CCSD Names New Chief Academic Officer to Lead Educational Programs Division

CCSD Names New Chief Academic Officer to Lead Educational Programs Division

The Cherokee County School District today named a new Chief Academic Officer to lead its educational programs division beginning July 1.

The Superintendent’s recommendation, which requires School Board approval later this month, is to promote Dr. Nicole H. Holmes, a longtime educator and administrator currently serving as Director of School Operations overseeing CCSD’s elementary schools.

Dr. Nicole H. Holmes

“Dr. Holmes will bring to the role a deep understanding of best practices in classroom instruction and data analysis, as well as strong management, collaboration and communication skills,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “She is passionate about teaching and using results for continuous improvement, which is the perfect fit for a leader to guide this division, as it continues the important work now underway to implement Instructional Framework standards for our teachers, the Canvas learning management system and the planned introduction of new English language arts resources.”

The position, currently referred to as assistant superintendent but transitioning July 1 with other senior staff titles to a “chief” structure, currently is held by Susan McCarthy, who recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Dr. Holmes, who has 22 years of educational experience including 14 years in leadership, earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Spelman College followed by a master’s degree in the field from Brenau University.  She earned leadership and supervision certification from Jacksonville State University and her doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University.

After teaching in Atlanta and Cobb public schools, Dr. Holmes joined CCSD in 2002 as assistant principal of Bascomb Elementary School and continued in that role for three years.  She served as an administrator on special assignment in CCSD’s Office of School Operations for two years and then led Liberty Elementary School as its principal from 2007-2014, during which time the school won numerous awards such as the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principal’s School Bell Award and the SSTAGE State Award for its response to intervention program that assists students struggling academically.  In her current role as Director of School Operations, which she began in 2014, Dr. Holmes has achieved goals including redesigning the principal evaluation process, redefining the social worker program and creating a repertoire of best practices for school-based leaders.

Dr. Holmes has received numerous honors and special appointments during her career including being tapped for the Governor’s Education Advisory Board for Principals, winning the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Award and being named a Cherokee County “Rising Star Under 40.”

“As a leader, I believe I am organized, focused, dedicated and well-equipped as a collaborative decision-maker who continues to work to include the voice of students, staff and community to create a rigorous, nurturing and motivating environment for all students,” said Dr. Holmes, who is married with two children.  “I strongly believe that my skill set will ensure an effective operation and instructional efficiency of schools by providing support that is essential to increasing student achievement.”

CCSD Hosting Open House for Reviewing English Language Arts Instructional Resources Options

The Cherokee County School District is hosting an open house for stakeholders to review possible new English Language Arts instructional resources for Grades K-5.

The event, which is open to teachers, parents and other stakeholders, is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 15, in Room H21 at 1020 Keeter Road, Canton.

CCSD Educational Programs staff will be onsite to answer questions, and there will be evaluation and comment opportunities.

Resources on display will include:

Reading Writing Phonics
Guided Reading with Bookrooms and/or Classroom Libraries Units of Study—Lucy Calkins Fundations
Benchmark Advance Benchmark Advance X
Scholastic X X


CCSD Celebrating Read for the Record Day on Thursday, Oct. 27


Susan McCarthy, center, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs, Student Support, Accountability & Professional Development, celebrates the successful filming with Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy students in the classes of Beth Cornelison and Denise Cloer. Media Specialist Stephanie Gauthia, right, assisted with the project.

The Cherokee County School District is joining in the celebration of Read for the Record Day, a national event to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education and literacy, on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Each year, Jumpstart ( selects one children’s book it encourages classes and families nationwide to read together in an effort to break the world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day.  This year’s book, “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” by Julia Sarcone-Roach, is a classic tale of a bear’s epic journey and the mystery surrounding one delicious sandwich.


Susan McCarthy, CCSD’s Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs, Student Support, Accountability & Professional Development, reads to students for the video.

The School District has continued the tradition of preparing a “Reading Rainbow”-style video for teachers to considering using in their classrooms if they don’t have special events such as guest readers planned.  This year’s CCSD video features Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs, Student Support, Accountability & Professional Development Susan McCarthy reading “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” at Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy to the classes of Beth Cornelison and Denise Cloer.

The video project was made possible through the work of CCSD Facilitator for Enterprise Field Services Chris Saxon, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy Media Specialist Stephanie Gauthia and Penny Dempsey of CCSD’s Division of Public Information.


CCSD Facilitator for Enterprise Field Services Chris Saxon films Ms. McCarthy for the video.

CCSD to Host Parent Input Meetings on “Instructional Framework”

The Cherokee County School District is currently developing a comprehensive, consistent and systemic “Instructional Framework” plan for teaching and learning that is focused on establishing consistent, research-based expectations for teaching and learning, identifying the most effective instructional and assessment strategies to increase student achievement, as well as to support and sustain teacher effectiveness in the classroom.

The draft document can be reviewed here:  draft-instructional-framework

Opportunities for feedback on the “Instructional Framework” draft document  from CCSD’s parents and stakeholders have been scheduled for each CCSD Innovation Zone.  Parents and stakeholders are invited to attend any of the sessions listed below:

Instructional Framework Stakeholder Feedback Zone Meetings

Discussion/Feedback Facilitated by Susan McCarthy & Keith Bryant

Date Zone Location Time
Monday, October 10, 2016 Etowah Zone

Kathleen Chandler

(EIZ Lead Principal/host)

Etowah HS


6:00 p.m.
Monday, October 17, 2016 Woodstock Zone

Mark Smith

(WIZ Lead Principal/host)

Woodstock HS


6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Cherokee Zone

Dr. Susan Zinkil (host)

(CIZ Lead Principal/host)

Cherokee HS


7:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 20, 2016 River Ridge Zone

Dr. Kerry Martin

(RRIZ Lead Principal/host)

River Ridge HS


6:00 p.m.
Monday, October 24, 2016 Sequoyah Zone

Dr. Ann Gazell

(SIZ Lead Principal/host)


Dean Rusk MS


6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Creekview Zone

Karen Carl

(CIZ Lead Principal/host)

Creekview HS


6:00 p.m.