education. Some of these parents were unable to attend the regularly scheduled sessions due to work commitments. Others were looking for work and had conflicts due to interviews for potential jobs. While some of the families lived with friends or family or in motels, many were truly without a home. These families lived in their vehicles. Things we take for granted, such as mail and email, are not readily available when your family lives in a vehicle.
I worked with Robbin very closely during the special application sessions for Season of Giving. I was impressed with how well she knew each of the people in each of the families and the specific issues each of them faced. She treated them all with respect and dignity. She made numerous calls and sent numerous emails to them to ensure they would be able to attend. Not only was she a supportive cheerleader for them, she also was a voice of honesty telling them steps they could take to assume responsibility for actions that they did have control over.
It was both a difficult and uplifting experience to speak with these parents, primarily mothers, who were trying so hard to provide for their children but were unable to do so. Hearing Robbin provide them with words of support and coaching them on strategies was very meaningful to me. I have even more respect for what she does year in and year out. I truly don’t know how she does it.
In addition to working with the McKinney-Vento families, and following up with countless other families about Season of Giving, she took on the added task of being the initial point of contact for the low income CSD employees who were then given special referrals to participate in this program that is primarily for City of Decatur residents. As she always does, Robbin would take it a step further and help direct these staff members to additional resources.
Robbin Dickerson embodies the essence of a true public servant. She is very deserving of this award."
Lee Ann Harvey
The DBA established the Thomas O. Davis Award in memory of Thomas O. Davis, Decatur's city attorney from 1968 until his death in 2000. The first award was presented to the family of Thomas O. Davis in January 2001.