Board Briefs: School Board Approves Budget, Superintendent’s Contract Renewal

Board Briefs: School Board Approves Budget, Superintendent’s Contract Renewal

The School Board on Thursday, June 21, 2018, approved the Annual Budget for 2018-19, which continues class-size reductions, increases safety and security spending and keeps the tax rate steady, and renewed the Superintendent of Schools’ contract through June 2021.

The budget recommended by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower grows the day-to-day operating budget to $406 Million from the current $385 Million based on rising student enrollment, the restoration of the final $4 Million in State “austerity budget cuts,” and the property tax digest’s recovery to pre-Recession levels.  The millage property tax rate remains unchanged at 19.45 mills; the School Board held three public hearings prior to approval of the budget and millage rate.

“You should be very proud,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Owen told the School Board, as he reviewed the budget’s highlights on Thursday night.  “You’re putting more money right where it should be – the classroom.”

The recovered funding is headed to classrooms, with 55 more teachers allowing for class sizes to shrink to pre-Recession levels, fulfilling a top School Board budget priority.  Safety and security spending is significantly increasing, with the hiring of an additional three CCSD School Police Department POST-certified police officers, two more school counselors, installation of camera and electronic buzz-in systems at all high school front entrances, and investing $1 Million to speed up security foyer construction among the funded enhancements.

In order to maintain competitive compensation packages, the budget provides longevity step raises and a 1% cost-of-living salary increase to all eligible employees and hikes the starting teacher salary by $500 to $43,000.  The budget funds the purchase of 30 replacement school buses, the hiring of additional bus drivers and monitors, school nurses and instructional lead strategist teacher coaches, while still stepping up reserves to $47 Million.

Along with the day-to-day General Fund budget, the School Board also approved a $41 Million building fund budget, which funds voter-approved Education SPLOST construction and technology projects.

“We continue to have to make a lot of difficult decisions when we talk through what we’d like to do,” Dr. Hightower said of the School District’s zero-based budget process, noting that rising healthcare and retirement benefits costs for employees take up a larger chunk of operating expenses each year.  “We’ve tried to keep the budget as lean as possible, while still trying to do great things.  There’s no better place to be than Cherokee, and we appreciate the consideration and support you, the Board, give us.”

The School Board on Thursday night also approved the renewal of Dr. Hightower’s contract to extend through June 30, 2021.  Dr. Hightower, who began serving as Superintendent of Schools in February 2016, was appointed to the role after 30 years of service in CCSD beginning as a classroom teacher and advancing to Assistant Principal, Principal, Director, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent.

“The Board is pleased to offer the extension of the Superintendent’s contract,” Board Chair Kyla Cromer said.  “This recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment to providing our students an excellent education.”

Tiffany Ridley

Tiffany Ridley

The School Board approved monthly personnel recommendations Thursday, which included the appointment of Tiffany Ridley as Coordinator for School Nutrition, Lissa Pijanowski as an Administrator on Special Assignment for the Division of Curriculum & Instruction, and Sherrie Smith as a CCSD Lead Nurse, among other additions and changes.

Dr. Hightower at the meeting announced an additional recognition that missed the agenda deadline – the School Board itself has earned an important honor for its governance and leadership!

The Georgia School Boards Association has awarded the School Board its 2018 Quality School Board designation.  The statewide recognition program celebrates school boards that consistently model best practices and meet specific high standards of excellence.

“We know our School Board members are of the highest quality, as servant leaders who show exceptional professionalism and compassion in all they do and who always put children first when making policy decisions,” Dr. Hightower said.  “They pay their ‘civic rent’ every day through this extraordinary service and do so without any expectation for recognition.  We’re so proud of them for the important work they do and for earning this special honor for our community.”

The School Board also:

  • Recognized Teasley MS teachers Dr. Jennifer Reynolds and Greg Koch as recipients of the Georgia Council for Exceptional Children’s Co-Teaching Team of the Year Award for 2017-18;
  • Recognized 2017-18 Young Georgia Authors Competition winners;
  • Recognized 2017-18 Elementary Science Olympiad winners;
  • Recognized 2017-18 Social Studies Fair District, Regional and State winners;
  • Recognized River Ridge HS rising senior Grace Pfohl as the Georgia Reading Association’s Reader of the Year for the Secondary Category (Grades 9-12);
  • Recognized Georgia High School Association State and Regional Champions including the Creekview High School boys golf team;
  • Approved the renewal of the existing Partnership Agreement with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta/Malon D. Mimms Club Cherokee County;
  • Approved the first reading of annual School Board Policy updates including a formal cash management and investment policy as recommended by crediting agencies to move CCSD closer to a perfect triple-A credit rating, as well as a policy change requested by School Board Member Clark Menard to expand the Public Participation open forum opportunity to every School Board meeting;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips and professional development;
  • Approved monthly capital outlay project update; and,
  • Approved special lease agreements.

Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19, 2018

Back-to-School Message from the Superintendent: Today’s a Picture Day!

Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower smiles for a picture with Arnold Mill Elementary School third-graders Karter Fife and Kasyn Escobar on the first day of school, August 1, 2017.

Please see the following back-to-school message from Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:

Today’s a picture day.

The first day of school is one of those special moments, like blowing out birthday candles, opening Christmas presents or holding a newborn baby sister in your arms.

It’s the kind of moment that you share with your family. And it’s the kind you capture with a snapshot for the family album and a copy for grandma, and, these days, a post on Facebook, too.

We see our School District as a family: uniting our students and parents, our teachers and staff and our partners and volunteers.

We have the incredible privilege of being a part of our students’ lives from the time they learn their ABCs to the time they’re ready to leave the nest. It’s a joy to see them succeed, and it’s heartache when they struggle… but we’re there for them and you through it all.

We’ll welcome hundreds of preschoolers and kindergarteners today to their first-ever day of school, as well as children who have moved here with their families from other communities.

They’ll discover a home for learning much like what you remember from your own school days… at least in the most important ways. For while what we call reading, writing and arithmetic may change, and the methods and the tools used to teach them don’t look the same, what’s unchanged is how deeply committed our teachers are to caring for our community’s future by educating your children.

We teach your children the importance of respecting our country and others’ rights, beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance each morning and a quiet time they can choose to use for prayer. While we believe it’s ultimately up to parents to teach their children character, we do our part through Character Education, service-learning projects, kindness initiatives, positive behavior programs and a code of conduct.

We recognize while all children are created equal, some come from challenged households, which is why we strongly support programs to even the playing field in classrooms and to wrap them in community services. It’s a point of pride to tell you that two of the most important nonprofit organizations for serving our students in need – the Service League of Cherokee County and Give A Kid A Chance – are led by our employees. We also partner with a long list of outstanding nonprofits that serve specific needs for our students and their families such as Children’s Haven, Child Advocacy Council and MUST Ministries.

Today, we’ll also welcome the Class of 2018, who just 10 months from now will walk across the stage at commencement for another important picture day.

“Educating the Emerging Generation” is our mission, and we’re focused on teaching the skills our graduates will need to be successful in a technology rich, globally competitive workplace. We’re dedicated to expanding opportunities for academic achievement through Advanced Placement, university partnerships and pilot projects to enhanced Gifted education. We encourage every student to make a Career Pathway a priority, offer an increasing number of industry certified programs and counsel students with the mindset that a college degree is not the only path to success.

We anticipate we’ll grow to more than 42,000 students this school year, and we’re focused on meeting the needs of each of those students, which is why we continue to add more teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria staff to our ranks. We also can use more help, so please consider joining us, if you have not already, as a classroom volunteer or a business partner.

We care about your children. We care about your children’s future. We care about your children’s future success.

And we hope you’ve had a wonderful picture day with many more to come. Please visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed to see some of the back-to-school pictures your neighbors have shared with us.

#CCSDFirstDay #CCSDfam

Message from the Superintendent: Response to Last Week’s Incident

Please see the following message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:

On Friday, May 12, we experienced a situation at Woodstock High School that we, as educators and parents, all hope will never happen: a student injured another child with a weapon.

I am very thankful that the injuries suffered were not life-threatening, and that the student was transported in stable condition and released after observation. The student charged by police in the incident also will face disciplinary action by the school.

We all are very appreciative of our students and staff, who followed the lessons learned in emergency drills and stayed safe and calm during the law enforcement response. While we maintain our own CCSD School Police Department, we are very grateful for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, Woodstock Police Department and other agencies that responded. These partners care for our students and staff, and we value them.

I’d also like to thank our community’s parents for entrusting your children to us every day. As a parent, I know when incidents like this happen – even if not at your child’s school – it can cause you alarm and stress. The messages you saw on our website and Twitter feed, and shared with local media, also were being communicated to Woodstock High School and Woodstock Middle School parents using our School Messenger system.

This incident reminds us all of the importance of this communications system; at the start of every school year, please confirm that your child’s school has your correct email address, cell phone number and home phone number. To subscribe to the text service, ensure your cell phone number is on file and then text any one of the following words to the number 68453: subscribe, opt-in or yes. Learn more about our Emergency Notifications practices here:

Thank you for your support of the School District and for your role in our continued success.

Message from the Superintendent: Teacher Appreciation Day

Category : CCSD

Please see the following message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower:

To the Teachers in Our Classrooms and My Heart

As your Superintendent of Schools, my days stay busy with management and planning, and I’m often in meetings in our offices or out in the community.

It could be easy to lose touch with what matters most: the teaching and learning happening in our classrooms. To maintain this important connection, I’ve made it a practice since taking office to visit several schools every week – sometimes by surprise – and be, as past CCSD Teacher of the Year Lindsay Bowley coined it, “a professional noticer.”

And what I see is amazing, inspiring and humbling.

Thank a Teacher logoIn May, as the school year draws to a close, many of us think about teachers… maybe it’s our children’s teachers, a loved one who teaches or the teachers from our own childhood. If your mind doesn’t wander here in May, help it there today: National Teacher Appreciation Day.

I’ll share just two stories that have a place in my heart.

Dr. Jennifer Reynolds, as a special education teacher at Teasley Middle School, our Title I middle school, serves some of our most challenged children. Like a 10-year-old girl, abandoned in a dumpster as a newborn born with cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome.

She taught this little girl well, and – like all great educators – Dr. Reynolds also listened to hear the lessons the student could teach her. Like spunk, she said, and the value of a life. “The students,” Dr. Reynolds said, “are the ones who teach me.”

That story shows me how deeply our teachers care for our community’s children.

The second you may have seen on TV or online in a new commercial for Microsoft. Lauren Pittman is a phenomenal Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy special education teacher, who has earned national recognition for leveraging instructional technology to teach struggling students to read. If you haven’t seen the spot, it features her students sharing how Ms. Pittman helped them overcome dyslexia and empowered them and their learning potential.

That’s a wow moment. And moments like these are happening in classrooms across our school district every day.

Our students are learning how to add, and how to make a difference.

They’re learning how to ask questions, and how to seek out answers.

They’re learning how to read, and how to write their own stories.

When I look back on my education career, it’s not the personnel issues I resolved, the projects I planned or the “t’s” I crossed that stand out. It’s the children I taught as a classroom teacher, and who, in turn, taught me. And the many extraordinary teachers who helped me get to here.

I hope you feel the same way, and that you thank a teacher… and it doesn’t have to wait until or be limited to an official appreciation day. Today, I thank the 2,634 in our classrooms and many more from my life’s path — you’re all in my heart.

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:

Cherokee County Superintendent Named to State Superintendents’ Advisory Council

Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower has been selected to serve on the State Superintendents’ Advisory Council.

HIGHTOWER Dr Brian V 2016

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower

State School Superintendent Richard Woods annually appoints the Council, which is made up of about 20 local superintendents representing urban, suburban and rural districts from regions across the state.

The Council provides feedback on the local impact of State-level decisions, and its first meeting recently held at the State Department of Education’s offices focused on the new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The group will meet regularly to discuss important issues affecting public education and share feedback from their communities.

“It’s my honor to represent our School District and our region at the State level, as I see it as part of my duty as a Superintendent of Schools to speak up for our students, teachers and parents in every way possible,” Dr. Hightower said.  “They have put their trust in me and our School Board to be their voice, and this is an outstanding opportunity to continue to fulfill my role as an educator, leader and advocate for public education.”

Board Briefs: School Board Honors Retiring Superintendent of Schools

Board Briefs - Dr. Petruzielo HonoredThe School Board on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 unanimously voted to recognize retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo by naming the new Educational Services Facility in his honor.

Dr. Petruzielo, who is retiring at the end of the month and served at his final School Board meeting on Thursday, was humbled by the recognition, noting that the past 17 years of service to the Cherokee County School District “have been the best of my 50-year career in education.”

“I was expecting a plaque,” Dr. Petruzielo joked after the surprise honor was announced. “This is an extraordinary honor and an unbelievable recognition. I don’t think that in my career I’ve ever felt as appreciated as I do this evening!”

Dr. Petruzielo, whose leadership and accomplishments were celebrated with numerous standing ovations, went on to thank: CCSD teachers, noting how much he appreciates their “sacrifices and hard work”; his wife and family; his senior staff; School Board members; local education reporters; his dedicated executive secretary and administrative assistant; and the community’s “incredible” PTA volunteers and leaders.

“I hope everyone will agree that I am leaving the School District in good shape and in good hands,” Dr. Petruzielo said. The much-needed administrative facility is under construction on the Bluffs Parkway in Canton and will open in August 2017. A dedication ceremony for “The Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility” will be held upon the facility’s completion.

School Board members praised Dr. Petruzielo for his dedication and success and thanked him for his service on behalf of students, parents and the broader community; and expressed appreciation for the professional relationships he built with them.

“Sir, you have set the standard for education,” said Board Member Rick Steiner, who stood to deliver his message as a sign of respect. Mr. Steiner noted his heroes are his father; his wrestling coaches; Ted Turner and Muhammad Ali, for whom he worked; and that he adds Dr. Petruzielo to that list: “You have taught me how to be a leader.”

Board Briefs - Dr. Petruzielo RetirementBoard Vice Chair Patsy Jordan wiped away tears as she thanked Dr. Petruzielo for beginning a life-changing journey for her… from his recommendation that she be hired as a CCSD teacher 17 years ago to serving alongside him on the School Board dais. “It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she said.

The meeting included several other surprise recognitions for Dr. Petruzielo, including establishment by the Cherokee County Educational Foundation of a professional development annual scholarship in his name. The “Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Leadership Award” is a $1,500 annual award that will be granted by CCEF to the most outstanding graduate of the CCSD Superintendent’s Leadership Academy for teacher-leaders, a capacity-building program instituted by Dr. Petruzielo. The grant enables the winner, who will be selected by his/her peers, to participate in additional professional development opportunities.

“Dr. P is a visionary with unsurpassed leadership,” CCEF Board President William “Billy” G. Hasty Jr. said as he announced the scholarship. Since its establishment in 2012 with Dr. Petruzielo’s support, CCEF has issued more than $80,000 in grants to the School District’s teachers, students and schools, with another $25,000 to be awarded in February. “It has been such a pleasure to be a part of this and witness all that is happening in the School District. You’re an inspiration.”

Following recognition of CCSD for its third consecutive inclusion in annual Advanced Placement (AP) District Honor Roll Recognition, which celebrates school districts with increasing percentages of student participation and success in the AP Program, Dr. Petruzielo was honored by The College Board, which administers the Program. “During your tenure, you have opened the door of opportunity for so many students,” Kendall Hawkins with The College Board said in her remarks praising Dr. Petruzielo for increasing student access to not only AP courses, but also to SAT and PSAT testing. Since Dr. Petruzielo’s arrival in 1999, CCSD has seen dramatic increases in participation and passage rates for these courses and tests… 108% increase in SAT participation, 260% increase in PSAT participation and 809% increase in AP participation.

During the Public Participation section of the meeting, longtime CCSD teacher Anita Geoghagan praised Dr. Petruzielo for his passionate advocacy for teachers and public education. “You didn’t take no for an answer even when there were times when that would have been easier,” she said.

The School Board’s regular meeting followed a Strategic Work Session, during which Dr. Petruzielo and his staff briefed the Board on important issues, including: a 2016-17 CCSD budget forecast in light of the Governor’s release of his proposed State budget for next year and anticipated State legislation (an initial CCSD report in this regard is attached); a capital outlay program update; the most recent status report on the Governor’s “Opportunity School District” local school State takeover plan; and a draft 2016-17 CCSD Organizational Chart.

During its regular meeting, the School Board also:

  • Approved a three-year employment contract for Dr. Brian V. Hightower, whom the Board unanimously appointed last month to serve as the next Superintendent of Schools, from Feb. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2019;
  • Re-elected Patsy Jordan to serve as Vice Chair for a second one-year term;
  • Recognized Teasley MS as a Georgia 2015 Reward School for outstanding student progress, designating it as among the top 10% of Title I schools in Georgia;
  • Recognized Johnston ES for being named a Platinum-Level Fit Friendly School by the American Heart Association… making it the first in CCSD to earn this National recognition. Lynn Ziner, youth market director for the Association, attended the meeting to present Johnston ES with the plaque;
  • Recognized CCSD Adaptive PE teacher Amy Aenchbacher as Recipient of 2015 BlazeSports Triumph of the Human Spirit Award for making a significant impact in Georgia through adaptive sport and recreation;
  • Recognized 2015-16 Reinhardt University/CCSD Mathematics Tournament Winners;
  • Recognized State and Region Champions from Creekview HS Competition Cheerleading, Softball and Volleyball teams and Sequoyah HS Volleyball team;
  • Adopted the Georgia Education Coalition (GEC) 2016 Legislative Priorities;
  • Approved monthly financial reports;
  • Approved 2015-16 School Improvement Plans (SIPs);
  • Approved out-of-state travel;
  • Approved out-of-state and overnight student field trips;
  • Approved monthly update on capital outlay projects; and,
  • Approved monthly personnel recommendations.

Next School Board meeting: 7 p.m. Feb. 4, 2016

School Board Unanimously Approves Dr. Brian V. Hightower as Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Brian V. Hightower Accepts New Post as SuperintendentThe Cherokee County School Board tonight unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Brian V. Hightower as the next Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Hightower, who has served for the last 29 years in CCSD beginning as a classroom teacher and rising through school and central office administrative roles, will take office on Feb. 1.

“I stand ready to serve as your next Superintendent,” Dr. Hightower told Board members during a brief speech to thank them, retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, his family, his colleagues and his mentors and friends. “To be a part of this organization for 29 of my 30 years [in education] has turned into being the privilege of a lifetime.”

School Board Chair Dr. Brian V. HightowerKyla Cromer said the Board was very impressed by Dr. Hightower’s experience and education, as well as his interview and recommendations. She said the strengths his supporters noted in recommending Dr. Hightower included: hard working, professional, well-respected, consistent, fair, thoughtful, problem-solver, leader.

“Your vote of confidence steels my resolve that we continue to be one of the best school districts in the Nation,” he said.

Cherokee County School Board Calls Meeting to Appoint Superintendent of Schools

The Cherokee County School Board will meet for a called meeting on Friday, Dec. 18, to consider the appointment of a new Superintendent of Schools.

The School Board established a process to attract and vet a new Superintendent of Schools that began on September 3, 2015. The process included a statewide publication of a notice of vacancy that attracted inquiries/applications from four states, hours of individual review by Board members of letters of interest, applications, résumés, independent education verification, and background screens, as well as two extended executive sessions of the Board.

The School Board will consider the appointment and employment subject to contract negotiations of Dr. Brian V. Hightower as Superintendent of Schools at a special called meeting on Friday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. at the Historic Canton High School/School Board Auditorium located at 111 Academy Street, Canton, GA 30114.

A presentation regarding Dr. Hightower’s credentials and experience will precede an opportunity for public input and a vote of School Board regarding Dr. Hightower’s appointment.

CCSD Students Exceed State Averages on 2015 Georgia Milestones Tests

Cherokee County School District students exceeded State averages on the 2015 Georgia Milestones End-of-Grade and End-of-Course tests… the first year that new, more challenging State exams were administered.

The tests, which are used to assess the mastery of Georgia Performance Standards, will be administered every spring in Grades 3-8 in the subjects of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies and for middle and high school students taking courses for high school credit.

Milestones exams include open-ended questions to better assess students’ content mastery; and, with some exceptions for special education students with specific testing accommodations, the tests will be administered entirely online to students statewide within five years. CCSD already met the State’s five-year goal in this first round of tests for all students except those taking the third-grade English Language Arts test, which will be added to our online system this spring.

While Milestones’ Achievement Levels are reported as percentages of students who are Beginning, Developing, Proficient or Distinguished Learners, it should be noted that these percentages include English Language Learners and students who receive Special Education services. Also, these percentages cannot be compared to results for the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (GCRCTs) that were administered in past years, due to significant differences in the exams and student performance expectations.

  • For third-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Developing to Distinguished scores was: 75% for English Language Arts (as compared to 66% for Georgia), 83% for Math (79% Georgia), 81% for Science (75% Georgia) and 78% for Social Studies (74% Georgia).
  • For fifth-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Developing to Distinguished scores was: 79% for English Language Arts (73% Georgia), 84% for Math (74% Georgia), 77% for Science (70% Georgia) and 80% for Social Studies (75% Georgia).
  • For eighth-grade, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Developing to Distinguished scores was: 86% for English Language Arts (76% Georgia), 86% for Math (75% Georgia), 74% for Science (62% Georgia) and 81% for Social Studies (71% Georgia).
  • For high school credit courses, the percentage of CCSD students achieving Developing to Distinguished scores was: 89% for 9th Grade Literature and Composition (76% Georgia), 89% for American Literature and Composition (76% for Georgia), 86% for Coordinate Algebra (69% Georgia), 81% for Analytic Geometry (65% Georgia), 79% for Biology (63% Georgia), 76% for Physical Science (65% Georgia), 86% for U.S. History (74% Georgia) and 81% for Economics (69%).

The State also compared select Milestones responses to the performance of students Nationwide; and CCSD students scored on average exceptionally well in comparison.

The Milestones results, which parents will receive for their own child next month, also include an assessment as to whether a child is reading at grade level. For third-grade, the percentages of CCSD students reading on or above grade level was: 77% (69% Georgia); fifth-grade, 75% (66% Georgia); and eighth-grade, 85% (71% Georgia).

Leadership teams at both District and school levels will closely review these scores to determine needed adjustments in teaching and learning, as well as in strategic planning tools (such as School Improvement Plans), to ensure that students are mastering Georgia Performance Standards. Just as with the GCRCT, Milestones End-of-Grade scores, beginning with the 2015-16 administration, will help teachers and administrators determine if students are ready to be promoted to the next grade. Additionally, results from this administration will be counted toward calculation of CCSD’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores, which comprise the State’s new accountability system.

“We commend our students, teachers and administrators for their performance on these new tests, which required everyone involved to increase their efforts to achieve success,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo said. “Teaching and learning is our primary mission; and we are committed to ensuring that each child learns the knowledge necessary for success in their next step… whether that be the next grade in school, enrolling in college or launching their career!”

For further information, please see the CCSD Milestones Results 2015 memo issued by Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools.