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Cherokee County GA School District


The Canton and Woodstock Lions Clubs recently honored Cherokee County School District students and teachers at their annual STAR Student and STAR Teacher Recognition Ceremony.
The STAR Student honor is awarded to the student from each Cherokee County public and private high school with the highest SAT score, and the student in the county with the highest overall score is named the Cherokee County STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) Student. Each honored student is invited to select his or her favorite teacher to be named the school’s STAR Teacher. The Cherokee County STAR Student and Teacher then are eligible to compete at the Regional level in the statewide program coordinated by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation.
The Cherokee County STAR Student and Teacher are Sam Mixon of Woodstock High School and teacher Rhonda Cowart.
The other CCSD school winners are:
Cherokee High School: STAR Student Tori Caudill and STAR Teacher Justin Jones;
Creekview High School: STAR Student Riley Jenkins and STAR Teacher Michael Sinco;
Etowah High School: STAR Student Emma Vivlamore and STAR Teacher Mary Shell;
River Ridge High School: STAR Student Christina Hollander and STAR Teacher Daniel Gray; and,
Sequoyah High School: STAR Student Eric Byrd and STAR Teacher Angela Chambers.
Woodstock High School senior Madison Tank is the Georgia winner of the 2013-2014 Voice of Democracy speech and essay scholarship contest and placed fourth in the national contest. The annual competition is conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Madison represented VFW Post 5262 in Canton and won the $7,000 Leroy Moorehead Memorial Scholarship Award, a national prize provided by former Heavyweight Boxing Champion George Foreman in memory of his father. She received the award on March 3 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Approximately 50,000 high school students from across the nation entered the contest. Each contestant was required to record a speech between three and five minutes about this year’s theme, “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.” Madison also received over $1,500 in scholarships for her success at the VFW Post, District and State levels.
PHOTO: Madison Tank is the Georgia State winner and placed fourth at the National level of the 2013-2014 Voice of Democracy speech and essay scholarship contest conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). VFW National Commander-in-Chief William Thien, left, and Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW National President Sissy Borel, right, present her with a $7,000 scholarship for placing at the National event.
Cherokee High School Principal Debra Murdock has been recognized by the State House of Representatives and State Senate in honor of her recent selection as Georgia High School Principal of the Year. A House Resolution and a Senate Resolution were issued in her honor: and
From left to right: State Reps. Scot Turner and Michael Caldwell; Mike McGowan and Dr. Brian Hightower representing the Cherokee County School District; Rep. Mandi Ballinger; Cherokee High School Principal Debra Murdock; and House Speaker David Ralston.

The Cherokee County Educational Foundation this week issued its second round of Rapid Grants to Cherokee County School District.
The Rapid Grants, totaling more than $3,250, were awarded to schools in appreciation of their outstanding participation in the Foundation’s 2014 annual “For the Love of Education” T-shirt campaign to raise community awareness.
Twenty-eight CCSD schools received the grants, which can be used at the principals’ discretion for school improvement.
The Foundation’s second annual communitywide “For the Love of Education” fundraising campaign is underway; and local businesses, organizations and individuals are encouraged to donate.
Donors who give at least $100 will receive a CCEF emblem to display in their business or on their car and will be recognized on the CCEF website at Recognition levels are: Platinum, $5,000 or more; Gold, $2,500-$4,999; Silver, $1,000-$2,499; Bronze, $500-$999; and Friend, $100-$499.
Donations may be mailed to CCEF at P.O. Box 4754, Canton, Ga. 30114 or made online at
For more information, please call (770) 704-4213 or email
[Photos are from Creekland MS and River Ridge HS - thanks for your support!]

Elizabeth “Liz” Ray is the counselor for more than just the students of Carmel Elementary School. She’s the counselor for the school’s entire community.
“I think the world of her, and all of the staff thinks the world of her,” Principal Dr. Keith Bryant said of Ms. Ray, who on Friday, March 7, 2014 was surprised with the news that she is the Cherokee County School District’s 2014 Counselor of the Year. “Even when I'm having a bad day, I can turn to her for wisdom.”
The surprise celebration for Ms. Ray included the presentation of the award by Cherokee County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower and of a bouquet of roses and brunch reception provided by the school. Ms. Ray’s husband, Chuck, and her mother-in-law, Molly Ray, joined Ms. Ray’s colleagues at the celebration.
“What a phenomenal career,” Dr. Hightower said, as he presented Ms. Ray with the award. “She cares deeply about every student and understands that if you don't focus on a child’s self-esteem and help him feel better about himself, he'll never succeed.”
Ms. Ray qualified for the award by being nominated as the Counselor of the Year for the Woodstock Innovation Zone, which includes the high school and its feeder middle schools and elementary schools. A panel of veteran educators selected Ms. Ray as the Cherokee County Counselor of the Year from the six eligible Zone winners. She now will compete for the Georgia Counselor of the Year honor, which will be presented this summer. She will be recognized by the Superintendent and School Board at the School Board meeting on April 17, 2014.
She began her career as an educator in 1980 and has worked both as a counselor and a teacher. Ms. Ray holds a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Georgetown College and two Master of Education degrees, one in guidance counseling and the other in administration, both from the University of Louisville.
Ms. Ray joined CCSD in 2002 as a fifth-grade teacher at Carmel Elementary and transitioned to her current role as counselor in 2007. During her tenure at Carmel, she has served in many additional roles including as Carmel Ambassador Sponsor and Response to Intervention Chair, as well as on committees including Building Leadership Team, Positive Behavior, 504 and the School Council. The Positive Behavior Committee recently achieved prestigious National School of Character recognition for Carmel Elementary.
In addition to counseling individual students, parents and staff, she initiates small group counseling for areas of need, which this year have included topics such as: changing families, anger management, responsibility and organization, grief, social skills, friendship, anxiety and self-esteem. She also teaches classroom guidance lessons to kindergarteners through second-graders on subjects including safety, career choices, bullying and kindness.
An initiative that Ms. Ray said she’s especially proud of is the Student Welcome Bag Program, which she began six years ago. Her newest initiative is the Ladies Lunch Group, which hosts recommended girls from the fourth- and fifth-grade for lunch and lessons to help develop their social skills and friendships. Dr. Bryant said although these girls meet in a group setting only once a week, Ms. Ray checks on them throughout the week.
“By doing so,” he said, “she demonstrates to her students that she cares about them collectively and individually and knows their future is bright as long as they continue to strive to reach their full potential in all that they attempt.”
Colleagues and parents alike praise Ms. Ray for the support she’s shown them and for how she’s changed their hearts through her selfless approach to serving students.
“She has taken food, household items, bedding and coats to our students when they were needed. She mentions these trips to no one,” teacher Denise Karel said, noting she learned of these trips when Ms. Ray helped a student in her class. “It is truly a blessing to have Liz Ray at Carmel.”

PHOTO 1: Carmel Elementary School Counselor Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Ray, left, realizes that she has been named the Cherokee County School District 2014 Counselor of the Year during a surprise award presentation and reception at the school on Friday, March 7, 2014.  ‘I think the world of her and all of the staff thinks the world of her,’ said Principal Dr. Keith Bryant, right.

PHOTO 2: Ms. Ray receives a hug from Dr. Bryant during the event.

PHOTO 3: Deputy Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower presents the CCSD 2014 Counselor of the Year Award to Ms. Ray.

PHOTO 4: Ms. Ray is congratulated by her husband, Chuck, and her mother-in-law, Molly Ray. 
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Congratulations! The Cherokee County School District has selected its 2013-14 Young Georgia Authors Fair winners in Grades 3-12. These winning writing entries will now be included in the State Young Georgia Authors Fair held in the spring and judged by the Georgia Council of Teachers of English. Announcement of winners in the State completion is expected in the early summer.
Grade 3, Arnold Mill Elementary School, Caleb Cort, "Jack McDonald: Minuteman and Patriot"
 Grade 4, Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy, Kaylee I. Lankford, Toby: The Guide
 Grade 5, Hickory Flat Elementary School, Brisia Castro, "Mom"
 Grade 6, Indian Knoll Elementary School, Alex McCraney, "Ghost"
 Grade 7, E.T. Booth Middle School, Hayden Sagaas,
The Day After Forever"
 Grade 8, Dean Rusk Middle School, Brooke Fairchild, "Plugged In"
 Grade 9, ACE Academy, Cheyenne Knoll, "The Highlight of Your Life"
 Grade 10, Etowah High School, Rebecca Noel Scheving, "The Story of Your Life"
 Grade 11, Sequoyah High School, Taylor Beasley, "Worth"
 Grade 12, Creekview High School , Tyler Harris, "Inspiration"
Woodstock High School’s Navy Junior ROTC Cadet Commanding Officer and Cadet Executive Officer both have received full four-year scholarships. Cadet Lieutenant Commander Liam Welch recently received the Frederick C. Branch scholarship to Savannah State University worth $54,000. He plans to study engineering and will commission as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant upon graduation. Cadet Lieutenant Craig Yaeger has received a Navy ROTC scholarship to Auburn University worth $134,000. He plans to study industrial engineering and will commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy upon graduation. Craig also received an additional $60,000 per year from an academic scholarship from Auburn and plans to become a Naval Aviator.
Enrollment for the CCSD STEM and Fine Arts Academies for the 2014-15 school year will open Friday, March 21 and run through Friday, April 11. Guidelines and applications are posted on the CCSD website at Additional information on the Academies programs is available at

Cherokee County School District bus drivers Rhonda Fiddler and Susan Nulph are National champions.
The drivers won first-place in the 17th Annual National Special Needs Team Safety Roadeo that was held on March 1 in Nashville.
The Roadeo is held as part of the annual Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers Conference and Trade Show. The contest tests drivers’ skills through procedures such as pre-check; loading and unloading an occupied wheelchair; securing students in wheelchairs and safety vests; perform during an emergency; and manage challenging student behavior.
Last year, the duo won second place in the National Competition.
“We appreciate the professional manner in which they represent CCSD in their daily job,” CCSD Transportation Director Ken Johnson said, adding that CCSD has won the State Competition five out of the last six years, and Ms. Fiddler has been a part of each of those teams. “Thanks to Susan and Rhonda for a job well done!”
PHOTO: CCSD bus drivers Rhonda Fiddler, left, and Susan Nulph are congratulated upon their win by event officials. (PHOTO CREDIT: School Transportation News Online -
Congratulations Mill Creek Middle School sixth-grader Sathvika Narasimhan, the Cherokee County School District’s spelling bee winner, who now is headed to the State competition.
She placed second at the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) District 2 Spelling Bee to qualify for the State competition.  The GAE State Spelling Bee is at 11 a.m. on March 21, 2014 at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Here is a link to a story about her recent CCSD Spelling Bee win:
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Contact Information
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221 West Main Street Canton, GA 30114
Cherokee County School District is a high performing public school system in Metropolitan Atlanta. CCSD has 42 schools, 4,450 employees and more than 39,000 students.
We, the School Board of Cherokee County, Georgia, commit ourselves to a philosophy of respect and high expectations for all students, parents, teachers and other staff. Our mission is to enable all students to become contributing citizens who can communicate effectively, gather and use information, make responsible decisions, utilize technology effectively and adapt to the challenges of the future. This mission will be accomplished
by providing a variety of learning opportunities and experiences for students, both in school and in the community.
The Cherokee County School District (CCSD) Google+ Page is provided for the community by the CCSD Department of Public Information. We will update this page as often as possible to share news about CCSD and the achievements of the students and staff as well as other relevant district information. In times of inclement weather that necessitate school closing or other school-related emergencies, this page will be updated in conjunction with the alerting of local and Metro Atlanta media. Please note, you can also receive e-mail and phone text messages of our updates as they are posted through the settings of your personal Google account.

All comments posted on this page are at the discretion of the page administrators. Naming specific employees or students in a negative way will not be allowed. The page administrators will review all postings to make sure they do not violate the district’s Acceptable Use Guidelines regarding Internet access and practices, as well as Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act provisions.
People making comments on the page are requested to show respect for their fellow users by ensuring the discussion remains civil, especially since Google allows individuals 13 and over to join. Comments are also subject to Google’s Terms of Use and Code of Conduct. Remember that your name and photo will be seen next to your comment, visible to anyone who visits the page.

We welcome your thoughts and comments and look forward to what you have to say. However, we will not leave postings that:
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