Click the button below to listen to the May 31, 2019 interview.
Southern Humorist, Marlene Ratledge Buchanan has been entertaining readers with her observations about life through her column, Hey Y'all, published in the Gwinnett Citizen since 2015. Ms. Buchanan column first appeared in the life section of the Snellville Patch. She has combined a collection of essays into her first book, Life is Hard Soften It with Laughter. The subject matter for her columns primarily center around life events she has experienced, but no topic or any person is off limits.
After thirty-four years of being in public education either as a teacher or counselor, Marlene "fully" retired in 2007. Her first teaching position, as an art teacher, was at Duluth High School in 1972. She moved to Parkview High School in the fall of 1978 and remained for the next tweny-four years. It was in the classroom where she earned the name "Ms. Rat." that has stayed with her and garnered her a collection of rat figurines and collectibles over the years from her students. After her first attempt at retirement, Marlene returned to the education arena as a counselor for students in special education or required academic support in 2002 for Central Gwinnett High School.
Marlene is quick to say that she'd plan to marry someone old and rich, but she only got old. This is often immediately followed with how she knew on her first date with her husband, Snell, she was positive he was the one for her to the point she proposed. After his refusal, she considered getting him pregnant. Marlene and Snell have celebrated forty-two years of marriage.
After seven years of marriage, Snell asked Marlene if she could be pregnant. The answer was yes and a beautiful olive skin baby boy with a head full of black hair became a part of their lives. James suffered a lack of oxygen during delivery, resulting in him having special needs. Marlene refers to James' condition as a special gift.
Their family is complete with several feline, two of which are often referred to as flying monkeys, and other rescues James has brought home. Her computer is known as Hissy Prissy. Marlene believes dust is just and admits she is not a domestic diva and has allergies to cooking,. The only reason their home has a kitchen is for the resale value it adds. She is a connoisseur of coffee and finds therapy in bush hogging around her home. Guest are welcomed to visit. There is a shovel at the back door to help navigate your way into her home. She does ask that the fur tumbleweeds are not disturbed.
Randi D. Ward is a retired Language Arts teacher from Georgia with 37 years of teaching experience and a published author. Mrs. Ward was named “Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 in the Education Industry” by Worldwide Who’s Who and was profiled in the month of March in the 2015 Worldwide Branding calendar. In 2015 she was honored as this organization’s Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian of the Year and as a Top Female Executive in 2014 as well an Inductee, Elite American Artist (2015). Her other awards and credentials include the following: National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) where she was named 2014-15 VIP Woman of the Year, an elite member and 2015 Delegate of the International Women’s Leadership Association (IWLA), a 2014 Pinnacle Professional Member of Continental Who’s Who, an elite VIP member of Strathmore’s Worldwide Who’s Who where she was featured on a full page profile in its next book, and 2015 Professional of the Year with International Association of Who’s Who. She appears in a YouTube interview video with President Beth Johnston of IWLA and was featured on the cover of IWLA’s May/June 2016 edition of Inspirational Woman Magazine with one of her articles entitled Taking the Needed Risks. In an October 2016 edition of Women of Distinction Magazine, she was featured in a four-page article as an Author/Entrepreneur. On this magazine’s website is a 30-minute podcast interview about Mrs. Ward. In May 2017 she was named Top Professional of the Year by International Association of Top Professionals and received this award at the Awards Gala at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Battery Park, in New York City, on December 16, 2017. She was honored as its 2018 Top Female Professional on December 15, 2018, at the Awards Gala at the Plaza Hotel. She introduced the gala and IAOTP’s President Stephanie Cirami at the formal dinner. She was recently named 2020 IAOTP’s Top Female Visionary and will be honored at the Gala in Las Vegas in December 2019. In July 2017 she became a lifetime member of Marquis Who’s Who. In August 2017 she was named “A Woman of Excellence” by Marquis Who’s Who, and then named a Top Professional in September by this same prestigious organization. She appeared in T.I.P. (Top Industry Professional) magazine published by IAOTP and as an Outstanding Author in POWER magazine (Marquis Who’s Who) in 2018.
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