From left to right, retiring Principal Kathleen Chandler, new Bascomb ES Principal Dr. Carolyn Daugherty, new Macedonia ES Principal Christy Rich, new CCSD Virtual Academy Administrator Andy Hall, and new Woodstock HS Head Football Coach Troy Hoff.
The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, approved several appointments for CCSD school leadership roles for next school year.
As part of the monthly personnel report, the School Board accepted the retirements of many longtime educators throughout CCSD including Bascomb Elementary School Principal Kathleen Chandler.
Over the course of her impressive 36-year career as an educator, Ms. Chandler has led Bascomb for the past six years following five years as Principal of Johnston Elementary School and assistant principal service at Boston and Knox Elementary Schools, as well as classroom teacher and administrator roles in other metro Atlanta school systems. Under her leadership at Bascomb, the school has earned four Governor’s Awards for exceptional performance as well as the Georgia School Bell Award, presented by the statewide Principals’ association.
“Kathleen leaves a legacy of excellence at Bascomb Elementary School, just as she has at every school where she has served, and we greatly appreciate how much she gave to CCSD,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting Principal Chandler plans to work in her retirement as a mentor for students at Mountain Education Charter High School, which through a partnership with CCSD provides an evening high school program on the Etowah High School campus. “She made a positive impact on thousands of students and colleagues over her career, and we wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.”
Dr. Carolyn Daugherty, who has led Macedonia Elementary School as its Principal since 2016, was tapped as Bascomb’s next Principal.
“The Bascomb community has high expectations for its Principals, having been served so well by Kathleen, and Carolyn will bring the needed experience, leadership and caring heart for the role,” Dr. Hightower said of Dr. Daugherty, a CCSD alumna whose résumé also includes tenure as a CCSD classroom teacher and assistant principal posts at Johnston ES and the former Chapman Intermediate.
Christy Rich, currently serving as an assistant principal at Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, was named Macedonia Elementary School’s next Principal. A 28-year educator and CCSD alumna, Ms. Rich has worked her way through numerous roles in the District including Special Education secretary, elementary school teacher, ACE Academy alternative school teacher -- for which she won its Teacher of the Year title, middle school academic facilitator, teacher on special assignment for Title I in the Office of Curriculum & Instruction, and, for the past three years, assistant principal at Hasty.
“Christy’s extensive education experience will greatly benefit the Macedonia community,” Dr. Hightower said. “She understands so much about successful teaching and learning and how to coach teachers and students alike.”
Andy Hall, currently an assistant principal at River Ridge High School, was named the first-ever administrator for the new CCSD Virtual Academy, which is being planned now as an option for high school students beginning next school year. The Virtual Academy will be a permanent addition to CCSD’s academic offerings, with a different model than the online learning offered as an in-person learning alternative during the pandemic -- including an application process.
“Andy is a bright young leader with 17 years of experience teaching and guiding high school students to success -- first as an award-winning teacher and coach, and for the last five years as an administrator,” Dr. Hightower said, noting Mr. Hall also is a CCSD alumnus. “He’s the perfect choice to help us launch this new initiative.”
The School Board also approved the hiring of Troy Hoff to serve as a science teacher at Woodstock High School and as its new head football coach.
The 2018 Region Coach of the Year in recognition of a record-setting season and leading his team to the Region Championships, Coach Hoff is a 20-year educator and coach, who since 2015 has led the Eastside High School football program to a 51-17-1 record. The team qualified for the playoffs for five consecutive years, and most recently made the 2020 quarter-finals.
During the meeting, the School Board also heard an update on the impact of COVID-19 on school operations as well as a presentation on the renaming of several Special Education programs to more accurately reflect the goals set for participating students.
School Board Chair Kyla Cromer thanked staff for the Special Education presentation and noted she appreciates all of their efforts to continue improving services for students. She mentioned a recent visit to Transition Academy, a CCSD program that offers high school Special Education students the opportunity to further improve their vocational skills, and applauded the “impressive” work of its staff.
Chief Operations Officer Dr. Debra Murdock and Chief of Staff Mike McGowan updated the School Board on COVID-19 cases in CCSD and in Cherokee County, as cases have significantly declined from January’s peak. Mr. McGowan also noted that the 6.5% percentage of cases among CCSD students and staff remains lower than the 7% average in Cherokee County as a whole. The substitute teacher fill rate additionally has returned to an average of 89-90% -- up more than 20 points from the January case peak and nearing a typical year’s 90-95% fill rate, and two training workshops held in the past month have prepared another 80 substitute teachers to join the pool.
Dr. Murdock also shared an update on protocols for kindergarten registration, which have been adjusted for next school year to better determine if students who will be 6 on or before Sept. 1 and who have not attended kindergarten should attend kindergarten, which is optional in Georgia, or instead begin first grade. Elementary schools will not only be using a screener as they have in the past, but additionally school staff will meet with parents, who request special consideration to allow a 6-year-old to attend kindergarten rather than first grade, to review the child’s abilities and needs to make the best decision together.
The School Board also:
• Recognized CCSD Student Mask Usage PSA Poster and Video Contest winners and viewed the winning entries, which are online here;
• Recognized seven CCSD high school seniors as candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program;
• Recognized Creekland MS sixth-grader Abigail Rickert as the local and State winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s American History Essay Contest;
• Recognized CCSD staff who earned Georgia School Public Relations Association Publication Awards;
• Approved a resolution recognizing February 17, 2021, the anniversary of the founding of the PTA, as “PTA Day” in CCSD;
• Approved the selection of School Board Vice Chair Rick Steiner as the delegate and School Board member Kelly Poole as the alternate for 2021 Georgia School Boards Association Delegate Assembly;
• Approved monthly financial reports;
• Approved declaring an unused mobile unit as surplus and disposing of it through donation to Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services to use for training purposes; and,
• Approved monthly Capital Outlay Projects update.
The next meeting is 7 p.m. March 18, 2021.