CCSD Congratulates 13 Golden Apple Award Winners!

CCSD Congratulates 13 Golden Apple Award Winners!

Category : CCSD

Photo of award winners

Thirteen Cherokee County School District teachers have been honored as this year’s Golden Apple Award winners!

The Gamma Eta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International presents the annual awards to recognize one teacher from each selected school who exemplifies genuine care and dedication to students, strong instructional practices in the classroom and leadership within their school.  The School District is divided into three sets of schools for the awards, and, each year, the chapter invites one set of schools to select an honoree for each of their schools.

This year’s honorees are: Tracie Motil, Arnold Mill ES; Jordan Cleghorn, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy; Amber Thompson, Bascomb ES; Nicole Eichenberger, Canton ES STEM Academy; Kara Reeder, E.T. Booth MS; Brandon Grummer, Etowah HS; Carry Holland, Free Home ES; Ashlyn Grummer, Indian Knoll ES; Brittany Stallings, Johnston ES; Amie Hannon, Knox ES; Amy Kerwood, Mountain Road ES; Kelly Street, R.M. Moore ES; and Kari Palmer, Sequoyah HS.

Following a reception, each honoree was recognized by Gamma Eta President-Elect Dr. Shannon Carroll and presented a golden marble apple by Gamma Eta Vice President-Elect Patty May.  Rick Beaulieu, Chief Human Resources Officer for the Cherokee County School District, attended to share congratulations on behalf of the School District.  Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional organization of women educators whose vision is “Leading Women Educators Impacting Education Worldwide.”


Job Fair Draws More Than 600 Candidates

CCSD’s annual Job Fair on Saturday drew more than 600 people interested in positions as teachers, bus drivers or school nutrition workers.

Candidates for elementary school positions filled the gym floor at River Ridge HS.

“The job fair was a huge success.  We saw a tremendous number of high-quality applicants who want to work for the Cherokee County School District,” said Rick Beaulieu, Chief Human Resources Officer.  “We are a strong district with a very competitive compensation package and a supportive Superintendent and School Board.  It’s a great time to work for CCSD, and the job fair response very much reflects that.”

Etowah Assistant Principals Ken Nix, left, and Cassandra Mathious review resumes at the EHS table during the job fair.


As the HR Division firms up numbers on teacher retirements and transfers, as well as projected student enrollment growth, they will work with schools on teacher allotments and determine any remaining vacancies.   Although the bulk of hiring will occur over the next couple of months, qualified applicants are always welcome to apply any time.  Openings can also occur throughout the summer, especially if new student registrations exceed expectations.

School Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower, left, and Chief Human Resources Officers Rick Beaulieu, right, stop by the Indian Knoll ES table during the job fair.

“We are always looking for strong candidates in the perennial high-need areas, such as special education and high school math and science,” he added, “but overall we should be in really good shape heading into the summer and preparing for the 2018-19 school year.”

The Creekland Middle School team is ready to interview top candidates at the job fair.

The ET Booth Middle School team interviews potential teachers for future Falcons.

CCSD Teacher Named to Georgia Professional Standards Commission Board

Category : CCSD

Beth Townsend

A Cherokee County School District teacher has been named to an important State education board!

Beth Townsend, a Sixes Elementary School special education teacher, was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate to serve on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Board.

“The PSC is a very important organization for ensuring our State’s public schools employ highly qualified teachers who are committed to educator ethics,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We are honored one of our teachers was selected for this role, as our School District is dedicated to the same mission. We know Ms. Townsend will represent herself, her school, our District and our profession well!”

Ms. Townsend will serve on the Educator Ethics Committee, one of two standing committees for the 18-member Board, which sets rules and standards for educators, certifies educators and holds educators accountable for meeting rules and standards.

The Committee meets monthly to review referrals from the Commission’s Ethics Division and make recommendations regarding probable cause and whether to take action, such as to issue a reprimand; or deny, suspend, revoke, or reinstate certificates, permits and licenses. The State will pay Ms. Townsend’s expenses to serve at the monthly Committee meetings in Atlanta.

CCSD Teachers Honored with Golden Apple Awards

Honorees are, from left to right, front row: Debby Amoss, Creekland MS; Cassie Fainter, Teasley MS; David Wilkins, Polaris Evening Program; Amy Dwyer, Woodstock ES; scholarship recipient Camryn Goins of River Ridge HS; Georgia Branson, Little River ES; Curtis Durham, Tippens Educational Center; back row: Kirsten Hargadon, Macedonia ES; Jessica Jones, Sixes ES; Lauren Garcia, Johnston Preschool Center; Katie Freeman, River Ridge HS; Cheryl Morgan, ACE Academy; Georgia Heard, Woodstock MS; Kellie Mason, Woodstock HS; and Bonnie Smith, Avery ES.

Fourteen Cherokee County School District teachers have been honored with Golden Apple Awards!

The Gamma Eta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International presents the awards annually to teachers from select CCSD schools, which are rotated every year. Each school in that year’s group is invited to nominate a teacher for recognition based upon designated criteria; honorees are selected by their peers.

This year’s honorees are: Cheryl Morgan, ACE Academy; Bonnie Smith, Avery ES; Debby Amoss, Creekland MS; Lauren Garcia, Johnston Preschool Center; Georgia Branson, Little River ES; Kirsten Hargadon, Macedonia ES; David Wilkins, Polaris Evening Program; Katie Freeman, River Ridge HS; Jessica Jones, Sixes ES; Cassie Fainter, Teasley MS; Curtis Durham, Tippens Educational Center; Amy Dwyer, Woodstock ES; Kellie Mason, Woodstock HS; and Georgia Heard, Woodstock MS.

Additionally, the society, which is dedicated to promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education, presents a scholarship annually to a graduating CCSD high school senior who has committed to pursuing a degree in education. This year’s recipient is Camryn Goins from River Ridge HS, who will attend University of North Georgia to pursue a dual bachelor’s degree in early childhood and special education.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower provided closing remarks at the awards ceremony and praised the honorees for their contributions to CCSD and public education.


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.

CCSD Announces School-Level Teacher of the Year Winners

Congratulations to the Cherokee County School District’s School Teacher of the Year winners!

At the start of every school year, each CCSD school is asked to select its own Teacher of the Year.  These school-level winners now are eligible for the honor of Cherokee County School District’s 2017 Teacher of the Year!

The Districtwide competition will be judged by a panel of community leaders based on applications submitted by the school-level winners.  The CCSD winner will be surprised in his or her classroom by the Superintendent of Schools this fall and will be honored, along with each school’s winner, at a Teacher of the Year Banquet in December.  The banquet is sponsored by CCSD Partners including Northside Hospital-Cherokee and Credit Union of Georgia.

The CCSD winner will be entered into the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

2017 CCSD School Teachers of the Year

Stephen Schroter, ACE Academy

Terry Chadwick, Arnold Mill ES

Ta-Tanisha Hill-Guy, Avery ES

Chessa McGinnis, Ball Ground ES STEM Academy

Bettina Miller, Bascomb ES

Scott Lambert, Boston ES

Darby Bewley, CCSD Preschool Centers

David Cornn, Canton ES STEM Academy

Dianne Bussey, Carmel ES

Clyde Lowery, Cherokee HS

Lauren Abrams, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy

Andrea Ingham, Clayton ES

Debby Amoss, Creekland MS

Kerri Schmitt, Creekview HS

Jacqueline Allen, Dean Rusk MS

Daniele Deneka, E.T. Booth MS

Debbie Rufa, Etowah HS

Kristi Townley, Free Home ES

Brandi Shook, Freedom MS

Ashley Mounts, Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy

Erika Graves, Hickory Flat ES

Jana Cervone, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy

Shelly Brumbelow, Indian Knoll ES

Michael L’Esperance, Johnston ES

Tricia Weathers, Knox ES

Maria McCall, Liberty ES

Maureen Boll, Little River ES

Tenille Turner, Macedonia ES

Andrew McEntyre, Mill Creek MS

Tina Rogers, Mountain Road ES

Mary Kenney, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy

Ada Rogers, R.M. Moore ES

Joel Roth, River Ridge HS

Brian Carnes, Sequoyah HS

Lori Pelkey, Sixes ES

Dr. Jennifer Reynolds, Teasley MS

Elaine Warner, Tippens Education Center

Emily Spira, Woodstock ES

Julie Crowe, Woodstock HS

B.J. Mazza, Woodstock MS

CCSD Teacher Named Georgia Art Educator of the Year

Category : CCSD

A Cherokee County School District teacher has been named the 2017 Georgia Art Educator of the Year!

Woodstock Elementary School teacher Pam Morgan has won the statewide title in recognition of her efforts at the school, community and state level.

Woodstock ES MORGAN Pam

Woodstock Elementary School teacher is the 2017 Georgia Art Educator of the Year!

A longtime member of the Georgia Art Education Association, which presents the overall award to one Georgia teacher a year, she has served on its board as Capitol Art Exhibit Co-Chair, Youth Art Month Co-Chair and District No. 2 President.  Ms. Morgan previously has been honored with the Association’s 2010 Elementary Art Educator of the Year award and went on to win the Southeastern 2010 Elementary Art Educator of the Year title as well.

Ms. Morgan is a strong supporter of student exhibits including the Capitol Art Exhibit and Hartsfield Jackson International Airport Youth Art Exhibit and Cherokee Arts Council Youth Art Month Exhibit.  She also works with community organizations to develop artistic opportunities for students and, as a result, her students have created artwork in coordination with the City of Woodstock and Preservation Woodstock.  She educates students using cross-curricular activities and teaches art history and culture.

“The Art of Giving” project developed by Ms. Morgan shows students how their art can touch the lives of others.  The project has included creating artwork to send to soldiers, making American flags for local and New York fire departments in remembrance of 9/11, a school- and citywide art “blitz” supporting Remember Alex Brown (RAB) Don’t Text and Drive and collecting coins for “Let’s Make a Change,” which benefitted African orphans and supported their education.

CCSD Staff, PTAs Win Top Georgia PTA Awards

Category : CCSD

Georgia PTA Awards - School Nurse 7 15 16

Johnston Elementary School’s School Nurse Laure Carroll, right, is presented with the Georgia PTA Outstanding School Nurse Award by Georgia PTA President Lisa-Marie Haygood.

The Cherokee County School District has won top Georgia PTA Awards for school nurses, teachers and school PTAs!

The Georgia PTA, which is led by Cherokee County’s own Lisa-Marie Haygood as its President, presents statewide awards to outstanding educators and school PTAs at its summer conference.


Indian Knoll Elementary School teacher Jennifer Schroter won the Georgia PTA’s Birney Butler Outstanding Educator Award for the elementary-school level.

Johnston ES School Nurse Laure Carroll won the Georgia PTA Outstanding School Nurse Award, and Indian Knoll ES teacher Jennifer Schroter won the Birney Butler Outstanding Educator Award for the elementary-school level!

Mill Creek MS PTSA won the Outstanding Local Unit award out of all middle schools in Georgia and the President’s Membership Award!  Woodstock HS won second place in the State for Outstanding Local Unit among all high schools in Georgia.

River Ridge HS PTSA won the Overall Heart Family-School Partnership Award at the State level, and Indian Knoll ES, Macedonia ES and Mountain Road ES PTAs all won top awards for specific areas of service.

Four school PTAs won the Platinum Membership Award: Clark Creek ES STEM Academy, Dean Rusk MS, Hickory Flat ES and Indian Knoll ES.  A great showing of CCSD school PTAs earned the State’s Model PTA designation: Bascomb ES, Boston ES, Clark Creek ES STEM, Dean Rusk MS, Freedom MS, Hickory Flat ES, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Indian Knoll ES, Johnston ES, Little River ES, Macedonia ES, Mill Creek MS, Mountain Road ES, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, River Ridge HS, Sequoyah HS, Sixes ES and Woodstock HS.

“Our schools, teachers and students benefit greatly from the outstanding alliance we foster with our PTA volunteers,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “The PTA’s support – whether raising funds for schools’ needs, logging thousands of volunteer hours or advocating for public schools locally and at the State Capitol – is invaluable to our success.  We’re so proud to see our employees honored by the Georgia PTA, and we’re delighted to see our PTA volunteers recognized at the State level for their dedication.”

Georgia PTA Awards - Mill Creek MS 7 15 16

Mill Creek Middle School PTSA leaders, from left to right, Jessi Brenneman, Brenda Page, Ambrea Holman and Olga Spivey, celebrating winning the Georgia PTA’s Outstanding Local Unit award out of all middle schools in Georgia! The school’s PTSA also won the President’s Membership Award and Model PTA designation.

CCSD Schools, Staff Honored by Cherokee County and Georgia PTA District 13

Category : CCSD

The Mill Creek Middle School PTSA was named the Outstanding Local Unit award for middle schools by Georgia PTA District 13.  The PTSA also earned the top honor from the Cherokee County Council PTA, as well as the Heart Family-School Partnership Award for ‘Sharing Power’ and the Model PTA designation.  From left to right: Laura Logan, Carolyn Kenney, Hope Burgamy, Ambrea Holman, Olga Spivey and Principal Dr. Kerry Martin.

Laure Carroll

Cherokee County School District educators and PTAs won top Georgia PTA District 13 Awards at the organization’s annual awards ceremony.

The Georgia PTA District 13 organization, which represents the school PTAs and county PTA councils of Cherokee, Forsyth, Gordon and Whitfield counties, presents annual awards to recognize outstanding educators and school PTAs.

Teacher Jennifer Schroter of Indian Knoll ES won the Birney Butler Outstanding Educator Award, and Laure Carroll of Johnston ES was named Outstanding School Nurse.

Five school PTA units won District 13 awards including Mill Creek MS, which earned the Outstanding Local Unit award for middle schools.

Mountain Road ES won the Best Idea Award for schools of its size (750 students or smaller) for the “Battle at Thunder Mountain” video.

Three schools won Heart Family-School Partnership Awards: River Ridge HS won the Overall Award; Indian Knoll ES won in the “Welcoming All Families” category and Macedonia ES in the “Supporting Student Success” category.

The Cherokee County Council of PTA also presents annual awards. It honored Indian Knoll ES Principal Dr. Ann Gazell as the Outstanding Principal of the year, and also named Laure Carroll as its Outstanding School Nurse. Clark Creek ES STEM Academy teacher Lauren Abrams received a Birney Butler Outstanding Educator Award, and Hickory Flat ES won a Best Idea Award for its “Thunder Mountain” obstacle course fun run.

Indian Knoll ES PTA member Steve Miller won the Visionary Award, and Hearst-Family School Partnership winners, in addition to those that also won at District 13, are Mill Creek MS for “Sharing Power” and Bascomb ES for “Collaborating with the Community.”

School PTAs honored as Outstanding Local Units are: elementary school (750 or smaller), Sixes ES, first place; Johnston ES, second place; Hickory Flat ES, third place; elementary school (751 and larger), Indian Knoll, first place; Macedonia ES, second place; Little River ES, third place; middle school, Mill Creek MS, first place; Dean Rusk MS, second place; Freedom MS, third place; high school, Woodstock HS, first place; Sequoyah HS, second place;

Dr. Ann Gazell

Schools honored for Model PTAs are: elementary schools, Sixes ES, first place; Macedonia ES, second place; Johnston ES, third place; and Indian Knoll ES, Mountain Road ES, Hickory Flat ES, Bascomb ES, Little River ES, Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy, Clark Creek ES STEM Academy; middle schools, Mill Creek MS, first place; Freedom MS, second place; Dean Rusk MS, third place; high schools, Sequoyah HS, first place; Woodstock HS, second place; and River Ridge HS, third place.