CCSD Hosts Reception for New Leaders, School Board

CCSD Hosts Reception for New Leaders, School Board

School Board member Robert “Rick Steiner” Rechsteiner, left, shares a laugh with Robert “Bob” Van Alstyne and his son, Robert Jr. Mr. Van Alstyne, currently an Assistant Principal at Etowah High School, has been appointed to serve as Principal of Sequoyah High School next school year.

The Cherokee County School District recently hosted a New Leaders Reception for the School Board to meet the educators recommended by the Superintendent of Schools for leadership roles including Principal posts.

CHOA logoThe reception, which was sponsored by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a CCSD Partner, gave School Board members the chance to meet and talk with the leaders before voting to approve their new roles for next school year.

The new leaders and their families enjoyed a warm welcome, refreshments and the gift of a journal from Children’s Healthcare. This is the first reception of its kind for CCSD, and a second event will be hosted next month for the School Board to meet additional new leaders including those recommended for Assistant Principal posts.

From left to right, Deputy Superintendent Trey Olson, School Board Vice Chair Mike Chapman, School Board Member Patsy Jordan and Matthew May enjoy the reception together. Mr. May, currently an Assistant Principal at Sequoyah High School, has been appointed to serve as Principal of Mill Creek Middle School next school year.

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, left, gets to know Laura Akers during the event. Ms. Akers, currently an Assistant Principal at Little River Elementary School, has been appointed to serve as Principal of Johnston Elementary School next school year.

Heroes Wanted: CCSD Seeking Teachers, Bus Drivers, School Nutrition Workers

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Category : CCSD

Heroes Wanted photo collage

Heroes Wanted*: Seeking more awesome people who care about kids and public education to join the Cherokee County School District as teachers, support staff, bus drivers and school nutrition workers for the upcoming school year. Must love: competitive compensation packages (State Heath Benefit Plan! Teachers Retirement System! And much more!); being part of a growing organization (eighth-largest school system in Georgia); serving an incredible purpose (Educating the Emerging Generation); and working alongside the wonderful colleagues, students, partners and volunteers who make up the #CCSDfam.

*Capes provided.

Apply now:


CCSD Georgia Lottery PreK Classes Enrollment Begins April 30!

Category : CCSD

Bright from the Start logoOpen enrollment for the Cherokee County School District’s Georgia Lottery Pre-K Classes program begins April 30!

Classes, for which enrollment is limited, will be offered at: Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts AcademyR.M. Moore ES and Johnston ES Preschool Center.

Parents can apply between 8 and 11 a.m. on Mondays through Fridays from Monday, April 30, through Friday, May 11, at the participating schools as noted above.  Names will be drawn at 3 p.m. on May 16 to fill available spaces.

Who can apply?

Students who are 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2018 are eligible to enroll in GA Lottery Pre-K.  Out-of-attendance zone students will be admitted only after all 4-year-olds who live within the school attendance area and applied have been enrolled.

What to bring to enrollment?

Proof of Date of Birth: Certified Copy of Birth Certificate.  A certified copy of the student’s birth certificate, certified hospital issued birth record or birth certificate; a passport, an adoption record; a religious record signed by an authorized religious official; or, If none of these evidences can be produced, an affidavit of age sworn to by the parent/legal guardian accompanied by a certificate of age signed by a licensed, practicing physician.  The certificate completed by the physician must verify that a physical examination has occurred, and that the physician believes the age indicated on the affidavit is substantially correct.

Proof of Immunization and Health Screening: Certificate of Immunization (DPH Form 3231).  This form must be obtained from the Public Health Department or your Physician. Note:  Parents/legal guardians who are seeking a religious waiver from the State immunization requirement must request a waiver form from the appropriate school staff.

Certificate of Vision, Hearing, Dental, and Nutrition Screening (DPH Form 3300).  This form must be obtained from the Public Health Department or your Physician.

Proof of Social Security Number: Official copy of child’s Social Security card or a signed waiver.

Proof of Parent/Guardianship: Provide a picture ID at the time of enrollment.  The name on the ID should match the name on the documentation being provided for enrollment.

Proof of Residency:

For Parents/Legal Guardians Who Own Their Residence – One Item:  a current residential property tax statement (if there is no tax bill, then the purchase/closing information for the residence can be used). The record must include the name of the parent/legal guardian.

For Parents/Legal Guardians Who Are Renting a Residence – Two Items: (1) a lease or rental agreement consisting of the written evidence that the agreement is valid; and (2) a District-designated affidavit signed by the property owner which will allow for appropriate verification of residency.

For Parents/Legal Guardians Who Are Occupying Another Person’s Home – Two Items: (1) a District-designated affidavit signed by the parent/legal guardian;      and         (2) a District-designated affidavit signed by the property owners.


Please call the front office of the school where you plan to enroll.

Sports Physicals Offered at CCSD High Schools This Spring

Category : CCSD

Each of CCSD’s six high schools will offer sports physicals on site this spring at a cost of $20.  Payment is cash only.  Students can attend at ANY location, they do not have to go to the event at their school.  Dates are April 14, April 21 and May 5.  Times vary.  See attached for details on each location.  These events are sponsored by Northside Cherokee Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Northside Family Medicine & Urgent Care, and Perimeter North Medical Associates.  Physical forms may be downloaded from the Athletics website at

Cherokee HS: April 21, 9-11 am

Creekview HS: April 21, 1-3 pm

Etowah HS: April 14, 1-3 pm

River Ridge HS:  April 14, 9-11:30 am

Sequoyah HS:  May 5, 1-3 pm

Woodstock HS: May 5, 9-11:30 am

CCSD High School Sports Physicals April 14_April 21_ May 5 $20

CCSD Announces High School 2018 Summer School Options

Save the Dates:  June 11-29, 2018

Credit Recovery

Virtual Credit Recovery classes will held at each high school.

Face-to-Face Credit Recovery (Teacher-Taught) will be held at Etowah HS at Etowah East.  A sufficient demand must be shown in order for a Face-to Face course to be held.

Cost of each course will be $200.  Early Registration will be held in May in the counselor’s office at each high school for the following courses:

Morning Sessions: 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM Afternoon Sessions: 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM Course Title Virtual Course Face-to-Face Course 9th Literature/Comp A X X 10th World Literature/Comp A X X 11th American Literature/Comp A X X 12th English Literature/Comp A X X Physical Science A GPS/GSE X X Biology A GPS/GSE X X Chemistry A GPS/GSE X X Environmental Science A GPS/GSE X X Earth Systems A GPS/GSE X X Personal Fitness X X GSE Foundations of Algebra A X X GSE Algebra I A X X GSE Analytic Geometry A X X GSE Geometry A X X GSE Algebra II A X X GSE Pre-Calculus A X X Adv Math Decision Making A X X Math of Finance A X X Statistical Reasoning A X X U. S. History A X Economics X World History A X Course Title Virtual Course Face-to-Face Course 9th Literature/Comp B X X 10th World Literature/Comp B X X 11th American Literature/Comp B X X 12th English Literature/Comp B X X Physical Science B GPS/GSE X X Biology B GPS/GSE X X Chemistry B GPS/GSE X X Environmental Science B GPS/GSE X X Earth Systems B GPS/GSE X X Health X X GSE Foundations of Algebra B X X GSE Algebra I B X X GSE Analytic Geometry B X X GSE Geometry B X X GSE Algebra II B X X GSE Pre-Calculus B X X Adv Math Decision Making B X X Math of Finance B X X Statistical Reasoning B X X U. S. History B X U. S. Government X World History B X

Initial Credit for Personal Fitness and Health

Cherokee County School District will offer an opportunity for rising ninth-graders to take Personal Fitness (morning session) and/or Health (afternoon session) at two locations:  Cherokee HS (for Cherokee, Creekview and Sequoyah students) and Etowah HS at Etowah East (for Etowah, River Ridge and Woodstock students).  High School students still needing to take these courses are also eligible to register. Cost of each course will be $200.  Early Registration will be in May at each middle school.

Summer Bridge

High schools will be working with middle schools to invite select, at-risk rising Grade 9 students to attend Summer Bridge which is June 11-29 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at each high school.  There is no cost for the program.  Although no course credit is awarded for participation, the program allows students to preview academic content, focus on study skills, learn to navigate the high school campus and build relationships with fellow students and high school staff.  The program resembles a camp atmosphere whose goal is to prepare students for a smooth and successful transition to high school.  No transportation is provided.

Watch for more detailed Summer School registration information to be released in mid-April.

CCSD Publishes Annual Report of District Progress

Front cover of CCSD’s Annual Report of District Progress

The Cherokee County School District has published its Annual Report of District Progress, which offers the community a snapshot of successes over the past year.

“We are focused on accountability and transparency in our operations, and this report is another way we show our community how we’re delivering on the promises of our Strategic Plan,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “The Annual Report provides important information in an easy-read format so our community can see the return on its investment: more and better prepared graduates headed to college and careers.”

This year’s Annual Report design puts those graduates front and center, with a “report card” for the Class of 2017 on the front cover. The four-page publication, which is posted online here, also highlights CCSD’s outstanding performance above State and National levels on various performance- and survey-based metrics.

“We appreciate the leadership of our School Board and the support of our community in fulfilling our mission of ‘Educating the Emerging Generation,’” Dr. Hightower said. “We could not achieve this level of success without everyone working together – from students and their families to our employees to our partners and volunteers — and we are very grateful to all of you.”

WHS Principal Honored by Georgia Library Media Association

Category : CCSD

Woodstock High School Principal Mark Smith’s strong support for his media center and its programs is readily evident, whether he is cheering on the Reading Bowl team, tweeting about media center activities, or even spending 10 hours on the floor with a wrench, assembling new library tables in time for the first day of school. His dedication to his school’s media center recently earned Mr. Smith the Georgia Library Media Association’s Distinguished Administrator of the Year award. He was surprised with the award by students, administrators, media specialists and his family in, where else, the Woodstock HS media center on March 9.

photo of Mark Smith with Media Specialists Kimberly George, left, and Jennifer Cogdill, right.

Mark Smith with Media Specialists Kimberly George, left, and Jennifer Cogdill, right.

Media Specialists Jennifer Cogdill and Kimberly George nominated Mr. Smith for the award, the first one ever given by the GLMA.


“When we think of moral support, we envision Mr. Smith. There is no other administrator who shows his support for media specialists with such veracity every single day,” they wrote. “He continually asks us, ‘What can I do for you?’ and ‘What do you need from me?’ in order to help us progress and advance our media center into a better place for students.”


Ms. Cogdill and Ms. George noted Mr. Smith’s support of their updates and changes to the media center in the last three years as they have changed the space physically and programmatically.


“Our school library is not the traditional library in which all is quiet with the focus on books,” they wrote in his nomination letter. “Mr. Smith is a supporter of this nontraditional library where we collaborate, we building instructional and community partnerships, we encourage students to create and we think aloud.”

photo of Amanda Graves at lecturn

Amanda Graves, media specialist at E.T. Booth MS and chair of the GLMA committee, addresses the crowd of students, administrators, family and media specialists.

Mr. Smith was also surprised at the award presentation by his wife, Katie, and sons Noah and Robert. The celebration included remarks by GLMA officers, presentation of an etched glass award, followed by refreshments.

From left, Holly Frilot, Coordinator of Grants and Awards for GLMA, Principal Mark Smith, and Amanda Graves, Chair of the Distinguished School Administrator Award committee.

Mark Smith, center, with his sons, Robert and Noah, and wife Katie.

Mr. Smith’s reaction upon seeing his celebratory decorations.

Severe Weather Alert: Activities That Begin After 6 pm Are Cancelled for Monday Evening

Category : CCSD

On behalf of the Superintendent, be advised that due to the National Weather Service’s inclusion of Cherokee County into the Enhanced Risk Zone for severe weather Monday evening, CCSD will cancel all after-school activities, practices and programs that begin after 6:00 p.m. today (3/19/18).

Board Briefs: School Board Approves New Principals, Turf Installation

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Category : Board Briefs | CCSD

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.”

photo of Kerry Martin

Dr. Kerry Martin, River Ridge HS Principal for 2018-19

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.

Photo of Bob Van Alstyne

Robert Van Alstyne, Principal of Sequoyah HS for 2018-19

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.

photo of Matthew May

Matthew May, Principal of Mill Creek MS for 2018-19

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.

photo of amy graham

Amy Graham, Staffing Director

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.

photo of Laura Akers

Laura Akers, Principal of Johnston ES for 2018-19

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.

photo of Victoria Thom

Victoria Thom, Principal of CCSD Preschool Centers.

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.

photo of matt freedman

Matt Freedman, Principal of Woodstock ES for 2018-19.

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

CCSD Offers Agency Fair March 20 for Families of Students with Disabilities

Category : CCSD

CCSD’s Special Education Department will host an Agency Fair March 20 for families seeking resources for students with disabilities (SWD).  See the flyer here. The Agency Fair will be from 2:30 pm to 5 pm at the Cherokee County South Annex, located at 7545 Main Street, Building 200, Woodstock.  More than three dozen companies and agencies are typically present, offering resources from preschool to post secondary options.

At 4 pm, Kim Linek, Disability Specialist for Georgia Highlands College, will be the featured speaker.

For more information, please contact Debby Carty‐Campbell: debby.carty‐ 770.721.8523