Superintendent of Schools Presents 2018 Game Changer Award to Woodstock HS Teacher!

Superintendent of Schools Presents 2018 Game Changer Award to Woodstock HS Teacher!

The crowd of colleagues rises to applaud Ms. Burke as she makes her way to the front of the auditorium.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower has surprised the third 2018 winner of his annual awards for instructional excellence!

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower honors Woodstock High School teacher Kelly Burke with a 2018 Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence.

Dr. Hightower presented a “Superintendent’s 2018 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Excellence to Woodstock High School Advanced Placement (AP) Physics teacher Kelly Burke during the school’s faculty meeting, which erupted in cheers and a standing ovation for the longtime and celebrated educator.

“You know her career, you know her history and how much she truly cares about her job and the kids,” Dr. Hightower said of Ms. Burke, who among her many honors, is a past Cherokee County School District Teacher of the Year and Top 10 Finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year and the current Cherokee County STAR Teacher.  “It takes a lot of commitment, dedication and smarts to do what Kelly does.”

The Instructional Excellence honor, which is awarded to a classroom teacher, is one of the four categories of the “Game Changer Awards” that Dr. Hightower began last school year presenting annually in the spring and which he describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.”

Ms. Burke, who is retiring at the end of May, shares her thoughts about her career teaching science at Woodstock HS.

The other categories are: Instructional Leadership, which recognizes a Principal or CCSD administrator and was presented last week to Avery ES Principal Dr. Lisa Turner; Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes an employee or community member and was presented last week to School Board Chair Kyla Cromer; and Instructional Support, which recognizes an employee with a support role and is still to be presented.

Ms. Burke, who is retiring at the end of the this school year, thanked her Woodstock High colleagues for their many years of support; she has taught at the school since it opened in 1996.

“It’s overwhelming!” she said of the surprise honor, which some of her family was brought in to witness.  “We have so many outstanding educators, K-12, in our system!  How do you choose just one for this?  I am deeply honored… it’s an indescribable feeling.”

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Dr. Hightower describes some of the qualities Ms. Burke exhibits as a leader in classroom instruction.

Ms. Burke’s husband, David, and daughter, Katie, were in on the surprise award; Katie captured the moment on FaceTime so her brother, Adam, could watch their mother be honored by the Superintendent of Schools.


Superintendent of Schools Presents Second 2018 Game Changer Award

Dr. Hightower presents Ms. Cromer with the 2018 Game Changer Award for Instructional Advocacy, as the audience rises for a standing ovation.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower on Thursday night surprised the second 2018 winner of his annual awards for instructional excellence!

Dr. Hightower presented a “Superintendent’s 2018 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Advocacy to School Board Chair Kyla Cromer during the Board’s regular meeting, which came to a halt as the audience rose for a standing ovation.

“She’s all in for public education,” Dr. Hightower said of Ms. Cromer, as her presented her with a special plaque and a bouquet of roses.

He praised Ms. Cromer, now in her fifth year on the School Board and her fourth year as its countywide-elected Chair, for treating the part-time role as a full-time passion. She not only leads Board meetings, but is a regular presence (and cheerleader) at CCSD and school events and celebrations, meets with Dr. Hightower and senior staff to stay informed of CCSD progress and education trends, advocates for CCSD and public education at the State level and is ever willing to listen to her community. A former classroom teacher and longtime PTA leader, Ms. Cromer is known and respected for her understanding of best instructional practices and support for continuous improvement of the teaching profession.

Ms. Cromer listens as Dr. Hightower praises her service.

“The kids, if they could see it all, would be amazed by her advocacy. She gives for them,” Dr. Hightower said. “We’re so proud of her leadership.”

Ms. Cromer won the Instructional Advocacy award, which can be earned by a CCSD employee of community member. It’s one of the four categories of the “Game Changer Awards” that Dr. Hightower began last school year presenting annually in the spring and which he describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.”

The other categories are: Instructional Leadership, which recognizes a Principal or CCSD administrator, and earlier this week was presented to Avery ES Principal Dr. Lisa Turner; Instructional Excellence for a classroom teacher; and Instructional Support for an employee with a support role.

Ms. Cromer, who said she was surprised and honored by the award, thanked CCSD’s students and employees for their dedication and successes and thanked her fellow School Board members for their support.

“I work with the best Board in the State of Georgia and maybe the nation,” Ms. Cromer said. “I’m proud to represent you.”

Learn more about the Game Changer Awards here.

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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.”