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Distinguished Alumni: Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan, Class of '85

Mary Parham-Copelan, the current mayor of Milledgeville, Georgia, is a true embodiment of Baldwin High School pride. Her remarkable achievements and contributions to her community have earned her the title of a Distinguished Alumni of the school.

Parham-Copelan graduated from Baldwin High School in 1985, where she was known for her academic excellence and active involvement in various extracurricular activities. Her passion for service and leadership was evident during her time at Baldwin, where she served on the Student Council and as statistician for James E. Lunsford's basketball team. "From middle school, I was always interested in the political arena," said Parham-Copelan, "I started out in Student Council and carried that over to Baldwin High School... I was also thankful to Coach Lunsford who allowed me to be the team statistician for four years coming out of middle school, and to the honorable Lisa Cook who prepared me for a wonderful speech at my first student council run!"

After graduating from high school, Parham-Copelan attended the Overview School of Nursing-LPN before going on to complete clerical and retail sales courses at Georgia College Continuing Education in 1986. "I went into the workforce at an early age," said Parham-Copelan, "because I had a young child to raise." Parham-Copelan's determination and hard work saw her excel in multiple careers, from the Department of Corrections to ministry, sales, and eventually working towards a Brokers license to own her own business.

She obtained her License in Ministry of the Gospel from Beulah Heights University and went on to become the CEO, proprietor, and lead pastor of Word of Life Interdenominational Bible, Outreach Ministries. Her ministry has touched the lives of many people in Milledgeville, and she continues to be a shining light in the community. In addition to her ministry, Parham-Copelan also pursued a career in real estate, obtaining her real estate license.

"Where I sit today, I have to attribute that right now to the Baldwin County school system and Baldwin County Transportation because, as you know, I drive a school bus every day. Doing that connected me with different people at Foothills Charter School, which got me the job with the Foothills District as a Site Registrar, so I say to kids all the time, 'don't despise small beginnings'."

As the current mayor of Milledgeville, Parham-Copelan continues to serve her community with distinction in many different capacities. In addition to serving as Mayor, she continues to drive students in the afternoons as a licensed bus driver for the District. She is passionate about making a positive impact on the lives of people in Milledgeville and has implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting economic development, public safety, and social welfare.

Parham-Copelan's love for Baldwin High School is evident in her continuous support for the school's programs and initiatives. She often attends school events and is actively involved in fundraising efforts aimed at supporting the school's programs, "I'm grateful that I can give back and work in the school system in some type of way," she said. She even recalled teaming up with Superintendent Dr. Noris Price to drive District workers to the houses of former students to convince them to return to school! "I’ve watched and admired Dr. Price’s professionalism and heart for Baldwin’s children and staff. She is a mentor and a hero,” Parham-Copelan said, “So if I can give something, I'm going to give it!"

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