Board Briefs: School Board Appoints New School Leaders, Mill Creek MS Classroom Addition

Board Briefs: School Board Appoints New School Leaders, Mill Creek MS Classroom Addition

Valerie Lowery

The School Board on Thursday, April 19, 2018, approved the appointment of new School District and school leaders for next school year and a voter-supported classroom addition at Mill Creek Middle School.

After approving Principal appointments last month, the School Board moved on to naming Assistant Principals to vacancies created by some of these moves, as well as any other leadership roles still to be filled for next school year.

“We’re very proud of all these leaders – those who’ve grown with us, stars we’ve stolen from other school districts and those who’ve left us and who we stole back,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said as he introduced the new leaders, noting all of the promoted leaders from within CCSD have completed his Superintendent’s Leadership Academy development program.  “We try to give lots of experiences to our teacher-leaders to get them ready to be Assistant Principals.”

LaToya Gray

One Principal appointment was on the agenda, as a result of Boston Elementary School Principal Izell McGruder moving into a new role as an administrator in the Office of Curriculum & Instruction overseeing English for Speakers of Other Languages programs.

His post at Boston ES will be filled by Valerie Lowery, who is an Assistant Principal at Canton ES STEM Academy.  She has 21 years of experience as a teacher, media specialist, academic coach and administrator — all with CCSD, where she also attended school herself as a child before earning her bachelor, master and specialist degrees.

The School Board also appointed LaToya Gray as supervisor for special education.  Currently Principal of Summit Hills ES in Fulton County, Ms. Gray has 18 years of experience, including previously serving with CCSD as a special education facilitator and speech language pathologist.

Additional CCSD and school leadership changes as a result of Thursday’s appointments include:

Dr. Catherine Head

Erica Morrie

Brett Pinckard

Justin Sanderson

Jennifer Jones

Christy Rich

Lori Etheridge

Denna Vance

Donald Garner

Dr. Julie Dutko

Wesley Satterfield

Ann Jordan

  • Dr. Catherine Head as Coordinator of Curriculum (currently Little River ES Instructional Lead Strategist);
  • Maria Rosario-Regan as Curriculum & Instruction – Title 1 Administrator (currently Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy Assistant Principal);
  • Lyn Turnell as Curriculum & Instruction – Student Assessment Administrator (currently Etowah HS Assistant Principal);
  • Tonya Sebring as School Operations – Administrator (currently Woodstock HS Assistant Principal);
  • Erica Morrie as Carmel ES Assistant Principal (currently Woodstock ES teacher);
  • Elizabeth Spell as Cherokee HS Assistant Principal (currently Teasley MS Assistant Principal);
  • Jonathan Hall as Clark Creek ES STEM Academy Assistant Principal (currently Woodstock ES Assistant Principal);
  • Brett Pinckard as Etowah HS Assistant Principal (currently River Ridge HS teacher);
  • Justin Sanderson as Etowah HS Assistant Principal (currently Etowah HS Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA));
  • Jennifer Jones as Etowah HS Assistant Principal (currently Cherokee HS teacher);
  • Christy Rich as Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy Assistant Principal (currently Curriculum & Instruction TSA);
  • Jillian Nichols as Little River ES Assistant Principal (currently Clark Creek ES Assistant Principal);
  • Lori Etheridge as Mountain Road ES Assistant Principal (currently Mountain Road ES TSA);
  • Denna Vance as R.M. Moore ES Assistant Principal (currently R.M. Moore ES TSA);
  • Lauren Roach as R.M. Moore ES Assistant Principal (currently Canton ES Assistant Principal);
  • Donald Garner as Sequoyah HS Assistant Principal (currently CCSD special education facilitator);
  • Julie Peppers as Sixes ES Assistant Principal (currently Carmel ES Assistant Principal);
  • Dr. Julie Dutko as Teasley MS Assistant Principal (currently Holly Springs ES STEM Academy instructional lead strategist);
  • Wesley Satterfield as Tippens Education Center Assistant Principal (currently support and service administrator at Blackwell ES in Cobb County);
  • Ann Jordan as Woodstock ES Assistant Principal (currently Johnston ES instructional lead strategist);
  • Megan Biello as Woodstock HS Assistant Principal (currently Cherokee HS Assistant Principal);
  • Lee Davis as Clark Creek ES STEM Academy TSA (currently Indian Knoll ES instructional lead strategist); and,
  • Kim Barger as Ralph Bunche Center TSA (currently CCSD special education facilitator).

The School Board on Thursday also selected the contractor to build a voter-approved classroom addition at Mill Creek Middle School.

The $7.4 million project will be funded by Education SPLOST revenues, as overwhelmingly approved by voters in the 2016 renewal, with funding also coming from the State of Georgia, as the school’s growth earned construction dollars for CCSD.  The proposal from Womack, Lewis & Smith selected by the School Board came in under the $8 Million budget.

Construction on the two-story addition will take 24 months beginning this summer and includes 24 classrooms and a global learning theatre.

Dr. Hightower also shared with the School Board an update on his Ad Hoc Safety & Security Committee, noting he would, at the May 3 Board meeting, present recommendations from the Committee and information on the financial impact should the improvements be approved in next school year’s budget.

As part of Waste Management of Metro Atlanta, Inc.’s Partnership Agreement with CCSD, the company awards one $5,000 scholarship to a graduating senior from a CCSD high school each year. The designated school rotates annually; the Class of 2018 school is Cherokee High School, and the winner is Haley Hutchison. Celebrating the scholarship at Thursday’s School Board meeting are, from left to right, front row: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, Marla Prince of Waste Management, Cherokee HS senior Haley Hutchison, School Board Member Patsy Jordan; back row: School Board Vice Chair Mike Chapman, School Board Members Rick Steiner and John Harmon and School Board Student Advisor Ashlee Floyd of Cherokee HS.

The School Board also:

  • Announced longtime Etowah HS PE teacher and renowned coach Rob Graner as the new girls basketball head coach, and the hiring of Regina Tate-Leslie, a successful coach and AP science and math teacher, who is joining Woodstock HS as a teacher and girls basketball head coach;
  • Recognized Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith as the Georgia Library Media Association’s Distinguished Administrator of the Year;
  • Recognized Cherokee HS Principal Todd Miller as The Georgia Forensics Coaches Association’s Distinguished Administrator of the Year;
  • Recognized Clark Creek ES STEM Academy Teacher Teresa Bailey as Georgia’s 2018 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Elementary Teacher Excellence Award winner;
  • Recognized CCSD Counselor of the Year Rod Metcalf of Woodstock MS and the Innovation Zone Counselors of the Year;
  • Recognized Sixes ES media specialist Elizabeth Wall as a Common Sense Media Educator;
  • Recognized Etowah HS freshman Sarah Oburu for acceptance into the Disney Dreamers Academy;
  • Recognized CCSD 2018 Spelling Bee winners and their Region and State Bee success;
  • Recognized CCSD Elementary School and Middle School Reading Bowl first-place winners: Indian Knoll ES and Mill Creek MS;
  • Recognized Cherokee HS Speech and Debate Team members as 2018 National Speech and Debate Tournament qualifiers;
  • Recognized CCSD Region and State Technology Fair winners;
  • Recognized Sequoyah HS senior Spencer Mann and sophomore Jacob Allred for placing at the Georgia SkillsUSA Automotive Technology Competition;
  • Recognized Creekview HS and Woodstock HS students for Georgia 4-H achievements;
  • Recognized State and Regional Champions: Creekview HS literary team Region champs; Sequoyah HS literary team Region and State champs; and Etowah HS boys basketball team Region champs;
  • Recognized Cherokee HS senior Haley Hutchison as recipient of 2018 Pine Bluff Landfill/Waste Management Scholarship for $5,000;
  • Approved the renewal of a Partnership Agreement with Bethesda Community Clinic;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved preparation, pricing and marketing for the sale of bonds for Education SPLOST projects;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips and professional development;
  • Approved special lease agreements; and,
  • Met in Executive Session to discuss personnel and student disciplinary matters.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3, 2018


Board Briefs: Cherokee County School Board Launches Parent Academy Program

VILLA logo

The School Board on Thursday, August 17, 2017, held its first meeting in its new auditorium and announced plans to offer a parent academy program this fall in collaboration with the Georgia School Boards Association.

Thursday’s meeting was the first held in the auditorium of the Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility at The Bluffs in Canton and followed a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting.

“Today is a milestone for CCSD,” School Board Member Patsy Jordan said in her Inspiration moment remarks that open the meeting, and then connected the opening with CCSD’s 2017-18 theme of family.  “This building is equipped to house part of our CCSD family.”

The Georgia School Boards Association’s parent academy program, VILLA (Volunteer Instructional Leadership Learning Academy), will be piloted in the Cherokee County School District this fall.  School Board members on Thursday night reviewed the program application, which will be shared with the community today.  Applications are posted online here and due to CCSD by Sept. 5.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said the free program likely will be offered annually, and the first class set for this fall will be open to 24 participants.  Beginning on October 9, The class will meet for six sessions; five meetings will be on Monday evenings, and one will be a Monday morning field trip to several schools.

Participants will learn more about CCSD, including an overview of its governance model and the role of School Board members, Major System Priorities and CCSD day-to-day operations.  The program will include question-and-answer sessions with School Board members, the Superintendent and senior staff.

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, who during her last campaign talked about the idea of creating such program, said Thursday she was glad to see this “citizen awareness opportunity” become reality.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for our community to learn more about our award-winning school district,” Dr. Hightower said, adding that community input is integral to the success of CCSD, especially it’s strategic planning and vision casting efforts.

Also on Thursday, the School Board took the first step in constructing additional classrooms at Mill Creek Middle School by sending a request to the State, as the project will be built using Education SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and State construction funds.  The project will add 16 regular classrooms, four science labs, a family consumer science classroom and a Global Learning Theatre; construction is planned to begin next spring.

The School Board also:

• Recognized  Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy for winning the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals’ 2017 School Bell Award;

• Recognized CCSD Lead Nurse Gwen Chambers as the Georgia Association of School Nurses’ 2017 Georgia School Nurse Administrative of the Year;

• Recognized CCSD’s Office of Communications for winning three National awards from the National School Public Relations Association;

• Recognized eight CCSD schools for being named 2017 National Beta Schools of Merit;

• Recognized Johnston Elementary School for being named to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2017 List of America’s Healthiest Schools;

• Recognized Donna Lloyd, Creekview HS Career Pathway teacher, as the winner of Georgia’s Work-Based Learning “Top Gun WBL Educator” Award’

• Recognized Sequoyah High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Unit for winning the Silver Star Community Service with Excellence Award;

• Recognized State and Regional champions from Creekview HS for track and field and Woodstock HS for baseball;

• Recognized CCSD’s 2017 Georgia State Summer Aquatics Special Olympic Games Gold Medal recipients;

• Recognized CCSD’s 2017 Special Olympics Bowling Winter Games Gold Medal recipients;

• Recognized CCSD’s 2017 Georgia State Summer Soccer Special Olympics Games Gold Medal recipients;

• Recognized the 2017-18 Student Advisor to School Board and the Student Delegates

• Approved the renewal of Partnership Agreements with the Cherokee Tribune, City Waleska, Delta Kappa Gamma – Gamma ETA Chapter, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and Upper Etowah River Alliance;

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

• Approved monthly financial reports;

• Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;

• Approved special lease agreements;

• Approved monthly personnel recommendations;

• Approved ratifying the millage rate, which is unchanged from last year at 19.45 mills.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, September 14, 2017 


Alert: Construction Traffic in River Ridge Zone

road construction sign

Drivers in the River Ridge Zone will want to plan ahead as area road construction will impact traffic congestion when students return to school on August 1.

Roadwork by the county government is underway on East Cherokee Drive, Highway 5 and Mill Creek Road, with construction to continue through the fall.

The construction is expected to impact traffic around Johnston Elementary School, and may also affect Mill Creek Middle School and River Ridge High School traffic. Students are encouraged to ride their CCSD school bus for transportation.