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CCSD Recognizes Two Outstanding Educators with Superintendent's Game Changer Awards!

Posted On: Friday, May 27, 2022

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, right, Game Changer recipient Christy Cook, middle, and Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Principal Penny Valle pose for picture after surprise presentation.

This week, Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower recognized two extraordinary educators for their instructional excellence.  Sequoyah HS mathematics teacher Julie Geoghagan and Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy exploratory lab teacher Christy Cook were presented with the Superintendent’s Game Changer Award!

Last year’s Game Changer awards were delayed due to the pandemic.  Dr. Hightower awarded Oak Grove’s Christy Cook with the 2020-21 Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence before a room full of her fellow teachers and coworkers during a staff appreciation breakfast on Tuesday.  Ms. Cook was her school’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. 

Dr. Hightower praised Ms. Cook for her work in helping to build the STEAM (STEM plus art) program at Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy. 

“Oak Grove recently received its State STEAM certification after a three year process and a significant amount of dedicated work in the area of STEAM,” Dr. Hightower said.  “Ms. Cook led the charge, and her hard work has paid off.”

Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Principal Penny Valle credits Ms. Cook with leading the school’s initiatives to transform from a Fine Arts Academy to a STEAM Academy.

“She brought the STEAM to our school,” Principal Valle said.  “Four years ago, Ms. Cook moved from a homeroom classroom to lead our STEAM lab.  She effectively and enthusiastically developed and facilitated a lab that integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math and lead our faculty and school community in our STEAM journey.”

Dr. Hightower on Tuesday afternoon visited Sequoyah High School to surprise the 2021-22 Game Changer for Instructional Excellence winner, math teacher Julie Geoghagan, in a room filled with her peers.     

“I was shocked, honored and humbled when the Superintendent recognized me for my continued efforts in striving to become a better teacher,” Ms. Geoghagan said of receiving the award.  “I could not be the teacher I am without the support of the Sequoyah High School staff and the opportunities given by CCSD; I’m thankful to this district for continuously challenging me to be a better teacher!”

Dr. Hightower praised Ms. Geoghagan for being a “rock star math teacher” and engaging her students with mathematical reasoning by thinking outside the box to constantly improve and grow instruction.

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower congratulates 2020-21 Game Changer Award winner Christy Cook, while Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Principal Penny Valle waits with open arms to congratulate Ms. Cook.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower congratulates 2020-21 Game Changer Award winner Christy Cook, while Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Principal Penny Valle waits with open arms to congratulate Ms. Cook.   

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, left, poses with 2021-22 Game Changer Award winner Julie Geoghagan of Sequoyah HS, along with Sequoyah HS Principal Robert Van Alstyne.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, left, poses with 2021-22 Game Changer Award winner Julie Geoghagan of Sequoyah HS, along with Sequoyah HS Principal Robert Van Alstyne.    

Game Changer recipient Julie Geoghagan is congratulated by Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower.

Game Changer recipient Julie Geoghagan is congratulated by Superintendent Dr. Brian V. Hightower.





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