CCSD Celebrates 2020-21 Special Education Staff of the Year Award Winners
The Cherokee County School District is celebrating four of its outstanding Special Education team members!
Four members of the Department of Special Education received its top annual honors during the annual Special Education Staff of the Year Awards ceremony. They are: CCSD Occupational Therapist/Physical Therapist of the Year Amy Peart; CCSD School Psychologist of the Year Laura Killen; CCSD Special Education Facilitator of the Year Kortney Dempsey; and CCSD Speech Language Pathologist of the Year Stacy Irwin.
“We know that our students overcome obstacles and make progress thanks to the dedication and care of these honorees and their fellow Special Education colleagues,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re so proud of you and grateful for all you do to support our students and their families. Congratulations!”
Each winner received an engraved plaque and a $200 Visa gift card from Credit Union of Georgia, a CCSD Partner. The School Board and Dr. Hightower will honor the winners with a virtual recognition during the School Board’s June meeting.
Ms. Peart joined CCSD from Cobb County Schools in 2015. She provides occupational therapy services to students with fine motor and sensory needs and has served students at CCSD schools including Carmel ES, Boston ES, and Woodstock MS.
"She consistently provides amazing therapy and classroom support in multiple schools and environments," a colleague shared. "Above all, she cares greatly for all students and demonstrates that in all she does."
Ms. Killen has served CCSD for 11 years, with seven of those years as school psychologist. She has worked with students and teachers at Dean Rusk MS, Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, Macedonia ES, Mountain Road ES and Woodstock MS, and additionally has acted as the Innovation Zone psychologist contact for the Creekview Zone for the past two years.
"She truly cares for each student and the parents and teachers working to help and support them," a colleague said. "She is generous with her time and a great collaborator."
Ms. Dempsey began her education career in 2006 with CCSD. She taught Special Education students for eight years at Woodstock High School, where she also served as the head softball coach. For the past eight years, she has served as a Special Education facilitator to support students and teachers at numerous schools, including Tippens Education Center where she earned its 2020-21 Support Staff Employee of the Year Award. Ms. Dempsey will work as a CCSD Special Education lead facilitator starting next school year.
"She is knowledgeable, professional, and models a meeting well even in difficult situations," a colleague said. "She is someone who I strive to be like in my job."
Ms. Irwin, who started her career with CCSD in 1999 but later relocated, rejoined the CCSD staff in 2016 when her family returned to the community. She has provided speech language services to students with communication needs at Liberty ES, Teasley MS and Cherokee HS. Ms. Irwin also provides coaching and mentoring to colleagues in her role as speech language pathologist mentor.
"She is a fabulous mentor and works so hard. She always makes us feel supported, loved, and encouraged," a colleague said. "She always keeps us organized and never fails to check in with all of us."