CCSD Announces School-Level Teacher of the Year Winners

CCSD Announces School-Level Teacher of the Year Winners

Congratulations to the Cherokee County School District’s School Teacher of the Year winners!

At the start of every school year, each CCSD school is asked to select its own Teacher of the Year.  These school-level winners now are eligible for the honor of Cherokee County School District’s 2017 Teacher of the Year!

The Districtwide competition will be judged by a panel of community leaders based on applications submitted by the school-level winners.  The CCSD winner will be surprised in his or her classroom by the Superintendent of Schools this fall and will be honored, along with each school’s winner, at a Teacher of the Year Banquet in December.  The banquet is sponsored by CCSD Partners including Northside Hospital-Cherokee and Credit Union of Georgia.

The CCSD winner will be entered into the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

2017 CCSD School Teachers of the Year

Stephen Schroter, ACE Academy

Terry Chadwick, Arnold Mill ES

Ta-Tanisha Hill-Guy, Avery ES

Chessa McGinnis, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy

Bettina Miller, Bascomb ES

Scott Lambert, Boston ES

Darby Bewley, CCSD Preschool Centers

David Cornn, Canton ES STEM Academy

Dianne Bussey, Carmel ES

Clyde Lowery, Cherokee HS

Lauren Abrams, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy

Andrea Ingham, Clayton ES

Debby Amoss, Creekland MS

Kerri Schmitt, Creekview HS

Jacqueline Allen, Dean Rusk MS

Daniele Deneka, E.T. Booth MS

Debbie Rufa, Etowah HS

Kristi Townley, Free Home ES

Brandi Shook, Freedom MS

Ashley Mounts, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy

Erika Graves, Hickory Flat ES

Jana Cervone, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy

Shelly Brumbelow, Indian Knoll ES

Michael L’Esperance, Johnston ES

Tricia Weathers, Knox ES

Maria McCall, Liberty ES

Maureen Boll, Little River ES

Tenille Turner, Macedonia ES

Andrew McEntyre, Mill Creek MS

Tina Rogers, Mountain Road ES

Mary Kenney, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy

Ada Rogers, R.M. Moore ES

Joel Roth, River Ridge HS

Brian Carnes, Sequoyah HS

Lori Pelkey, Sixes ES

Dr. Jennifer Reynolds, Teasley MS

Elaine Warner, Tippens Education Center

Emily Spira, Woodstock ES

Julie Crowe, Woodstock HS

B.J. Mazza, Woodstock MS

CCSD Student Named to State School Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council

A Cherokee County School District student has been named to the State School Superintendent’s 2016-17 Student Advisory Council!

Hannah Culver, an eighth-grader at E.T. Booth Middle School, is one of 108 students statewide tapped to serve on the council made up of middle and high school students.  Members were selected from more than 800 applications based on answers to essay questions about public education and how they think it could be improved.


Hannah Culver, an eighth-grader at E.T. Booth Middle School, has been named to the State School Superintendent’s 2016-17 Student Advisory Council!

“It was refreshing and valuable to hear these students’ feedback and ideas,” Superintendent Richard Woods said.  “This is a fantastic group of students with great ideas for the future of our educational system, and I can’t wait to work with them.  I’d like to thank every student who took the time to apply and share their thoughts.”

The Council will meet with Superintendent Woods to talk about issues including how state policies affect their classrooms, and also will serve as the Superintendent’s student ambassadors and participate in service projects.

“Meeting with my Student Advisory Council has been, and will continue to be, an invaluable part of my decision-making process,” Superintendent Woods said. “To develop child-focused, classroom-centered policies, we have to hear directly from students.  We can only improve their educational experience by bringing them to the table.”

CCSD Teacher Named Georgia Art Educator of the Year

Category : CCSD

A Cherokee County School District teacher has been named the 2017 Georgia Art Educator of the Year!

Woodstock Elementary School teacher Pam Morgan has won the statewide title in recognition of her efforts at the school, community and state level.

Woodstock ES MORGAN Pam

Woodstock Elementary School teacher is the 2017 Georgia Art Educator of the Year!

A longtime member of the Georgia Art Education Association, which presents the overall award to one Georgia teacher a year, she has served on its board as Capitol Art Exhibit Co-Chair, Youth Art Month Co-Chair and District No. 2 President.  Ms. Morgan previously has been honored with the Association’s 2010 Elementary Art Educator of the Year award and went on to win the Southeastern 2010 Elementary Art Educator of the Year title as well.

Ms. Morgan is a strong supporter of student exhibits including the Capitol Art Exhibit and Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Youth Art Exhibit and Cherokee Arts Council Youth Art Month Exhibit.  She also works with community organizations to develop artistic opportunities for students and, as a result, her students have created artwork in coordination with the City of Woodstock and Preservation Woodstock.  She educates students using cross-curricular activities and teaches art history and culture.

“The Art of Giving” project developed by Ms. Morgan shows students how their art can touch the lives of others.  The project has included creating artwork to send to soldiers, making American flags for local and New York fire departments in remembrance of 9/11, a school- and citywide art “blitz” supporting Remember Alex Brown (RAB) Don’t Text and Drive and collecting coins for “Let’s Make a Change,” which benefitted African orphans and supported their education.

Creekview High School Aeronautics Team Places at National Competition

Creekview HS Aeronautics 1 9 6 16

Team members are, from left to right, Canon Sousa, Andrew White, Nick Garcia, and Aiden McChesney.

Creekview HS Aeronautics 2 9 6 16

The team works together at the National competition.

The Creekview High School Aeronautics Team continued its success at the National level, with a fourth-place overall win at the UAS4STEM Search and Rescue Nationals.

The team of John Abdinoor, Nick Garcia, Aiden McChesney, Canon Sousa and Andrew White earned a spot at Nationals in Muncie, Ind. after finishing third at the Southeast Regional Competition in May.

In its first year, the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ UAS 4STEM competition engages students in the challenge of building, programming and flying a remotely controlled drone in a search-and-rescue scenario.  Upon completing FAA ground school, teams receive materials to build, program and fly their drone, which must be capable of broadcasting live video and establishing GPS position at all times.  After several months of work, students compete regionally in events at which they earn points by presenting their flight plan, flying to waypoints across a search grid and locating items of interest with GPS and video technology.  The 15 top teams from Regionals were invited to the Academy’s headquarters for Nationals.

Despite a rainstorm, the Creekview HS team located all objects in the search area and landed its drone in the National competition.

The team’s drone comes in for its landing.

“We are proud of the perseverance of our Aeronautics Team at this competition,” said team sponsor teacher Tim Smyrl.  “To compete nationally and finish fourth in our first year of competition speaks volumes for our kids and their efforts.  We look forward to competing again next year.”

The team competes also annually in the Team America Rocketry Challenge at which it has earned national and international honors, in addition to the new UAS4STEM program.  The team is offered as an extra-curricular STEM outreach, and several former team members have pursued degrees and careers in engineering and aerospace fields.

CCSD Parent Named to State School Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council

A Cherokee County School District parent has been named to the State School Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council!


John Cline

John Cline, whose children attend Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy and Teasley Middle School, is one of 31 parents from across the state selected to serve on the 2016-17 and 2017-18 Council.

Mr. Cline, an attorney and Cherokee County Probate Court associate judge and chief clerk, will represent CCSD in providing input on issues including Georgia’s state plan to implement the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

This is the third consecutive time that a CCSD parent has been selected to serve on the Council!

“Parents share a very valuable perspective that we greatly appreciate and know the State School Superintendent does as well,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “Mr. Cline will represent his school and our School District well, as he is a knowledgeable, involved and supportive parent and community leader.”

School Board Takes Stand Against State “Opportunity School District” School Takeover Plan

Here is a printable factsheet about OSD.

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, September 1, 2016, took a stand against the State’s “Opportunity School District” school takeover plan by unanimously approving a resolution opposing the constitutional amendment on ballots this fall.

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer said she’s “proud” that the Board stepped up even though CCSD currently has no schools on the so-called “failing” list that would trigger a takeover by a Governor-appointed czar should the amendment pass.

“The big part of this in my mind is that as a member of this School Board our job is to protect the children of Cherokee County,” Ms. Cromer said.  “And I see no benefit in this to them.”

The School Board has heard staff presentations over the last year outlining how the amendment could potentially affect CCSD, especially as the metric used to trigger takeover is constantly changing and targets Title I schools that serve the community’s most at-risk students.

Board members also have raised concerns about the amendment usurping local control, as it removes the oversight of the locally elected School Board and would seize assets communities have voted to fund through sales tax collections.

Here is the language of the resolution:

“WHEREAS, on November 5, 2015, the Cherokee County School Board (“School Board”) unanimously approved its 2016 Legislative Program which included as a priority, “Align current and future legislative initiatives (e.g., Governor’s proposed Opportunity School District Constitutional Amendment) with State Constitutional provisions regarding local control and management of public schools, rather than usurping locally-elected School Boards’ authority;” and,

WHEREAS, the School Board supports the authority of the State’s local boards of education to manage and control the operation of the local public schools, opposing any legislation that attempts to override the constitutional authority of locally-elected boards to make educational decisions for their communities; and,

WHEREAS, in November 2016, a State Constitutional amendment will be included on the ballot, which would, if approved, give the State authority to take control from certain Georgia schools and create a State-operated school district; and,

WHEREAS, if approved, local control will be eliminated and schools that have been determined as “failing” by the State may be placed into an “Opportunity School District;” and,

WHEREAS, if approved, the administration of schools placed in the “Opportunity School District” would be overseen by a State-appointed Superintendent, to be confirmed by the Senate, with authority to waive State board of education rules, regulations, policies, procedures or provisions; and,

WHEREAS, if approved, facilities of qualifying schools shall come under control of the “Opportunity School District,” where the “Opportunity School District” Superintendent may repurpose the facility for use by an education service provider; and,

WHEREAS, if approved, qualifying schools may be subject to any of the following intervention models, as determined by the “Opportunity School District” Superintendent:

(1) Direct management of the qualifying school by the “Opportunity School District;” or,

(2) Shared governance of the qualifying school by the “Opportunity School District” and the local board of education pursuant to a contract in which the local board of education operates the school and the “Opportunity School  District” Superintendent has the authority to direct changes to be made at the school; or,

(3) Reconstitution of the qualifying school as an “Opportunity School District” charter school in which the “Opportunity School District” works in collaboration with the State Charter Schools Commission to build capacity of petitioning governing boards and charter school applications to establish a charter that will be approved by the State Charter Schools Commission; or,

(4) Closure of the qualifying school which is not enrolled at full capacity and reassigning the students to a non-qualifying school within the local school system. School closure shall be the intervention of last resort; and,

WHEREAS, if approved, the total allotment of state and federal funds to the local school system in which a qualifying school is located will be calculated as otherwise provided in enabling legislation of this title with an ensuing reduction equivalent to the amount of funds appropriated to any such schools; and,

WHEREAS, other state takeover efforts (e.g., Louisiana and Tennessee) have not proven to be successful and have not improved student achievement results; and,

WHEREAS, taking away local control, diminishing resources, and making efforts to shift the governance of local schools, will do just the opposite for the successful outcomes of Cherokee County School District students, and will not result in the needed infusion of state resources for the full support of Local Educational Agencies; and,

WHEREAS, ensuring real opportunity for every student means providing struggling schools with resources that attract the best faculty and staff, improved access to health and social services, and enhanced supports for academic enrichment opportunities;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Cherokee County School Board opposes creation of a state-run school district, otherwise known as the “Opportunity School District,” and that we commit to fully educate our community about the issues raised by this proposed Amendment.”

The School Board also heard a presentation on the process underway to develop an instructional framework for CCSD, which will create standards for how teachers design instruction and assess student learning.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower told the Board that, while they’re hearing about many projects underway to improve CCSD, “as far as impacting the classroom, this will have the most impact.”

The School Board also took the following action:

  • Heard a presentation on The Smile Run to be held on October 8 at First Baptist Canton in memory of late Ralph Bunche Center preschooler Christian Egner, with proceeds to benefit the Center;
  • Recognized Sequoyah HS Marketing Teacher Kari Palmer for winning an international entrepreneurship education program award;
  • Recognized students Lukas Freeman of Creekview HS and Chandler Stevenson of Freedom MS Students for Georgia 4-H Achievements;
  • Approved a proclamation in honor of Constitution Week;
  • Approved a proclamation recognizing September as National Attendance Awareness Month;
  • Approved renewal of a Partnership Agreement with the City of Ball Ground and a new Partnership Agreement with Raising Giants baseball program;
  • Approved the final reading of technical modifications to School Board Policies; School Board Member Clark Menard successfully proposed adding the lack of available locker space to the list of indictors that a school is overcrowded;
  • Approved the issuance of a Tax Anticipation Notice;
  • Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved special lease agreements;
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations including the appointment of Andy Hall as an Assistant Principal at River Ridge High School where he currently serves as a Teacher on Special Assignment;
  • Continued planning for required annual School Board Member training;
  • Approved a contract with Ninth District Opportunity, Inc. for Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2017; and,
  • Met in Executive Session for Board Self-Evaluation.

Next School Board meeting: 7 p.m. Oct. 13, 2016;  6 p.m. Strategic Work Session

27 CCSD Schools Named to Georgia’s SHAPE Honor Roll!

CCSD Shape Honor Roll - Little River ES 9 1 16

Little River Elementary School PE teachers, from left to right, Laurie Hall, Reggie Kimball and Josh Sams show off the prestigious Governor’s SHAPE Honor Roll Platinum award the school has achieved. Little River ES and 11 other CCSD schools earned the top honor… an increase from seven schools last year!

Twenty-seven Cherokee County School District schools have been named to the Governor’s SHAPE (Student Health and Physical Education) Honor Roll!

The awards recognize schools’ commitment to the health and well-being of Georgia’s students through fitness and nutrition.

CCSD’s total number of honorees is an increase from 24 last school year!  The State named 218 schools statewide (out of more than 2,600) to the Honor Roll… with CCSD claiming 12% of the total! Print

Schools can earn Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze medals; CCSD has increased from seven to 12 Platinum winners:

Platinum winners (12 of 125 statewide): Avery ES, Boston ES, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, Clayton ES, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Indian Knoll ES, Johnston ES, Knox ES, Little River ES, Macedonia ES, Mountain Road ES, Sixes ES

Gold winners (6 of 14 statewide): Creekland MS, Dean Rusk MS, E.T. Booth MS, Freedom MS, Mill Creek MS, Woodstock MS

Silver winners (8 of 62 statewide): Arnold Mill ES, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Canton ES STEM Academy, Hickory Flat ES, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, Woodstock ES, Teasley MS, Etowah HS

Bronze winner (1 of 17 statewide): River Ridge HS

The Honor Roll program recognizes and rewards the schools, students and teachers that demonstrate excellence on measures of SHAPE participation, data reporting, and student wellness.  The Governor’s SHAPE initiative is a statewide program merging governmental, philanthropic and academic and business communities to address childhood obesity.

Schools also receive additional prizes from the SHAPE program ranging from banners to sports equipment based on the medal level they achieved.

These schools and their Physical Education teachers will be recognized by the Superintendent of Schools and School Board at the October 13, 2016 School Board Meeting.

Cherokee High School Names Interim Head Baseball Coach

Cherokee High School today named Ben Sosebee as its Interim Head Baseball Coach.

Coach Sosebee, who is in his ninth year of teaching social studies and coaching baseball at Cherokee High School, began his baseball career in Demorest, where he attended Habersham Central High School.


Cherokee High School Interim Head Baseball Coach Ben Sosebee

He went on to play baseball at Truett-McConnell College for two years and was drafted in the 36th round of the first-year player draft by the Boston Red Sox.

Coach Sosebee continued his undergraduate studies and baseball career at Kennesaw State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history education.  He later earned his master’s and specialist degrees in education from Piedmont College.

He and his wife, Brooke, an occupational therapist for the School District, live in Waleska with their two children, Emma and Bryce.