STEM Certified: State Superintendent Presents Woodstock HS Official STEM Banner

STEM Certified: State Superintendent Presents Woodstock HS Official STEM Banner

Category : CCSD

State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited Woodstock High School this week to present the school’s official State STEM Certification banner, recognizing it as the 12th high school in all of Georgia to earn the prestigious honor. 

Woodstock HS is Cherokee County School District’s first high school to earn State STEM Certification, and joins Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy on the elite list of 59 approved schools statewide.

“We are so proud of their success in this endeavor,” Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting teachers, leaders, students, parents and partners all played an important role.  “We look forward to seeing more of out students become scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers, researchers, programmers… or any of the many other careers STEM knowledge offers them the opportunity to pursue.”

WHS Principal Mark Smith, left, holds the banner presented by State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

The path to State STEM certification is a complex, multi-year process requiring strong evidence of meeting and exceeding standards in areas such as math and science instruction, technology integration, teacher collaboration, STEM competitions, and business partnerships.  Woodstock HS officially earned the designation in November following a State STEM team visit.

The school held a brief program in the media center on Wednesday, Feb. 28 for the banner presentation and remarks from Superintendent Woods, as well as CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower and Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith.  School Board Chair Kyla Cromer was in attendance, along with School Board Members Clark Menard and Kelly Poole, State School Board Member Scott Johnson and an audience of about 120 students and STEM teachers.

CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower, School Board members Clark Menard and Kelly Poole; State School Superintendent Richard Woods; School Board Chair Kyla Cromer; Woodstock HS Principal Mark Smith, and State School Board Member Scott Johnson pose with the school’s STEM banner.

Dr. Hightower commended Principal Smith and his team of administrators and teachers for their commitment to the arduous STEM process.  “This is validation of a lot of hard work that is ultimately for the kids,” he said.

Superintendent Woods acknowledged the efforts of the School District in making STEM a priority.

WHS STEM teachers Loretta Muise and Kelly Burke, along with CCSD Math and Science Curriculum Coordinator Shannon Carroll, listen to State Superintendent Richard Woods as he talks about the rigorous STEM certification process.

“This does not happen without leadership support.  That’s clear,” he said, and then turned his attention to the Woodstock HS administrators and teachers, “And without your buy in, I honestly say this does not happen at all.

“A lot of people don’t understand, this certification does not come easy.  There’s a lot of work involved in it and a lot of commitment, and there has to be a lot of collaboration,” Woods said.  “You young people – you are the exception to the rule.  It is my charge to you to say that your journey has just begun here at Woodstock HS.  This is an opportunity.”

Woodstock HS STEM teachers w banner: Dr. Brian Hightower; Deb Hipp; Bonnie Sinclair; Julie Moeller; State Superintendent Richard Woods; Kelly Burke; Loretta Muise; Henry Oglesby; Anna Grantham; Principal Mark Smith and Assistant Principal Todd Sharrock.

Principal Smith thanked his teachers and administrators, especially Assistant Principal Todd Sharrock, and spoke of the importance of STEM in career readiness.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Those four words drive our nation’s innovations and competitiveness by generating new ideas, new companies and new industries,” Principal Smith said.  “STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% into 2018, compared to 9.8 % growth of non-STEM jobs. Three out of five jobs in the future will be STEM-related.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  Teachers, you dreamed this several years ago; thank you for all your hard work,” Smith continued.  “Students, words cannot describe how proud I am to be your principal.  Each one of you in this room have taken on a challenge that is incredibly rigorous and rewarding.  You have made a commitment to step outside the normal high school box and pursue classes with a STEM focus.  You have clearly left your mark on Woodstock HS.  Your legacy is forever imprinted on the fabric of Wolverine nation.”

A complete list of STEM certified schools can be found at


CCSD Senior Earns Perfect ACT Score!

Category : CCSD

Katherine Relick

A Cherokee County School District senior has achieved a perfect score on the ACT!

Woodstock High School senior Katherine Relick earned the top composite score of 36 on the college entrance and placement test.

On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score. Only 2,760 out of the more than 2 million students who took the exam in 2017 earned a score of 36.

Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead, according to ACT.  The exam includes English, mathematics, reading and science sections; each section is scored on a scale of 1-36, and the composite score is the average of the four.

In addition to this accomplishment, Katherine is her school’s Student Delegate to the School Board and Vice President of Student Government and a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Women in Science & Engineering, Science National Honors Society, Math National Honors Society and Giving Children Hope Club, for which she serves as President.

A Superintendent’s Key Scholar, Katherine has earned the University of Georgia Merit Award, was selected for and completed the Teen Leadership Cherokee program and volunteers as an Anna Crawford Children’s Center Student Advisor and for SPLASH (a volunteer group that teaches children with special needs to swim), Cherokee Family Violence Center and as a Sunday school teacher for her church.

Katherine will be recognized by the Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools at the School Board Meeting on October 19, 2017.


Woodstock HS Names Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Category : CCSD

Coach Jared Hughes

The Woodstock High School Women’s Basketball program has named Jared Hughes as its next head coach!

Coach Hughes, who was approved by the School Board this spring as a new health and PE teacher at Woodstock High, is head coach for Lady Wolves of Rome High School, where he has proven himself as one of the best young coaches in the state.

“We are excited for Coach Hughes to join the Wolverine Staff,” Woodstock HS Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Tonya Sebring said. “I believe our student athletes will positively respond to his energy and enthusiasm. He has a lot to offer our program.”

In 2015, his first season as Rome High’s head coach, he led the Lady Wolves to the State playoffs, followed by a second season of 18 wins despite numerous players being out due to injury.

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Coach Hughes began his teaching and coaching career at Rome High, and served as varsity assistant coach from 2011-2015. Coaching alongside Head Coach Kevin Strickland, Coach Hughes helped guide the Lady Wolves to the deepest playoff run in school history by reaching the Elite 8.

Coach Hughes said he was intrigued by the chance to coach in Class 7A, the highest classification in the Georgia High School Association, and to lead a program that is a consistent region contender and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2016.

“I am beyond excited to be joining the tradition here at Woodstock High School,” said Coach Hughes, who is married to wife, Lauren. “I have the opportunity to further an already outstanding program. I look forward to introducing my style here at Woodstock, and most importantly, forming positive relationships with our student athletes”

Woodstock HS Names New Head Softball Coach

Category : CCSD

A new head softball coach is headed to Woodstock High School!

Alex Gray, recently approved by the Cherokee County School Board as a new physical education teacher at Woodstock HS, will take over as head softball coach for the 2017-18 school year. Coach Gray brings 11 years of experience to the 7A Lady Wolverine program, including several State playoff appearances.

Alex Gray

Alex Gray

“We are excited to welcome Coach Gray aboard,” Woodstock High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Tonya Sebring said. “His coaching experiences and competitive nature make him a great asset to our athletic program. I look forward to him challenging our athletes and working with our team toward the goal of hanging additional championship banners for the Wolverine Nation.”

Coach Gray graduated from Valdosta State University, where he played on the school’s baseball team. Upon completion of his baseball career, he entered into coaching, serving as an assistant with the Valdosta State University Women’s Fast-Pitch program in 2002. He left to pursue a career in the corporate sector, but quickly realized coaching was his true passion.

While working to acquire his teaching certification, Coach Gray served as a community coach in the Valdosta area. He landed his first head-coaching job at Richmond Hill High School in 2008, where his team finished with a record of 15-13 and qualified for State playoffs. From there, he transitioned to the well-respected program at Lowndes High School.

With an overall coaching record of 67-34, he took his team to the Elite 8, won back-to-back region Championships (2010, 2011), was a two-time Region Coach of the Year and signed nine players to college scholarships. In 2012, his peers selected him as the Head Coach of the South All-star Team in Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Summer Softball Showcase.

In 2012, Coach Gray accepted the position of Assistant Softball Coach for the University of Connecticut for two years, followed by a year on staff at Ball State University. Although he considered the opportunity to coach at the Division 1 level an honor and a great experience, Coach Gray decided to return home to Georgia to settle down and start a family. Last year, he served as the Head Softball Coach at Oglethorpe County High School, where he led the Lady Patriots to the Sweet 16 for the first time in the school’s history.

Woodstock HS Senior Named U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Semi-Finalist!

A.J. Cox

A.J. Cox

A Woodstock High School senior has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholars Program semi-finalist!

A.J. Cox is one of only 700 students nationwide to qualify for the final round of the national competition. These semi-finalists are considered to be among the best and brightest of the 3.5 million graduating seniors in the nation’s Class of 2017

Semi-finalists are chosen based on academic achievement including outstanding performance on the ACT or SAT, personal character, leadership and service activities; application is by invitation only. Only 161 students will be honored as finalists at a White House ceremony.

The Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to honor and recognize extraordinary graduating seniors.

“The achievements of these outstanding students deserve acknowledgement,” said Marina C. McCarthy, Chair of the Commission on Presidential Scholars. “The most precious resource of the United States is its talented young people.”

A.J. is an exemplary student, and earlier this year also was named a 2017 National Merit Scholarship finalist… one of the most prestigious recognitions for graduating high school seniors! His outstanding performance on the SAT earned him the title of Woodstock High School’s STAR Student through the statewide recognition program, and A.J. recently was named a regional finalist in the national Coca-Cola Scholars competition.

In addition to academic success, A.J. also has earned titles for his talents as a public speaker, academic bowl team member and competitive swimmer including his recent triumph as the 7A State Champion in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. He’s active in his school and community and is a promising young leader, noted by his selection to serve as a sophomore on the Model Atlanta Regional Commission.