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.


School Board Appoints New, Reassigned Administrators and Principals

Retiring Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs Susan McCarthy listens as she is praised by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower for her lifetime of service to public education.

The School Board on Thursday, March 16, 2017, approved the appointment of new and reassigned district administrators and principals for the 2017-18 school year and received a clean 2016 audit report.

The slate of appointments presented by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower for approval began with the recognition of a retiring leader: Assistant Superintendent for Educational Programs Susan McCarthy.

Dr. Hightower praised Ms. McCarthy for her lifetime of service, rising from a classroom teacher and Teacher of the Year to an assistant principal, principal, district leader and member of his senior staff.

“We’re very proud of you and wish you the best,” Dr. Hightower said, j

Dr. Nicole Holmes

oining the audience in giving Ms. McCarthy a standing ovation.

 

Dr. Nicole Holmes, who currently serves as Director of School Operations overseeing CCSD’s elementary schools, was approved as her successor, with the title Chief Academic Officer, which reflects a new “chief” title structure for senior staff beginning in 2017-18.

The role in which Dr. Holmes currently serves will be filled by Beth P. Long, current Principal of Canton Elementary School STEM Academy, whose appointment also was approved Thursday; its new title will be Executive Director of School Operations.

Beth P. Long

Other new or reassigned district administrators appointed Thursday to fill positions vacated by retirements or created to meet growth needs include:

• Dr. Christina Clayton, current facilitator for the Office of Instructional Technology, as Supervisor of Digital Content;
• Amy Chafin, currently a director for Worth County’s school system, as Supervisor of Middle and High School Curriculum;
• Lynda Wallace, currently a director for Pickens County’s school system, as Supervisor of Federal Programs;

Dr. Christina Clayton

• Melissa Sneed, currently a program specialist for Cobb County’s school system, as Supervisor of Special Education;
• Karla Tipton, currently a systems analyst, as Supervisor of Technology Support Services;
• Chris Saxon, currently a facilitator for enterprise field services, as Supervisor of Technology Field Services;
• Dr. Rouel Belleza, currently an administrator with Educational Programs, as Supervisor of Student Services; and,
• Danielle Ross, currently a coordinator with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, as Emergency Operations Facilitator.

Amy Chafin

Other new or reassigned Principals appointed Thursday to fill positions vacated by retirements or reassignments include:

• Robert Horn, currently an Assistant Principal for Cobb County’s school system, as Principal of Etowah High School;
• Dawn Weinbaum, currently Principal of E.T.

Booth Middle School, as Principal of Dean Rusk Middle School;
• Dr. Sue Zinkil, currently Principal of Teasley Middle School, as Principal of Creekland

Lynda Wallace

Middle School;
• Christian Kirby, currently Principal of Little River Elementary School, as Principal of Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy;
• Michael Manzella, currently Assistant Principal for Woodstock High School, as Principal of E.T. Booth Middle School;
• Dr. Benjamin Lester, currently Assistant Principal for Cherokee High School, as Principal of Teasley Middle School;
• Karen Carl, currently Principal of Free Home Elementary School, as Principal of Little River Elementary School;
• Kim Hagood, currently Assistant Principal for Carmel Elementary School, as Principal of Free Home Elementary School;
• Melinda Roulier, currently Assistant Principal for Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy, as Principal of Mountain Road Elementary School; a

Melissa Sneed

nd,
• Dr. Abby May, currently an Assistant Principal for Cobb County’s school system, as Principal of Canton Elementary School STEM Academy.

During its strategic work session, the School Board heard a presentation by the independent external auditor, who reported 2015-16 fiscal year audit received a clean opinion with no new findings or unresolved prior findings.

“Great job on a clean audit report,” School Board Member Clark Menard said, specifically thanking Ken Owen, Assistant

Karla Tipton

Superintendent for Financial Management, and his staff. “‘None listed’ on the list of follow-ups – that’s a good thing. Job well done.”

The work session also included a presentation on the Canvas learning management system currently being piloted by select teachers with a planned districtwide launch for next school year.

“We’re completely changing the way we’re delivering instruction,” said Dr. Clayton, who is leading the initiative, noting the online system allows students, teachers and parents to access

Chris Saxon

instructional materials, homework assignments, student performance data and other information all in one space.

The new system will lead to cost avoidance, both through the discontinued use of multiple programs with services duplicated in the one Canvas system, and also through the decreased use of paper and paper materials, printer ink and energy and flash drives and other supplies.

School Board Member Kelly Poole, whose son’s class is a part of the pilot, spoke very highly about the increased resources and

Dr. Rouel Belleza

information available to students and parents and the system’s ease of use.

“From a parent perspective, I love that,” she said, noting students no longer can use forgetting their book at school as an excuse to not complete homework and continue learning. “I support anything we can do to make our kids more successful, and this program helps with that.”

The School Board also:

• Thanked Dr. Hightower for a successful first year as Superintendent

Danielle Ross

of Schools and screened a video celebrating his past year;

• Thanked Etowah HS teacher Linda Yunker and students Josh Downen, Sarah Podstata and Grace Zaski for creating a teacher recruitment video to assist CCSD’s Division of Personnel Management; the video also was shown during the meeting;

• Recognized School Board Members in honor of School Board Member Appreciation Week;

• Recognized Liberty Elementary School as a 2017 State School of

Robert Horn

Character;

• Recognized CCSD Library Media Specialists of the Year;

• Recognized CCSD high school seniors named 2017 National Merit Finalists;

• Recognized 2016-17 STAR Students and STAR Teachers;

• Recognized Creekland Middle School as the 2016-17 CCSD Academic Bowl Team Champions;

Michael Manzella

• Recognized Region and State athletic champions;

• Approved a new partnership agreement with Give a Kid a Chance and a renewed agreement with the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce;

• Named School Board Member Robert “Rick Steiner” Rechsteiner as its delegate for 2017 Georgia School Boards Association Delegate Assembly;

• Approved monthly financial and Education SPLOST reports;

Dr. Benjamin Lester

• Authorized financial consultants to prepare, price and tentatively market a bond sale for voter-approved Education SPLOST purposes;

• Approved out-of-state travel;

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

• Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;

• Approved CCSD’s Five-Year Facility Plan for capital outlay projects;

Kim Hagood

• Approved special lease agreements;

• Approved a boundary line agreement at the Buffington Educational Service Center;

• Approved a quit claim deed releasing a sewer easement to the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority; and,

• Met in executive session to review pending litigation and a student discipline tribunal appeal.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2017

Melinda Roulier

Dr. Abby May

 


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.”


Cherokee County School Board Appoints Etowah HS Interim Principal

The School Board on Thursday, Feb. 2, approved the appointment of veteran educator and principal Dr. Bob Eddy as interim principal for Etowah High School through the end of the school year.

Dr. Bob Eddy

Dr. Eddy, whose long career in the Cherokee County School District has included serving as a classroom teacher, award-winning wrestling coach, principal of Dean Rusk MS and as the first principal of Creekview HS, will transition into the role this month in anticipation of the departure of Principal Keith Ball. Principal Ball is leaving CCSD to move closer to his extended family in New York and pursue a new career opportunity there.

Although retired, Dr. Eddy has worked part-time for CCSD in recent years to assist with its implementation of the State’s new teacher and leader evaluation system. He will officially begin serving as interim principal on March 1 and continue in the role through the end of the school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said he and his staff will use the next six weeks to seek out and interview candidates for this principal post, as well as other principal slots and district leadership roles that need to be filled for next school year. He said he anticipates recommendations will be presented to the School Board at the March 16 meeting.

“We’ll be doing a lot of interviewing,” Dr. Hightower said. “We are committed to finding the best possible leaders for our schools and district offices.”

The School Board also:

• Heard a presentation from Jordan Mason, River Ridge High School’s Student Delegate to the School Board, on his senior project, which includes a CCSD student leadership academy on Feb. 18, 2017 at Reinhardt University and the development of senior project recognition pins;

• Recognized Etowah HS senior Nathan Baker for achieving a perfect ACT score;

• Recognized Woodstock HS Assistant Principal Tonya Sebring for being inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame and being named Region 4-AAAAAAA Athletic Director of the Year;

• Recognized CCSD middle and high school students selected for All State Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Reading Chorus;

• Recognized Region and State athletic champions;

• Approved a resolution proclaiming Feb. 16, 2017 as “PTA Day in the Cherokee County School District”;

• Approved the final reading of an amended School Board Policy regarding student records;

• 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 monthly personnel recommendations; and,

• Approved the 2017-18 and 2018-19 Superintendent’s organizational chart.

School Board Member Clark Menard was absent.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, March 16, 2017


CCSD Increasing Substitute Teacher Pay Rate

The Cherokee County School District is increasing pay rates for all substitute teachers, effective December 1.

The new daily rate of $90 will move CCSD up in the rankings of metro Atlanta school systems to third-highest substitute teacher pay.

The School District in the past has used a three-tier pay rate based on qualifications of up to $75 per day; the new daily pay rate is $90 across the board, which is the same structure used by a majority of metro Atlanta school systems.

In conjunction with this change, which is designed to grow CCSD’s applicant pool, the time responsibility for substitute teachers is increasing from seven and a half hours to eight hours a day.

All CCSD substitute teachers still will be required to hold a high school diploma/GED; undergo pre-employment screening including a criminal background check and fingerprinting; and attend a CCSD Substitute Training Workshop before beginning work.  To apply, visit www.cherokeek12.net, click Jobs @ CCSD and complete an AppliTrack application; applicants will receive an invitation to the next training workshop, which is on Dec. 2.

CCSD Substitute Teacher Workshops Flier

ccsd-substitute-teacher-workshops


Board Briefs: School Board Updates Mission Statement, Motto

2015-16 Judy Johnson Scholarship Winners

Sequoyah High School senior Erin Wehunt, left, and Cherokee High School senior Megan Johnson, right, were recognized by CCSD School Nutrition Supervisor Tina Farmer, center, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, far right, and the School Board as recipients of the 2015-16 Judy Johnson Memorial Scholarship presented by CCSD’s School Nutrition Association.

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, July 21, 2016, approved the second reading of School Board Policy changes, which included the establishment of an updated mission statement and a new motto.

The new mission statement is: “We, the School Board of the Cherokee County School District, are committed to educating the emerging generation through learning environments designed to increase the performance of all students.” The new motto is: “Educating the Emerging Generation.”

The Board also approved monthly personnel recommendations, which included the appointment of Donna Bertram, a longtime CCSD teacher and administrator most recently serving as Assistant Principal at Carmel Elementary School, to lead Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy as its next Principal. She is succeeding Dr. Dianne Steinbeck, who will serve in a grant writer role for the CCSD Office of Educational Programs.

Julie Peppers, a longtime CCSD teacher most recently assigned to Bascomb Elementary School, was appointed to fill the newly vacated Assistant Principal spot at Carmel Elementary School.

The Board also took the first step toward expanding its social worker program to meet the explosive student enrollment growth experienced by CCSD over the last two decades by hiring a third social worker: Dr. Tara Quinn-Schuldt, who has worked as a social worker in Carroll County’s school system for 13 years.

Partnership Agreements with the Cherokee County Farm Bureau and East Cherokee Baseball both were renewed, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower praised the Farm Bureau, which was represented at the meeting by longtime staff member, Shirley Pahl.

“We truly value all that you and the Farm Bureau do to teach our students about agriculture and opportunities to pursue careers in that field,” he said, noting the numerous greenhouses, school gardens and programs made possible in CCSD with the Farm Bureau’s support.

School Board Vice Chair Patsy Jordan, a former classroom teacher, spoke of how the Farm Bureau’s “amazing” professional development programs for teachers gave her great tools to use in the classroom.

“I’m so appreciative for everything you do,” she said.

Ms. Pahl thanked the Board for its support and noted more help from the Farm Bureau is on the way to CCSD schools, such as through a new partnership with Indian Knoll Elementary School and a $1,000 grant for a Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy teacher’s school garden project.

“We really enjoy teaching the children about the importance of agriculture in their lives,” she said. “We have fun… and we hope the children are benefitting.”

During its regular meeting, the School Board also:

  • Recognized Bascomb Elementary School and Principal Kathleen Chandler as winner of 2016 Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals’ “School Bell Award”;
  • Recognized Macedonia Elementary School Media Specialist Jennifer Rice as the Regional Library Media Specialist of the Year;
  • Recognized five Woodstock High School students and their coach for earning second place at the 2016 TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science) Best in Nation Competition
  • Recognized Georgia Positive Athlete Award winner Katie Beckham of Woodstock High School, the statewide honoree for volleyball;
  • Recognized Cherokee High School senior Megan Johnson and Sequoyah High School senior Erin Wehunt as recipients of the 2015-16 Judy Johnson Memorial Scholarship presented by CCSD’s School Nutrition Association;
  • Approved ballot language for the Education SPLOST renewal vote called by the School Board for Nov. 8;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved authorized school fundraising activities for the 2016-17 school year;
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
  • Approved the annual establishment of a tribunal hearing panel for certified employees;
  • Approved the annual contract with Ninth District Opportunity for Head Start and prekindergarten programs; and,
  • After meeting in Executive Session to review real estate and student discipline matters, returned to open session and voted to reverse a student discipline decision.

Next School Board meeting: 7 p.m. Aug. 11, 2016 with a Strategic Work Session at 5:30 p.m.