CCSD Honors Class of 2017 Valedictorians, Salutatorians at Scholar Recognition Banquet

CCSD Honors Class of 2017 Valedictorians, Salutatorians at Scholar Recognition Banquet

The Cherokee County School District’s Class of 2017 Valedictorians and Salutatorians are, from left to right, front row: Valedictorians Michelle McCord, Creekview HS; Julia Kochansky, Cherokee HS; Tej Patel, River Ridge HS; Isabelle Riddle, Sequoyah HS; Alex Andon, Woodstock HS; and Sindhu Manivannan, Etowah HS; back row: Salutatorians Jodi Dowis, Cherokee HS; Tiana Hom, River Ridge HS; Kat Massengale, Sequoyah HS; and AJ Cox, Woodstock HS. Not pictured: Salutatorians Grace Maavere, Creekview HS; and Tony Wineman, Etowah HS.

The Cherokee County School District and School Board honored the Class of 2017 Valedictorians and Salutatorians during the 17th Annual Scholar Recognition Banquet on Wednesday at Woodmont Golf & Country Club.

The evening was attended by the Scholars and their parents; the teacher each Scholar chose as the most influential in his or her education; CCSD’s high school Principals; the Superintendent of Schools and members of his senior staff; and the School Board.

“You made the necessary sacrifices and hard work to earn your dreams,” School Board Chair Kyla Cromer told the scholars during her remarks, adding that praise also is due to their parents who made sacrifices to support them.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower spoke of the fierce academic competition at the top of class in CCSD schools, noting that ranking “goes to third digit beyond the decimal.”

“We’re so proud of you,” Dr. Hightower said to the scholars. “We hope we challenged you, inspired you and loved you – and you knew it.”

Following a buffet dinner, the guests heard speeches by the Scholars and their favorite teachers. The students and teachers were congratulated by the Superintendent and School Board, and each student received an iPad, $50 gift card and plaque. Each teacher received a plaque and $100 gift card.

The dinner was made possible by a donation from Presenting Sponsor, LGE Community Credit Union, which additionally presented each student with an iPad cover and each teacher with a tumbler. Chris Leggett, CEO/President of LGE Community Credit Union, shared sponsor remarks during the program.

“You made a choice to do and be your best,” he said. “We celebrate the choices you made to be here tonight.”

The gifts of iPads and gift cards were made possible by donations from the following sponsors: Platinum: Curriculum Associates, Northside Hospital-Cherokee, Poole’s Insulation Company, Standard Office Systems (SOS) and Woodmont Golf & Country Club; Gold: Brown & Brown Insurance of Georgia, NOVA Engineering & Environmental, Seasonal Designs Landscaping and Traditions Turf Management, Inc.; and Silver: Eyemed, True Natural Gas and The Travel Store, Inc.

The Scholars and their honored teachers are:

Cherokee HS
Valedictorian: Julia Kochansky, who will study English and Classics at the University of Southern California
Teacher: Heather Smith, who taught Julia in AP U.S. History and Government

Salutatorian: Jodi Dowis, who will study mechanical engineering or aerospace science at Georgia Tech
Teacher: Justin Jones, who taught Jodi in AP English Literature and World Literature

Creekview HS
Valedictorian: Michelle McCord, who will study nuclear plasma radiological engineering at the University of Illinois and hopes to work with particle accelerators, possibly for the U.S. Department of Defense or Department of Energy
Teacher: Jason Hardin, who taught Michelle in AP Chemistry and homeroom

Salutatorian: Grace Maavere, who will study art at the Savannah College of Art & Design
Teacher: Linda Nicholson, who taught Grace in AP Studio Art

Etowah HS
Valedictorian: Sindhu Manivannan, who will study neuroscience at St. Louis University
Teacher: John Murnan, who taught Sindhu in AP Biology, Human Anatomy and Scientific Research at Etowah HS

Salutatorian: Tony Wineman, who will study aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech
Teacher: Dr. Brian Heglund, who taught Tony in AP Physics

River Ridge HS
Valedictorian: Tej Patel, who will study computer engineering at Georgia Tech and hopes to work in engineering for the automobile industry
Teacher: Terry Strassner, who taught Tej in AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics

Salutatorian: Tiana Hom, who will study computer science at Georgia Tech and hopes to work in robotics or computer animation
Teacher: Counselor Brittany Voltner, who was Tiana’s counselor for four years

Sequoyah HS
Valedictorian: Isabelle Riddle, who will study bio-chemistry and molecular biology at the University of Georgia and hopes to work as a pediatric oncologist with a focus on research
Teacher: Brian Carnes, who taught Isabelle in AP and Honors Chemistry

Salutatorian: Kat Massengale, who will study biology and Classics at Vanderbilt University and hopes to work in pediatrics
Teacher: Greg Ross, who taught Kat in four years of Latin including AP Latin

Woodstock HS
Valedictorian: Alex Andon, who will study engineering at Georgia Tech
Teacher: Kelly Burke, who taught Alex in three years of AP Physics

Salutatorian: AJ Cox, who will study environmental engineering at MIT and hopes to work in environmental law or policy
Teacher: Josh Sailers, who taught AJ in AP European History, Microeconomics and Macroeconomics

 


Superintendent of Schools Presents Four Inaugural “Game Changer Awards”

Category : CCSD

Superintendent of School Dr. Brian V. Hightower congratulates Dean Rusk Middle School teacher Heather Phillips as recipient of the “Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Excellence.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower has recognized the first class of recipients of an inaugural award he describes as his most important honor for Cherokee County School District employees.

The “Superintendent’s Game Changer Award” will honor four outstanding recipients annually, with one award each for the following categories: Instructional Leadership, to recognize a CCSD administrator; Instructional Excellence, to recognize a CCSD classroom teacher; Instructional Support, to recognize a CCSD employee with a support role; and Instructional Advocacy, to recognize a CCSD employee or community member.

“We are dedicated to continuous improvement of classroom instruction – teaching is our primary responsibility and what we’re called to do to serve our community,” Dr. Hightower said. “I strongly believe that recognizing excellence not only honors the very worthy recipients, but also inspires all of our team members by showing them who are the role models in their field they can look to as leaders, mentors and visionaries.”

Superintendent of School Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents the “Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Leadership to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs Susan McCarthy.

The inaugural 2017 awards were presented to:
Instructional Leadership: Susan McCarthy, CCSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs
Instructional Excellence: Heather Phillips, Dean Rusk Middle School teacher
Instructional Support: Sandi Adams, CCSD Technology Project Specialist
Instructional Advocacy: Lisa-Marie Haygood, longtime PTA volunteer and leader

Superintendent of School Dr. Brian V. Hightower congratulates CCSD Technology Project Specialist Sandi Adams as recipient of the “Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Support.

The surprise presentations were made in front of audiences of their peers, with Ms. McCarthy recognized at a school improvement leadership meeting; Ms. Phillips recognized at her school’s faculty meeting; Ms. Adams recognized at a CCSD Technology department meeting; and Ms. Haygood recognized at a School Board Meeting packed with parents and families. Live videos from the presentations were streamed on CCSD’s Facebook page, where they remain posted for the community to enjoy.

“We have top-notch educators and advocates throughout our community, so it wasn’t easy to select just four honorees,” Dr. Hightower said. “I look forward to presenting these awards every year and further encouraging our employees to rise up in our shared mission of ‘Educating the Emerging Generation.’”

Superintendent of School Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents the “Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Advocacy to longtime PTA volunteer and leader Lisa-Marie Haygood.

Each recipient received a bouquet and a rosewood plaque featuring a specially made medallion bearing CCSD’s logo, their name and the name of the award and recognition as “A Leader Among Leaders.”


CCSD Recognizes 10 Regional, 2 State Winners for Social Studies Fair

Ten Cherokee County School District projects submitted by students won “Best in Fair” at the Georgia Council for the Social Studies (GCSS) Northwest Regional Fair, with two going on to win at the State Fair!

Makenzie Bird

Emma Lambert

The School District held a district-level fair for which 104 projects were entered, with 32 placing first and advancing to Regionals. At Regionals, CCSD earned 10 of the 16 “Best in Fair” top prizes award. Those winners advanced to State, where Knox Elementary School fifth-grader Makenzie Bird and E.T. Booth Middle School eighth-grader Emma Lambert each won Best in Class in sociology/psychology – one for elementary schools and one for secondary schools!

They were recognized by the Superintendent of Schools and School Board this month, along with the District and Region winners, who are:

Daihanna Aragon, E.T. Booth MS, Sociology/Psychology
Ben Barchie and Nate Sardonia, Macedonia ES, Sociology/Psychology
Zoey Beasley, Woodstock MS, Sociology/Psychology – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Justin Bolsen and Cal Pace, Creekland MS, Geography
Lola Burdick, Keganne Keiger and Riley Stray, Sixes ES, Sociology/Psychology – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Katie Calloway and Daniella Molina, Bascomb ES, Anthropology
Ella Casteel and Abbey Farmer, Woodstock ES, History – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Emily Cranston, Ellie Draughon and Kristen Malencisk, Woodstock HS, Sociology/Psychology
Ella Cudabac, Neah Huguley and Abby Richardson, Johnston ES, Sociology/Psychology
Shane Dallas, River Ridge HS, History – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Jessica Dipita, Ella Adkins and Sharon Pradeep, Little River ES History
Sammy Hardison and Isaac Wolf, Knox ES, History
Noelle Harrington, Creekland MS, History
Rachel Hugenberg, Etowah HS, Anthropology
Brooks Johnson, Etowah HS, History
Avery Kmoch and Samantha Griffin, Woodstock ES, Sociology/Psychology
Julia Litrel, Woodstock HS, History – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Dellaina McCarty, Arnold Mill ES, Anthropology
Angelica Millen, River Ridge HS History
Stevie O’Connell, Arnold Mill ES, History – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Simran Patel, Mill Creek MS, Political Science
Vandy Reddish, Arnold Mill ES, History
Maximus Reynolds, Macedonia ES, Economics
Lexie-Anne Rodkey, Freedom MS, Economics
Chandler Stevenson, Freedom MS, History
Isabella Tedesco, Dean Rusk MS, Economics
Brittany Wallace, Sequoyah HS, Sociology/Psychology – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Benjamin Willett, E.T. Booth MS, Economics – “Best in Fair” at Regional
Milan Yadav, Freedom MS, History
Ian Zieg, Avery ES, History


CCSD Announces Class of 2017 Valedictorians, Salutatorians

Class of 2017 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

Congratulations to the Valedictorians and Salutatorians for the Cherokee County School District’s Class of 2017! These students and their parents will be honored by the School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the 17th Annual Scholar Recognition Banquet on Wednesday at Woodmont Golf & Country Club. Each student also is invited to select a favorite teacher, and these teachers are honored at the Banquet as well.

Cherokee HS
Valedictorian Julia Kochansky
Salutatorian Jodi Dowis

Creekview HS
Valedictorian Michelle McCord
Salutatorian Grace Maavere

Etowah HS
Valedictorian Sindhu Manivannan
Salutatorian Tony Wineman

River Ridge HS
Valedictorian Tej Patel
Salutatorian Tiana Hom

Sequoyah HS
Valedictorian Isabelle Riddle
Salutatorian Kat Massengale

Woodstock HS
Valedictorian Alex Andon
Salutatorian AJ Cox


CCSD Teachers Honored with Golden Apple Awards

Honorees are, from left to right, front row: Debby Amoss, Creekland MS; Cassie Fainter, Teasley MS; David Wilkins, Polaris Evening Program; Amy Dwyer, Woodstock ES; scholarship recipient Camryn Goins of River Ridge HS; Georgia Branson, Little River ES; Curtis Durham, Tippens Educational Center; back row: Kirsten Hargadon, Macedonia ES; Jessica Jones, Sixes ES; Lauren Garcia, Johnston Preschool Center; Katie Freeman, River Ridge HS; Cheryl Morgan, ACE Academy; Georgia Heard, Woodstock MS; Kellie Mason, Woodstock HS; and Bonnie Smith, Avery ES.

Fourteen Cherokee County School District teachers have been honored with Golden Apple Awards!

The Gamma Eta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International presents the awards annually to teachers from select CCSD schools, which are rotated every year. Each school in that year’s group is invited to nominate a teacher for recognition based upon designated criteria; honorees are selected by their peers.

This year’s honorees are: Cheryl Morgan, ACE Academy; Bonnie Smith, Avery ES; Debby Amoss, Creekland MS; Lauren Garcia, Johnston Preschool Center; Georgia Branson, Little River ES; Kirsten Hargadon, Macedonia ES; David Wilkins, Polaris Evening Program; Katie Freeman, River Ridge HS; Jessica Jones, Sixes ES; Cassie Fainter, Teasley MS; Curtis Durham, Tippens Educational Center; Amy Dwyer, Woodstock ES; Kellie Mason, Woodstock HS; and Georgia Heard, Woodstock MS.

Additionally, the society, which is dedicated to promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education, presents a scholarship annually to a graduating CCSD high school senior who has committed to pursuing a degree in education. This year’s recipient is Camryn Goins from River Ridge HS, who will attend University of North Georgia to pursue a dual bachelor’s degree in early childhood and special education.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower provided closing remarks at the awards ceremony and praised the honorees for their contributions to CCSD and public education.

 


CCSD Recognizes Young Georgia Authors Regional & State Winners

Category : CCSD

Imani Johnson

Six Cherokee County School District students have earned regional recognition for their writing, with two earning first-place at the State level!

The Young Georgia Authors writing competition, sponsored by the Georgia Council of Teachers of English with support from the Georgia Department of Education, encourages students in grades kindergarten through 12th to develop enthusiasm for and expertise in their writing and recognizes student writings success.

More than 150 school-level winners from throughout CCSD competed at the District level, at which a first-place winner was selected for each grade.

Alicia Mazzura

Those 13 winners advanced to regional competition, where six students won first-place. Two of those entries then won first-place at the State competition: River Ridge High School ninth-grader Alicia Mazzura and senior Imani Johnson!

The 13 District winners, including the Region and State champions, will be recognized by the School Board and Superintendent at tonight’s School Board meeting.

They are:
Kindergarten: Zavier Reinhart, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy for “The Littl Scool Bus” Grade 1: Chloe Okoth, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy for “My Wiggly Tooth”
Grade 2: Lucy Pagano, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy for “Oscar”
Grade 3: Samantha Moore, Bascomb ES for “Forest Folk”
Grade 4: Jacob Spilker, Woodstock ES for “The Day I Turned Into A Dog” – also First-place, Region
Grade 5: Jared Perry, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy for “Attacked At Sea”
Grade 6: Sydney Crowe, Creekland MS for “Ideas” – also First-place, Region
Grade 7: Eden Price, Woodstock MS for “In the Rain” – also First-place, Region
Grade 8: Mary Grace Chandler, Mill Creek MS for “The Burning of Westly Oak”
Grade 9: Alicia Mazzura, River Ridge HS for “Do Not Tell Me Who To Be” – also First-place, Region and State
Grade 10: Rolando Lopez, Cherokee HS for “Fernando” — also First-place, Region
Grade 11: Nadia Willis, ACE Academy for “First Flight”
Grade 12: Imani Johnson, River Ridge HS for “America What Time Is It?” – also First-place, Region and State


CCSD High Schools All Named to Washington Post’s “Most Challenging” List

America's Most Challenging High Schools logo

All six Cherokee County School District high schools have been named to the Washington Post’s “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list!

Only 12 percent of the approximately 22,000 U.S. public high schools managed to earn placement in the rankings, and all of CCSD’s high schools ranked higher this year than in 2016.

“We set high expectations for teaching and learning in our schools, and our teachers and students rise to that challenge,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re honored to be recognized for challenging our high school students as we prepare them for college and career success. Thank you to all of our employees, parents, volunteers, partners and our outstanding students for yet another mark of distinction for our School District!”

The list ranks schools through an index formula that includes the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year.


Three CCSD Principals Retiring, Receptions Planned

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, right, recognizes retiring Principals, from left to right, Dr. Keith Ingram of Ball Ground ES STEM Academy, Dr. Deborah Wiseman of Creekland MS and Cindy Cooper of Dean Rusk MS.

Three Cherokee County School District Principals are retiring, and receptions are planned for the community to honor them.

Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy Dr. Keith Ingram, Creekland Middle School Principal Dr. Deborah Wiseman and Dean Rusk Middle School Principal Cindy Cooper all are retiring at the end of this school year after long and successful careers in education.

The retiring leaders were recognized by the School Board, Superintendent of Schools, senior staff and their fellow Principals during a recent lunch at which they received plaques of appreciation.

Each school will host a retirement reception that is open to the community:

Ms. Cooper: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 15, at Dean Rusk MS

Dr. Wiseman: 3:45 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at Creekland MS

Dr. Ingram: 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 19, at Ball Ground ES STEM Academy


Superintendent of Schools Presents First of His Inaugural “Game Changer Awards”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs Susan McCarthy with the first of his inaugural ‘Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Awards.’ She was specifically recognized for Instructional Leadership.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower today presented the first of his inaugural awards for instructional excellence!

The surprise presentation of a “Superintendent’s 2017 Game Changer Award” was made to Assistant Superintendent of Educational Programs Susan McCarthy before a room full of CCSD leaders.

Ms. McCarthy was recognized for Instructional Leadership – one of the four categories of the new “Game Changer Awards” to be presented annually. The other categories, for which one award each will be presented later this month, will recognize a classroom teacher for Instructional Excellence, an employee with a support role for Instructional Support and an employee or community member for Instructional Advocacy.

Ms. McCarthy is surprised by the award, which she said humbled and honored her.

“She truly has been a leader for us,” Dr. Hightower said, noting the plaque, in part, reads: “A leader among leaders.” “This is not an award because she’s an assistant superintendent; this is an award because of who she is as an educator.”

Dr. Hightower in his presentation cited Ms. McCarthy’s stellar record as a classroom teacher, where she was recognized as a Teacher of the Year, and as a school administrator and district leader.

Her instructional leadership successes in the past year alone have included preparing for and guiding the successful external AdvancED accreditation team visit and developing and implementing the multi-year Instructional Framework plan for teaching and assessment standards and Professional Learning Communities for teachers to share best instructional practices.

Ms. McCarthy was surprised, humbled and honored by the presentation.

“It’s an extreme honor to receive this from Dr. Hightower… because of the opportunity you afforded me to be in this position,” she said, praising the superintendent for his support of instructional excellence. “This will be a pinnacle moment in my life, not just my career.”

Ms. McCarthy, who is retiring at the end of the school year, also reflected upon the idea that you should strive to leave an organization better than when you joined it.

“If the message,” of this award, she said, “is that the organization is better than when I started, that’s all I could ever ask for.”

Dr. Hightower congratulates Ms. McCarthy upon the award, citing her outstanding career in instruction, with accomplishments in the past year alone including the successful AdvancED reaccreditation review and development of Instructional Framework standards and Professional Learning Communities.


14 CCSD Projects Win at Regional Science Fair, One Wins Best in State!

Category : CCSD

Fourteen Cherokee County School District projects earned first-place at Regionals and were entered into the 69th Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, with one winning first-place State honors!

Krystl Wood

Woodstock High School senior Krystl Wood won First Honors and Best in Category, Senior Division in the Chemistry category at the State fair!

Students also received special awards and scholarships from partners including Cobb EMC, Gas South and the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority.  The students were recognized this month by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools.

The Regional First Honors winners are (State honors and other awards also noted below):
Jackson Baker, Teasley MS, Energy: Physical
Julia Boll, River Ridge HS, Animal Sciences; GSEF Senior Division Second Honors
Irene Chen, River Ridge HS, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
Briana Delvasto, Woodstock HS: Biomedical and Health Sciences; GSEF Senior Division Second Honors and UGA Graduate-Professional Student Association Award
Evan Fistel, Dean Rusk MS, Robotics and Intelligent Machines; GSEF Junior Division Second Honors and Naval Science Award – Junior Division
Lindsey Graham, Woodstock HS, Plant Sciences; GSEF Senior Division Third Honors
Eva Hansen, Woodstock HS, Plant Sciences
Dylan Herrick, Mill Creek MS, Physics & Astronomy
Kali Holierhoek, Teasley MS, Chemistry; GSEF Junior Division Third Honors – Alternate
Layne Johnson, Teasley MS, Chemistry; GSEF Junior Division Third Honors –
Alternate
Ramsha Khan, Woodstock HS, Microbiology; GSEF Senior Division Third Honors and Stockholm Junior Water Prize Regional Award
Emma Osborne, Woodstock HS, Cellular & Molecular Biology; GSEF Senior Division Fourth Honors
Grady Port, Mill Creek MS, Physics & Astronomy
Taylor Powell, Etowah HS, Biomedical Engineering
Anna Rives, Woodstock HS, Environmental Engineering; GSEF Senior Division Fourth Honors
Ascher Shostak, E.T. Booth MS, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Emily Voigt, Sequoyah HS, Chemistry
Krystl Wood, Woodstock HS, Chemistry; GSEF Senior Division First Honors and GSEF Best in Category Chemistry Senior Division
Gwenevere Wyre, Etowah HS, Behavioral & Social Sciences; GSEF Senior Division Second Honors

Georgia Science and Engineering Fair logo