Toombs County Schools posthumously presented the Debra Brantley Special Educator Award to the late Rhonda DeLoach of Glennville, with her family accepting the award on her behalf. The award was presented at the February 10, 2022, school board meeting.
DeLoach was a longtime Occupational Therapist in the system and made a lasting impact on her students and peers. The Debra Brantley Award is an annual recognition given to the Special Education Teacher of the Year. Recipients exemplify the qualities that define a successful special education instructor and advocate for students with disabilities in the same way that Brantley did during her special education career.
Rhonda's early career as an occupational therapist included employment with Candler Hospital in Savannah and West Rehab in Hinesville. Her aspirations and determination to help others, especially children, led her to establish her own occupational therapy business, Open Hands Therapy.
Her service to children enrolled in the Babies Can't Wait program and students in local school systems has enabled many children to achieve increased independence with daily living skills.
The award was accepted by her twin sister, Rebecca Woolard. Also present from the family was her sister, Tina DeLoach Backhold; her mother, Linda (the late Roger) DeLoach; her daughter, Caroline DeLoach; and her husband of 25 years, Richie DeLoach. She also has two sons, Carson DeLoach of Texas and Conner DeLoach of Glennville.
DeLoach was 47 when she died on April 11, 2021, at Optim Healthcare of Reidsville. She was a 1992 graduate of Glennville High School, and a 1996 graduate of The Medical College of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy.