March 15, 2018: Regular Meeting
The School Board on Thursday, March 15, 2018, approved the appointment of new Principals for next school year and the voter-supported installation of artificial turf at all high schools.
Two high schools will see new Principals for next school year: River Ridge HS and Sequoyah HS, as both Principal Darrell Herring and Elliott Berman are retiring.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower announced Principal Herring’s retirement at the meeting, thanking him for outstanding service to CCSD for the last 11 years.
“Mr. Herring successfully opened a new high school for us with River Ridge, and that’s no easy feat,” Dr. Hightower said. “We know he’s made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of students.”
Mr. Herring will be succeeded at River Ridge HS by Dr. Kerry Martin, the current Principal at neighboring Mill Creek MS, past Principal at Arnold Mill ES and a past Teacher of the Year who brings 28 years of education experience to the role.
Mr. Berman, whose retirement was announced earlier this year, will be succeeded at Sequoyah HS by Robert Van Alstyne. Mr. Van Alstyne, with 19 years of experience, has served the last nine years as an Assistant Principal, and, in his current post at Etowah HS, earned the 7A State Athletic Director of the Year honor and twice won the regional award.
As a result of Dr. Martin’s move from Mill Creek MS, her Principal post there will be filled by Matthew May, currently Assistant Principal at Sequoyah High School. A past Teacher of the Year, Mr. May has 16 years of experience and has served the last two years in his role at Sequoyah HS.
Dr. Hightower on Thursday also announced the retirement of longtime educator Cathy Elliott, past Principal at Macedonia ES who currently serves as a staffing director in CCSD’s Human Resources division.
“Ms. Elliott has shared her exceptional talents with us for the last leg of her 36-year career in public education, and we are so appreciative of all that she has done to support our students, staff and schools,” he said.
Ms. Elliott will be succeeded by Amy Graham, currently the Principal at Johnston ES, who has worked for 19 years in education including as a classroom teacher and an Assistant Principal at Creekland MS and Teasley MS.
As a result of Ms. Graham’s move, her Principal post at Johnston ES will be filled by Laura Akers, an Assistant Principal at Little River ES and past Teacher of the Year at Liberty ES with 19 years of experience.
Victoria Thom, a 32-year educator, will advance from Assistant Principal of CCSD’s Preschool Centers to the Principal post with the retirement announced earlier this year of Principal Donna Adams. Ms. Thom’s long career has included teaching in CCSD classrooms and serving as an Assistant Principal at schools including Liberty ES and Mountain Road ES.
Kim Montalbano, Principal at Woodstock ES, will be moving to Indian Knoll ES following the retirement of Principal Dr. Ann Gazell announced earlier this year. Ms. Montalbano’s Principal post at Woodstock ES will be filled by Matthew Freedman, Principal of Park Street Elementary School in Marietta.
Dr. Hightower said Mr. Freedman’s impressive results at the 100% Title I school included significantly increasing student performance, improving student behavior, adding STEM education and engaging community partners… making him a “great catch” for CCSD and Woodstock ES.
The School Board next month will appoint Assistant Principals to vacancies created by some of these moves, as well as any other leadership roles still to be filled for next school year.
The long-awaited installation of artificial turf at all of CCSD’s high schools was unanimously approved by the School Board. The $4.9 Million contract with Sports Turf, Inc./AstroTurf will be funded using Education SPLOST revenues, as overwhelmingly approved by voters in the 2016 Ed SPLOST renewal. The installation will replace grass at five schools and outdated turf funded by community donations at Etowah High School. Through this installation, CCSD will avoid significant annual maintenance costs and will increase safety for players, while also evening the playing field for our student athletes in competitive divisions.
The School Board unanimously approved the sale of the CCSD Downtown Center (Historic Canton High School), the last building CCSD still owned in downtown Canton, to the City of Canton for $2.5 Million.
Dr. Hightower also presented a brief report on his Ad Hoc Safety and Security Committee, which was formed following the Sandy Hook school shooting and which he asked to begin meeting again following the Parkland tragedy last month.
The Committee is made up of CCSD and school leaders; the county’s sheriff, marshal, municipal police chiefs and additional leaders from local law enforcement; and parents representing each Innovation Zone who are graduates of CCSD’s VILLA parent academy. He has tasked the group with reviewing CCSD’s current safety and security levels and making recommendations to him, prior to the development of next year’s budget, for possible improvements.
School Board Vice Chair Mike Chapman said he appreciates Dr. Hightower’s responsiveness and involvement of local law enforcement leaders and parents.
“Our School District and this School Board will continue to be proactive and transparent in our response to safety and security concerns,” Mr. Chapman said, noting the District does this without any financial support from the State. “This is too important an issue for our community not to take care of on our own, even if the State is shirking its financial and ethical responsibility.”
The School Board also:
- Recognized Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy as a Georgia High-Progress Reward School;
- Recognized Sequoyah High School senior Victoria “Tori” Turk as recipient of Georgia Thespians’ 2018 Outstanding Student Achievement Award;
- Recognized Sequoyah High School Speech and Debate Team as 2018 National Speech and Debate Tournament qualifiers;
- Recognized 2017-18 STAR Students and STAR Teachers;
- Recognized CCSD students selected for All-State Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Reading Chorus;
- Recognized 2017-18 Middle School County Academic Bowl Team champions from Creekland Middle School;
- Recognized Woodstock Elementary School as a Common Sense Certified School for Digital Citizenship;
- Recognized Cherokee County School District Middle School Basketball Tournament Champions;
- Recognized State and Regional Champions from Creekview HS wrestling and competition cheer teams and Sequoyah HS swim team members;
- Recognized Cherokee County School District Library Media Specialists of the Year;
- Recognized School Board Members During School Board Member Appreciation Week;
- Approved the renewal of a Partnership Agreement with the United Way of Greater Atlanta;
- Adopted a resolution supporting the City of Woodstock’s annexation of the Woodstock MS/HS campus in order to provide services including inclement weather road clearing;
- Approved the School Board’s application for the Georgia School Boards Association’s (GSBA) Quality Board recognition;
- Approved the naming of School Board Member Robert Rechsteiner as delegate to GSBA’s Delegate Assembly;
- Approved monthly financial reports;
- Approved transferring the CCSD School Police Department’s K9 canine through an intergovernmental agreement to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and the sale of K9 program equipment to interested buyers;
- Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips and professiosnal development;
- Approved special lease agreements; and,
- Met in Executive Session to discuss student disciplinary matters.
Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, 2018