As Superintendent of Schools and CEO for the Cherokee County School District since February 2016, Dr. Brian V. Hightower takes great pride in leading its 42,000 students and 5,000 employees in “Educating the Emerging Generation.” For the 2023-24 School Year, Dr. Hightower will serve on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s Superintendents Advisory Council, Cognia's GA Superintendent Advisory Board and as an oft-consulted senior leader for State Superintendent Richard Woods.
Also, during the coming school year, Dr. Hightower will also serve as the Board Chair for the North Georgia RESA, a Board Member of the Georgia Education Coalition and as a National Research Fellow with the Educational Research and Design Institute, Finally, he remains as a charter member of Cognia’s Leadership Circle, a national coalition of Superintendents dedicated to growing educational leaders and addressing some of the most important issues facing public education today.
Recently, Dr. Hightower was recognized for the second time as a national finalist by Varsity Brands for its “Spirit Award—Superintendent of the Year” and honored for the sixth time by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the Top Educational Leaders in Georgia. As recently as 2022, Dr. Hightower was honored by the Georgia School Superintendent Association as a Finalist for Georgia’s Superintendent of the Year, which capped that organization’s honoring him with one of 10 statewide President’s Award to him earlier in the year.
During Dr. Hightower’s tenure, the School District and School Board has garnered several prestigious awards, most recently earning an international honor from Cognia when it was named one of that organization’s Districts of Distinction. The School Board has also garnered eight different awards at the state level from the Georgia School Board Association, most notably earning its top award in 2022, the Governance Team of the Year Award (other awards have included four Leading Edge Awards for innovation, as well as three awards for its training program, community engagement and strategic planning). Additionally, the School District was recently named as a District of Innovation by the International Center for Leadership in Education, A Cybersmart American Award winner by the State and a Microsoft Showcase District for its widespread and notable usage of instructional technology. The School District has also garnered over 50 state and national awards for its communications, events and marketing materials, most recently winning a National Award of Excellence for its reporting of COVID during the pandemic.
CCSD also has developed some of the best schools in the state, region and nation. There are state and national Schools of Character, STEM-certified schools, Fine Art Academies, STEAM-certified schools, Microsoft Showcase Schools, GA School Bell Elementary School honorees, AP Honor High Schools and some of the Best High Schools in America (as noted by several companies who bestow those honors). The community has so many high-functioning schools for which to be proud.
Dr. Hightower is known for embracing both traditional teaching methods and the use of instructional technology, as evidenced by his recent completion, along with his senior staff, of Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) certification. Under his leadership, CCSD has become a national leader in achieving MIE educator and school certification, as well as a showcase district for both Microsoft and Apple to illustrate how technology enhances teaching and learning.
Dr. Hightower started his career with CCSD as a social studies teacher and served for nine years in the classroom at E.T. Booth Middle School. From there, he served as an Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of School Operations, Assistant Superintendent of School Operations, and in 2013, advanced to Deputy Superintendent. The Cherokee County School Board in December 2015 unanimously approved Dr. Hightower as CCSD’s next Superintendent of Schools.
A 1983 graduate of Reinhardt College (A.A., Liberal Arts), Dr. Hightower continued his education at Kennesaw State University (B.S., Education, 7-12), North Georgia College & State University (M.Ed., Education, 7-12), Georgia State University (Ed.S., Education, 4-8) and Samford University (Ed.D., Educational Leadership).