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Cherokee County School District Earns State's Highest Honor

Posted On: Thursday, December 2, 2021

CCSD Governance Team of the Year Award 12 2 21

The Cherokee County School District has earned the State’s highest honor for leadership and dedication to providing the best education possible to every child.  Accepting the Governance Team of the Year Award at the awards ceremony on Wednesday night on behalf of the entire Cherokee County School Board and District leadership team are, from left to right, School Board members Patsy Jordan and Kelly Poole, School Board Chair Kyla Cromer and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower.

The Cherokee County School District has earned the State’s highest honor for leadership and dedication to providing the best education possible to every child.

The Governance Team of the Year Award is awarded to the School Board and Superintendent of Schools of only one Georgia school district in each of the three size categories -- small, medium and large – by the Georgia School Boards Association.  CCSD earned the honor for large districts, which are those with more than 10,000 students.     

The prestigious award requires school districts’ governance teams meet stringent requirements encompassing all duties: Teaching & Learning Resources; Governance, Leadership & Accountability; Human & Organizational Capital; Teaching, Learning & Assessment; Climate, Culture & Stakeholder Engagement; School Finance; Communications & Messaging; and Early Learning & Student Success.

“Having our governance team recognized in this manner truly shows our dedication to providing the emerging generation with an outstanding education while setting policy and developing a budget that is responsive to our community,” said School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, who with fellow School Board members and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, attended the awards dinner on Wednesday night at which the winners were announced.  “Dr. Hightower has gathered a group of leaders who truly pour into our students the skills necessary to be successful.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve!”

School districts are invited to apply for the award based on high scores on the State’s system that measures how well students are prepared for college and career success.  The detailed application process requires providing significant evidence including verifiable data that illustrates the school district’s excellence and the governance team’s role in ensuring that excellence.  The vetting process also includes interviews of School Board members, the Superintendent and his senior staff by an impartial review team.  The judging committee that reviews the application, supporting evidence and impartial review team’s report is made up of national educational experts and leaders.  The Georgia School Boards Association has no input in the selection process.  The awards program has no connection to the National School Boards Association.  

“While many governance teams have endured challenging circumstances and provided steadfast leadership, the 2021 Governance Team of the Year winners have set a high standard of excellence and we are proud of all that they have accomplished,” said Valarie Wilson, Georgia School Boards Association’s executive director.

The Cherokee County School Board is chaired by Ms. Cromer and made up of District 1 member Kelly Poole, District 2 member Patsy Jordan, District 3 member John Harmon, District 4 member Robert “Rick Steiner” Rechsteiner, who also serves as Vice Chair; District 5 member Clark Menard; and District 6 member Mike Chapman.  

CCSD would not have been able to earn this recognition without the longtime outstanding leadership by the current School Board, Dr. Hightower said, nor would the award have been achieved without the dedication of every CCSD employee; PTA, School Council and other valued parent volunteers; and community and business partners.

“You cannot win the Governance Team of the Year Award without a united community supporting your school district, and we’re so grateful and humbled to serve a county that cares so much about the education of its children,” Dr. Hightower said.  “All of our School Board members have served the community for at least eight years, with some serving twice that long, and that continued civic service provides our school district with incredibly valuable experience and expertise.  This award is for our entire #CCSDfam: congratulations and thank you!”

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