Indian Knoll ES Media Specialist Wins State Honor for 2018

Indian Knoll ES Media Specialist Wins State Honor for 2018

UPDATE 6/11/2018: CCSD Media Specialist of the Year Jennifer Lewis has been named the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year!  The surprise presentation was made today at the Georgia Library Media Association’s Summer Institute in Peachtree City.  This is the second year in a row that the state winner is a Cherokee County School District media specialist, following Cherokee High School’s Anne Nechvatal being named the recipient in 2017.

UPDATE 4/10/18…  Ms. Lewis has been named the North Central Georgia Regional Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2018!  She now is in the running for the Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year Award.  The state winner will be announced at the GLMA Summer Institute, June 11-12 in Peachtree City.  All regional winners will also be honored at the conference opening ceremony.

A video about the award presentation can be seen on the CCSD YouTube Channel at

Indian Knoll ES Media Specialist Jennifer Lewis sees her job as one of collaboration, exploration and revelation.  Each day the media center is a busy hive of activity, whether she is working with teachers at her school to extend classroom lessons into the media center, setting up Skype sessions to take children on virtual field trips to Alaska, or producing the morning newscast with students.  Ms. Lewis leads the Firebird Book Club, assists with the Techno Wizards club, and she constantly looks for new topics and resources to engage students’ interests—whether it’s biographies on professional wrestlers or technology-focused resources like Osmo kits.  As a personal goal, she strives to learn all the students by name so that she can recommend the perfect title for their next reading adventure.

Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Superintendent of Schools, surprises Indian Knoll Elementary School’s Jennifer Lewis with the news that she is the CCSD Media Specialist of the Year.

Ms. Lewis’ approach to managing the school media center as a hub of learning earned her the title of CCSD’s 2018 Media Specialist of the Year.   She was surprised with the announcement at a faculty meeting on Tuesday, March 6, by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Deputy Superintendent Trey Olson and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole Holmes.

Dr. Hightower notes the importance of Ms. Lewis having started as a classroom teacher, giving her an insight into what teachers need from their media center.

“We are so, so proud of Jennifer; she is such an impressive educator,” said Dr. Hightower.  “People like Jennifer challenge me to the core. Kids deserve your A-game, they deserve the teacher’s A-game, and they deserve my A-game. It fills my heart to know that we’ve got people like Jennifer out there working hard for public education.”

“We have such an amazing group of hard working Media Specialists; I’m honored to represent them,” said Ms. Lewis. “The kids are the best part of my job, and I love helping them find books that they enjoy reading, and I love teaching them things about new technology that they didn’t know. I love the combination of literature and technology.”

Indian Knoll ES Principal Dr. Ann Gazell said Ms. Lewis has been a stellar addition to the school staff and a source of support and inspiration.

“When Jennifer came in to interview, she walked in with a plan and a purpose of what her vision was for our media center,” said Dr. Gazell. “It was a no-brainer to hire her. She has never, ever let me down.”

Jason Blakey, right, congratulated Ms. Lewis on behalf of Credit Union of Georgia, which sponsored the award.

The Indian Knoll ES staff gives Jennifer Lewis a standing ovation in recognition of her selection as Media Specialist of the Year.

As the CCSD Media Specialist of the Year, Ms. Lewis received a plaque, a Kindle and a celebratory cake, compliments of sponsor Credit Union of Georgia.  Ms. Lewis was also presented flowers by her husband, Mark, and son, Caleb, (their daughter, Katherine, was competing at a high school tennis match and could not attend), and her parents, Theresa and Gary Wallpe.

Dr. Ann Gazell, Principal of Indian Knoll ES, shares a story about when she hired Ms. Lewis.

From left, Dr. Ann Gazell, Principal of Indian Knoll ES; Ms. Lewis’ parents Gary and Theresa Wallpe; Caleb Lewis; Mark Lewis; Jennifer Lewis; and Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower.

Ms. Lewis will represent CCSD in the State Media Specialist of the Year competition.

Hickory Flat ES Wins CCSD Elementary School Academic Bowl!

Hickory Flat ES team members Brooks Darling, Alessandro Mathews, Aiden Ives, Max Swain, Connor Craig, Lucas Ardelean, Ben Koster celebrate with Coaches Linda Warner, left, and Sonia Earls; Dr. Keith Bryant, CCSD Executive Director Curriculum and Instruction; and Principal Whitney Nolan, far right.

Hickory Flat Elementary School is the winner of CCSD’s Elementary School Academic Bowl and will be recognized by the School Board next week!

CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction sponsors the countywide bowl, which provides elementary schools the opportunity for head-to-head competition by answering questions from areas of knowledge including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, sports and popular culture. The matches feature a blend of individual competition and team collaboration while reinforcing classroom lessons and encouraging players to go beyond their assignments to master other areas as well.

The winning team from Hickory Flat Elementary School is made up of Lucas Ardelean, Connor Craig, Brooks Darling, Aiden Ives, Ben Koster, Alessandro Mathews and Max Swain, coached by teachers Sonia Earls and Linda Warner. The team and its coaches will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the School Board’s May 3 meeting.

The runner-up was Indian Knoll Elementary School, with a team of Tommy Anderson, Luke Barber, Hayden Eubanks, Anjali Gavalas, Isabel Harper, Alaina King, Parker McKie, Madison Newport, Riley O’Neill and Robbie Raymer, coached by teachers Terri Harris and Chrissy Snelson.


Indian Knoll ES team members Riley O’Neill, Alaina King, Anjali Gavalas, Parker McKie, Luke Barber, Tommy Anderson, Madison Newport, Isabel Harper, Hayden Eubanks and Robbie Raymer celebrate with Coaches Terri Harris, left, and Chrissy Snelson; Dr. Keith Bryant, CCSD Executive Director Curriculum and Instruction; and Principal Dr. Ann Gazell, far right.