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CCSD Celebrates Teachers of the Year at Legacy Makers Banquet

Posted On: Thursday, March 31, 2022

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Cherokee High School teacher Jonathan Gustin reacts after the announcement Thursday night that he is the 2022 Cherokee County School District Teacher of the Year. 

The Cherokee County School District saluted educators Thursday night at the 2022 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration.

[NOTE: More photos are available in a gallery online here and a video from the event is online here.]

The Legacy Makers event held at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center in Canton honored the Teacher of the Year for every CCSD school, including four finalists who were announced in February.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower opened an envelope at the event’s conclusion to announce that Cherokee High School teacher Jonathan Gustin is the 2022 CCSD Teacher of the Year! 

“Jon is an exceptional educator who pours so much into his kids -- in the classroom, through the clubs he sponsors, in the community,” Dr. Hightower said.  “He exemplifies everything we look for in our teachers.  We’re proud of Jon, and we’re grateful for him and all he does every day for our kids.”

Mr. Gustin, who teaches environmental science including AP classes and is in his 13th year as an educator, will advance as CCSD’s nominee for the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition. 

“It’s humbling to be up here tonight surrounded by such greatness,” Mr. Gustin said, adding that he is so thankful to work in “a school and, more importantly, a county that has an outstanding reputation.”  

He then spoke to his fellow teachers, encouraging them to continue their important work and living up to the idea that students “don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”  “You are making such a difference every day for your students, fellow teachers and community,” he said.  “Please keep spreading the importance of how much you care.”

The dinner, and the long list of gifts presented to the honorees, all were made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsor donations including Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram of Canton.

David Booth, general manager of Shottenkirk, announced at the event’s close that Mr. Gustin, as CCSD Teacher of the Year, would enjoy a free one-year lease of the vehicle of his choice from Shottenkirk.  

The Finalists and CCSD Teacher of the Year are selected by a panel of community leaders who evaluate applications from each school’s Teacher of the Year; school winners are selected by their peers.  The three other Finalists, who received additional gifts and recognition at the event, are: Hickory Flat Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Gina Haggerty, Little River Elementary School art teacher Emily Mickel and Sequoyah High School math teacher Andrew Oberlies.

School Board Chair Kyla Cromer congratulated and thanked the honorees on behalf of the School Board.  She shared a question that Inky Johnson, a motivational speaker and former college football player, shared this week during a training session for CCSD Special Education leaders: “When adversity happens, will I still believe in what I’m doing?”

“You all have proven that’s a resounding ‘yes,’” Ms. Cromer told the audience of Teachers of the Year.  “The adversity you’ve faced because of the pandemic, the attacks against your profession … you’ve pushed to the next level.  We appreciate you.  Keep up the great work!” 

All school Teacher of the Year winners each received a $175 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; a $100 local restaurant gift certificate from Shottenkirk; a free family portrait from Cady Studios; a $25 gift certificate from Practically Perfect Day Spa in Canton; an engraved plaque; a $10 gift certificate from Riverstone Corner Bistro; and a tote bag filled with supplies and gifts from sponsors. 

The finalists, in addition to these gifts, also each received: a $1,299 eGlass Technology Device package from ProLogics ITS; $500 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; $100 gift card and gift basket from Kroger; $100 Visa gift card from HP, Inc.; $100 Amazon gift card from Roof Tech Partners; $100 gift card from Practically Perfect Day Spa; $50 Amazon gift card from Cady Studios; $50 Amazon gift card from Contour Engineering; $50 Visa gift card from Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE); a gift certificate from Chick-fil-A, Cherokee County; a $25 gift certificate from Riverstone Corner Bistro; a gift certificate from Marco’s Pizza; and a bag of fresh ground coffee from local coffee distributor, Alma Coffee.

Mr. Gustin in addition to the gifts already noted, also received: 
•    A Microsoft Surface Pro X valued at $1,000 from Southern Computer Warehouse; 
•    An additional $1,000 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors;
•    An additional $250 Visa gift card from HP, Inc.; 
•    An additional $200 gift card from Practically Perfect Day Spa;
•    An additional $100 gift card from Kroger; 
•    An additional $100 Amazon gift card from Gold Sponsor Cady Studios;
•    A $100 Visa gift card from Traditions Turf Management;
•    An additional $100 gift card from Riverstone Corner Bistro;
•    A $100 Target gift card from zSpace;
•    An additional $50 Amazon gift card from Contour Engineering
•    A $50 Visa gift card from AngelTrax;
•    A $50 gift card from Buffalo’s Café;
•    A compact laser printer from PAGE; and
•    A five-pound bar of chocolate from World’s Finest Chocolate.  

Sponsors who made all of the gifts possible are:

Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation (CCEF); Credit Union of Georgia; Northside Hospital Cherokee; Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

Gold Sponsors: Cady Studios; Cobb EMC; HP, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; Poole’s Insulation Company; Practically Perfect Day Spa; ProLogic ITS; Roof Tech Partners; Southern Computer Warehouse (SCW)

Silver Sponsors: Buffalo's Café; Center Cut Catering; Chick-fil-A, Cherokee County; Contour Engineering; Professional Association of Georgia (PAGE); Nova Engineering & Environmental, LLC; Riverstone Corner Bistro

Bronze Sponsors: Alma Coffee; AngelTrax; BrainPOP; Cherokee Lanes; Double V Restaurants, McDonald’s; Ecolab; Marco's Pizza; Menchie's Frozen Yogurt, Riverstone; Modern Woodmen of America; Mosyle; Traditions Turf Management; Walden University; World's Finest Chocolate; zSpace
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David Booth, left, general manager of Shottenkirk, announces at the event’s close that Mr. Gustin, as CCSD Teacher of the Year, would enjoy a free one-year lease of the vehicle of his choice from Shottenkirk.  

David Booth, left, general manager of Shottenkirk, announces at the event’s close that Mr. Gustin, as CCSD Teacher of the Year, would enjoy a free one-year lease of the vehicle of his choice from Shottenkirk.  





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