MRS. REBECCA SURLEY BRANCH
MMHMF 2005 Honoree
Mrs. Rebecca Surley Branch, the daughter of the late Deacon Irvin W. and Mehetta B. Surley, is a native of Chesterfield County Virginia. She attended Union Branch Elementary School and graduated from Daniel Webster Davis High School, Ettrick, Virginia. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia State College (now VSU) and has done further study at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland.
Mrs. Branch began her teaching career in 1951 at Midlothian Elementary School in Chesterfield County. She also has taught at the Kingsland, Winterpock and Union Grove Elementary schools. In January 1962, she was appointed head teacher of Dupuy Elementary School. In August 1962, she became the teaching Principal of Dupuy Elementary School, a position she held until 1967. She became the principal of Dupuy and Union Grove Elementary schools in August 1967. She worked in this position for one year and in August 1968, she became the full-time principal of Dupuy Elementary, a position she held for three years. In August of 1971, she became the first African-American principal of Ettrick Elementary School from which she retired on June 30, 1983.
Also, Mrs. Branch served as president of the Chesterfield Teachers Association (CTS) and served on several visiting committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She held membership in the following
professional organizations: Chesterfield Association of School Executives (CASE), Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals (VAESP) and the National Association of Elementary Schools Principals (NAESP).
Mrs. Branch aided in writing the recommendation and then she was selected to present this recommendation to the school board that resulted in the naming of the newly constructed school in the Bermuda District of Chesterfield County, the “Marguerite F. Christian Elementary School.” It was dedicated in 1996.
Fraternally, she is a member of Electra Chapter No. 7, Order of Eastern Star, and the Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
She is a member of the Union Branch Baptist Church where she was a member of the choir for many, many years and also taught church school. Currently, she is a member of the Diaconate and the Missionary Ministry and has served and still serves on numerous committees. She is also a member of the Chesterfield County Deacon and Deaconess Union and served as president of the Women’s Auxiliary for three years.
Mrs. Branch is a loving, warm and caring individual whose wisdom and guidance is invaluable in the church and community. She is the widow of the late Deacon Melvin S. Branch and parent of one son, Ronald and two granddaughters RaShanda and Devondra.