Cherokee County School Board Appoints New and Reassigned Assistant Principals and Administrators

Cherokee County School Board Appoints New and Reassigned Assistant Principals and Administrators

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, April 20, 2017, approved the appointment of new and reassigned assistant principals and other administrators for the 2017-18 school year.

The list of appointments is the final piece in the School District’s three-month process to fill leadership positions due to retirements, promotions and growth.

Dr. Hightower praised School Operations and Personnel Management staff for their diligence and dedication in completing the significant hiring and promotion effort. The group of new leaders, he said, is “simply phenomenal.”

The new and reassigned administrators approved Thursday are:

• Dr. Amanda Ruiz: Supervisor, Middle School/High School Curriculum
• Steven Payne: Coordinator Curriculum Support (Social Studies/Career, Technical and Agricultural Education)
• Joy Silk: Coordinator Curriculum Support (Digital Content)
• Angie Goff: Transportation Coordinator of Routing
• Lt. Jay Baker: Lieutenant, School Police Department
• Connie Henderson: Coordinator of Payroll
• Angela Greene: Assistant Principal, Arnold Mill ES
• Michelle Calkins: Assistant Principal, Boston ES
• Lauren Roach: Assistant Principal, Canton ES STEM Academy
• Rachel Wasserman: Assistant Principal, Carmel ES
• Susan Bruno: Assistant Principal, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy
• Kerry Estep: Assistant Principal, Hickory Flat ES
• Jennifer Landry: Assistant Principal, Indian Knoll ES
• Tammie Anderson: Assistant Principal, Knox ES
• Emily Spira: Assistant Principal, Knox ES
• Patricia Nay: Assistant Principal, Macedonia ES
• Yolanda Torres: Assistant Principal, Woodstock ES
• Leah Bleisath: Assistant Principal, Creekland MS
• Nicholas Zomer: Assistant Principal, Creekland MS
• Dr. Dianne Steinbeck: Assistant Principal, Dean Rusk MS
• Leigh Rogers: Assistant Principal, E.T. Booth MS
• Lawrence Gluckson: Assistant Principal, Freedom MS
• Dr. Lea Campos: Assistant Principal, Woodstock MS
• Charles Ingham: Assistant Principal, Cherokee HS
• Dr. Judy Wright: Assistant Principal, Cherokee HS
• Ken Nix: Assistant Principal, Etowah HS
• Cassandra Mathious: Assistant Principal, Etowah HS
• Stephanie Barber: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Stephanie Norris: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Mike Santoro: Assistant Principal, River Ridge HS
• Heather Phillips: Assistant Principal, Sequoyah HS
• Chris Bennett: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Dan Gagnon: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Nancy Henson: Assistant Principal, Woodstock HS
• Lori Etheridge: Teacher on Special Assignment, Mountain Road ES
• Nate Cline: Teacher on Special Assignment, R.M. Moore ES

During the meeting, the School Board also heard a positive report from Citigroup Global Markets, which was approved to issue and sell bonds for voter-approved Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) uses, and from Davenport & Co. financial consultants.

The presentation reported that CCSD’s recently improved credit rating and already strong reputation made for a successful bond sale, noting that the numerous interested buyers allowed for the interest rate to be lowered to 2.56% overall, while yielding $21.8 Million in funding for SPLOST projects.

The School Board also heard a presentation on a new type of school bus that has been successfully piloted this school year and will be proposed for expansion next school year.

The “Type A” bus, which is smaller and lower to the ground, will be used for CCSD’s special needs preschool children. The buses are equipped with seat belts, air-conditioning, a lower first step and all standard bus safety features.

“These are built like a bus and perform like a bus,” Transportation Director Jim Georges said, noting the “Type A” buses will be easier to drive and run on regular unleaded gas instead of diesel.

The proposed order of seven buses, which will be incorporated into the recommended budget presented to the School Board for review next month, will cost $423,143 – which is $224,876 less than the same purchase of traditional buses.

The School Board also:

• Announced CCSD’s observation of April as the Month of the Military Child and Friday, April 21, as the related Purple Up Day;

• Heard presentations from Student Delegates Kayla Brader of Woodstock HS and Meghan Hines of Etowah HS;

• During Public Participation, the Cherokee Chorale, a CCSD Partner, presented $500 grants to each of CCSD’s seven middle school chorus programs, as well as a gift to the family of the late E.T. Booth MS chorus teacher Kevin White;

• Recognized Creekview High School senior Austin Miles for achieving a perfect ACT score;

• Recognized E.T. Booth Middle School Media Specialist Amanda Graves as winner of the 2017 Georgia Library Media Association Intellectual Freedom Award;

• Recognized Clark Creek ES STEM Academy as 2017 Georgia winner of the Program Excellence Award Presented by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association;

• Recognized CCSD Counselors of the Year;

• Recognized CCSD 2017 Spelling Bee Winner Sharon Pradeep of Little River ES;

• Recognized 2017 Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl first-place District, Regional and Divisional Winners;

• Recognized CCSD Region and State Technology Fair Winners;

• Recognized Clark Creek ES STEM Academy’s BrickMasters, a FIRST Lego League Robotics Team, as winners of the Research Presentation Award at State Finals;

• Recognized Region and State athletic champions;

• Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;

• Approved out-of-state travel;

• Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;

• Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;

• Approved special lease agreements;

• Approved the surplus of a small parking lot adjacent to the former Building B; and,

• Met in executive session to review a real estate matter and litigation, but took no action upon returning to open session.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4, 2017; Strategic Work Session at 6 p.m.


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.”


Congratulations to Dr. Brian V. Hightower for a Successful First Year as Superintendent!

Congratulations to Dr. Brian V. Hightower on a successful first year as Superintendent of Schools for the Cherokee County School District!

Here’s a brief video to celebrate the occasion: