CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - March 2021

Superintendent's Message

Dear CCSD Family,

Spring feels right around the corner -- both in the warming temperatures and in the voices of those I speak with who seem filled with greater optimism.

That optimism is rising with the announcement by the Governor last week that our teachers and school staff beginning March 8 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is much welcomed news as a CDC study released last week, based on data from neighboring Cobb County, reported the risk of in-school transmission is greatest between teachers and staff.

We now are communicating with our local health department to plan distribution to our 2,500+ employees who have said they want the vaccine. This plan likely will require the need for Digital Learning Days to accommodate full days of vaccination appointments on as rapid a schedule as possible for our employees. We know that Digital Learning Days may create an inconvenience for our families of our younger students and special needs students, so we will do our best to limit that impact and to announce these plans as soon as possible.

In other important news, State Superintendent Richard Woods last week shared that the U.S. Department of Education has announced it unfortunately will not waive its testing requirements for students for this school year. While this means Milestones testing must be held in the spring, the State Board of Education previously accepted Superintendent Woods’ recommendation to significantly reduce the weight of the end-of-course tests in final grades for high school-level courses. Superintendent Woods also indicated he is very interested in test scores having less impact on placement/promotion decisions for elementary and middle school students. We will keep parents informed of any State-level determinations made in this regard.

Additionally, Superintendent Woods announced that Digital Learning students should not be required to come to schools in person to take Milestones tests. Although in-person testing will not be required for them, our Office of Curriculum & Instruction staff will prepare plans for those Digital Learners willing to participate in person, as Milestones data is an important tool in helping ensure students continue to make academic progress. We will keep those parents informed as these plans are developed.

Finally, we're very concerned about pending legislation up for a vote this week in the State Legislature related to education funding. Several bills are proposed to divert more tax dollars from public education to private schools through vouchers (under the guise of "scholarships" or "education scholarship accounts" or "personalized learning plans") -- measures that would reduce State funding for your children's classrooms and put even more pressure on your local School Board to fund existing programs. Our School Board and I strongly oppose this legislation; should you also oppose this legislation and want to let your legislators know, their contact information is in the School Board’s Legislative Partnership Priorities report at

Thank you,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools



CCSD Surprises District's Teacher of the Year Finalists

Four teachers will advance as finalists for the CCSD Teacher of the Year award!

The finalists are: Cherokee High School theatre teacher Dr. Jodi Burn, E.T. Booth Middle School sixth-grade social studies teacher Cathy Fernandez, Indian Knoll Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Chelsea Leming and Boston Elementary School fourth-grade Digital Learning teacher Brenna Lloyd.

“We appreciate every one of our outstanding teachers, who all have worked harder over the past year than ever before, and these four are the best of our best” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Each of our finalists shows extraordinary dedication to their profession, their colleagues and, most importantly, to each child in their care. Congratulations and thank you for all that you do!”

The CCSD Teacher of the Year, who is one of these four finalists, will be announced during the Legacy Makers celebration this spring. The CCSD winner will represent the School District in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition. The Legacy Makers banquet, and the prizes to be awarded to all of the honorees, are made possible by presenting sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton.

Learn more here about each of the finalists.




Cherokee HS Diversity Club PSA Video 2020 21

As part of CCSD's districtwide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative, every high school has formed a student club focused on this important issue. Students are working together to educate, advocate and celebrate. The Cherokee High School Diversity Club recently created, with Audio, Video, and Technology program teacher Aaron Childers, a brief PSA video to share in the school and on social media. #CCSDunited


Meet Four Newly Appointed School Leaders

The Cherokee County School Board has approved several appointments for CCSD school leadership roles for next school year.

Dr. Carolyn Daugherty, who has led Macedonia Elementary School as its Principal since 2016, was tapped as Bascomb Elementary School’s next Principal following current Principal Kathleen Chandler's retirement announcement.

Christy Rich, currently serving as an assistant principal at Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, was named Macedonia Elementary School’s next Principal.

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.

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.

Learn more here about these new school leaders.



Please check your school’s website and social media for school event information.

March 6: 9 a.m. to Noon, CCSD Job Fair to be held virtually. Sign up now at

March 8-12: National School Breakfast Week will be celebrated at all CCSD schools with special menu items including Breakfast for Lunch on March 9 and a fruit breakfast parfait on March 10. CCSD Culinary Specialist Jessica Emmett helped create the "Play on a Parfait" recipe, this year's statewide recipe for the celebration. Read it here.

March 13: Cherokee County Education Foundation's Celebration of Education Gala benefitting CCSD schools. The black-tie optional event will be a free virtual show this year featuring award presentations, speeches by students and music by the Swingin’ Medallions; the annual silent auction will be held online. A new feature this year is the opportunity to make a donation for a “shout-out” to thank a specific educator during the event. Learn more on its website at

March 18: 7 p.m., School Board Auditorium at Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility, Cherokee County School Board Meeting.

April 5-9: Spring Break. All CCSD schools and offices closed.


Sign up now! The Cherokee County School District’s annual Job Fair will be a virtual event from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 6. The event will focus on hiring teachers, bus drivers, school nurses, School Nutrition workers and more for the 2021-22 school year. Visit for more details on how to sign up to participate. #CCSDfam


Bookmark our website, Like our Facebook page, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@cherokeegaschools)... keep up with our news as it happens! #CCSDunited #CCSDfam