Elsie Nesbit Trailblazer Award



The Elsie Nesbit Trailblazer Award first began as the Elsie Nesbit Friendship Award. It was established to honor the contributions of Elsie Nesbit to the profession of Visiting Teachers/School Social Workers. Ms. Nesbit was a trailblazer who worked tirelessly to implement Georgia’s first Compulsory School Attendance Law in 1945. She worked with the University of Georgia School of Education to develop professional training program for Visiting Teachers who were responsible for helping children get in school. Later the Visiting Teacher Program was merged with UGA’s School of Social Work.


The Elsie Nesbit Trailblazer Award recognizes outstanding members of SSWAG who have been a certified SSW or VT and member of SSWAG for at least five consecutive years. This individual promotes services to students and/or their families and has made a significant contribution to the profession of School Social Work, locally and statewide.


The prestige of the Award is such that it is not necessarily awarded on an annual basis. The recipient is recognized at the SSWAG Spring Conference.


*Prior to the formation of the Friends of Children award, non-school social workers received the Elsie Nesbit Trailblazer award.


Elsie Nesbit Trailblazer Award Recipients


1991 Dewayne Hamilton – GA Legislator / Chatham County

1994 Don Lyons – Decatur City

1995 Robert Chapman – Fulton County

1996 Jeff Townsend – Gordon County

1997 Wesley Boyd – Atlanta City

1998 Jim Bell – GAE Rep

2001 Randall Smith – Cobb County

2004 Margaret Prentiss – Marietta City

2005 Bobbi Butler – Whitfield County

2006 Deborah Jones – Ware County

2007 Melanie Holt – Laurens County Roy Keen – Savannah Chatham County

2008 Donna Greeson – Catoosa County

2010 Linda DeWaay – Gwinnett County

2011 Nora Aaron – Fulton County 2012 Nathaniel Shelton – Gainesville City Schools

2013 Bevelyn Gosby – Bibb County

2014 Diana Shiley – Savannah Chatham County

2017 Ida Hafford-Brown - Cobb County

2018 Len Duncan - Gwinnett County