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Superintendent’s Game Changer Awards

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The Superintendent of Schools' "Premier Awards" Annually Recognizing Instructional Excellence

 

Instructional Leadership: CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen, presented April 10, 2019

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, left, awards his 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership to CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen during a surprise presentation at a staff meeting this morning.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower today honored the Cherokee County School District’s Chief Financial Officer with the third of his four top annual awards for instructional excellence!

Dr. Hightower surprised CFO Kenneth Owen with his Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership during a morning meeting of senior staff, who rose to their feet to honor their colleague.

“Very few school districts can be reassured in knowing their CFO actually understands curriculum, but if you know Ken, you know he began his career in that office working in grants,” Dr. Hightower said, as he presented Mr. Owen with the award.  “He supports curriculum and instruction and, ultimately, he knows where we should be fighting for critical funds to be spent – and that’s in the classroom.  We’re very fortunate to have Ken: he gets it, he leads, and we’re so proud he’s a part of our organization.”

Mr. Owen, who was appointed to his current role in 2014, brings more than 30 years in accounting and finance to the role, including previous experience as CCSD’s Director of Grants Accounting, Internal Audits and Budgets and Director of Grants Management, as well as serving as financial aid director for Reinhardt and Piedmont Colleges.

Dr. Hightower, during the award presentation, made specific note of Mr. Owen’s dedication to supporting instructional excellence outside of his CFO role by volunteering as a judge and helper at CCSD academic competitions and by serving on community boards, including the Cherokee County Educational Foundation and the Waste Management CCSD Scholarship Committee.

“This is certainly a highlight of my career,” Mr. Owen said after accepting the award, noting he felt both honored and “shocked” given the caliber of his colleagues also eligible for the award.  “I have so many great teammates, and we all work together to do the best we can for our kids.”

The Instructional Leadership honor, which is awarded to a CCSD Principal or administrator, is one of the four categories of the third annual Game Changer Awards Dr. Hightower describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.” 

The presentation follows the surprise announcements last month of E.T. Booth Middle School teacher Amy Loiselle as the Game Changer for Instructional Excellence, and Joy Silk, CCSD’s Supervisor of Digital Learning, as the Game Changer for Instructional Support.  The one remaining 2019 Game Changer Awards, is for Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes an employee or community member, and will be presented later this spring.

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CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen reacts to learning he is the recipient of the Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership.

CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen, center, reacts to learning he is the recipient of the Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership.

CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen, right, is congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower as the recipient of his 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership.

CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen, left, is congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower as the recipient of his 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Leadership.

Instructional Excellence: Amy Loiselle, presented March 26, 2019

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents the Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence to E.T. Booth Middle School teacher Amy Loiselle.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents the Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence to E.T. Booth Middle School teacher Amy Loiselle.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 honored a teacher with the second of his four top annual awards for instructional excellence!

Dr. Hightower surprised E.T. Booth Middle School eighth-grade teacher Amy Loiselle with his Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence during a before-school faculty meeting there, which erupted into applause for the honoree.

“It’s my privilege today to be with you to honor someone who has given a lot to the classroom.  As Superintendent, I established an award series that specifically honors curriculum and instruction, as that is our life blood, it's what we are all about,” Dr. Hightower said of Ms. Loiselle, who is the school’s English Language Arts department chair.  “We all got into this field to make an impact on kids in the classroom.  Amy is making an impact.”

The Instructional Excellence honor, which is awarded to a classroom teacher, is one of the four categories of the annual Game Changer Awards Dr. Hightower began two years ago and which he describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.”  

Dr. Hightower said Ms. Loiselle has greatly impressed him, and his Office of Curriculum & Instruction leadership, for her successful development of Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD) units to further raise the bar for challenging academic coursework offered to all CCSD students.  Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole H. Holmes joined Dr. Hightower in making the presentation and described the honoree as a “cheerleader for RCD.” 

“I really am a cheerleader for the RCD,” Ms. Loiselle said.  “I am so thankful we are doing this, and [E.T. Booth Middle School] is doing a fabulous job.  It’s beyond wonderful here, and I cannot thank you all enough for supporting me and going through the RCD implementation.” 

CCSD developed the RCD model as a framework for teachers, so they can create their own individualized classroom lessons while still ensuring students master grade-level standards.

Ms. Loiselle earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in special education; master’s degree from Walden University in curriculum and instruction with a specific emphasis in reading, English language arts and social studies; and a specialist degree in education from Piedmont University.  She joined CCSD in 2004 after teaching special education and coaching competition cheerleading in Cobb County.  Her CCSD career has been spent entirely at E.T. Booth, where she has taught classes including special education, seventh-grade reading, and eighth-grade literacy workshop, and literature and composition. 

The presentation follows the surprise announcement last week of Joy Silk, CCSD’s Supervisor of Digital Learning, as the Game Changer for Instructional Support winner.  The two other 2019 Game Changer Awards, which will be presented throughout the spring, are: Instructional Leadership, which recognizes a Principal or CCSD administrator; and Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes an employee or community member.
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Ms. Loiselle thanks her colleagues for their support.

Ms. Loiselle thanks her colleagues for their support.

Ms. Loiselle, left, reacts as she is surprised with the honor.

Ms. Loiselle, left, reacts as she is surprised with the honor.

Celebrating the honor are, from left to right, E.T. Booth MS Principal Dr. Mike Manzella, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence winner E.T. Booth MS teacher Amy Loiselle, and CCSD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole H. Holmes.

Celebrating the honor are, from left to right, E.T. Booth MS Principal Dr. Mike Manzella, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence winner E.T. Booth MS teacher Amy Loiselle, and CCSD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicole H. Holmes.

 

 

Instructional Support: Joy Silk, presented March 18, 2019

Ms. Silk accepts the award from Dr. Hightower

Ms. Silk reacts, above and in photos below, as Dr. Hightower surprises her with the Game Changer Award.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower on Monday presented the first of his four top awards for instructional excellence!

Dr. Hightower surprised CCSD Supervisor of Digital Learning Joy Silk with his Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Support during a meeting Monday with her Office of Curriculum & Instruction colleagues, who rose for a standing ovation.

“This award recognizes someone who is making a positive impact in instructional support for students, parents, and their fellow professionals… someone who is a professional educator and an inspiration to others,” Dr. Hightower said as he recognized Ms. Silk, a former CCSD Teacher of the Year, who now leads digital learning initiatives including the expanded use of the Canvas learning management system and establishment of Digital Learning Days.  “She’s been responsible for a big lift that’s changing how we teach, and she’s making that lift with positive energy, a smiling face, and a go-get-’em attitude.”

The Instructional Support honor, which is awarded to an employee with a support role, is one of the four categories of the annual Game Changer Awards Dr. Hightower began two years ago and which he describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.”  

Named to her current role last summer, Ms. Silk brought 19 years of experience -- all with CCSD -- to the leadership position, including teaching various grade levels and subjects at four elementary schools, and serving as an instructional technology specialist and as CCSD’s Coordinator of Curriculum for Digital Content.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Reinhardt University, and a master’s degree in early childhood education and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Piedmont College. Ms. Silk, who is married with two children, also is an active community volunteer for causes including MUST Ministries and Give a Kid a Chance.

The three other 2019 Game Changer Awards, which will be presented throughout the spring, are: Instructional Leadership, which recognizes a Principal or CCSD administrator; Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes an employee or community member; and Instructional Excellence, which recognizes a classroom teacher.
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Ms. Silk accepts the award from Dr. Hightower.

Dr. Hightower surprises Ms. Silk with the award.


Ms. Silk, center, reacts as colleagues Lynda Wallace, left, and Dr. Catherine Head look on.

Ms. Silk, center, reacts as colleagues Lynda Wallace, left, and Dr. Catherine Head look on.

 

Instructional Advocacy: Billy Hayes, CEO of Northside Hospital Cherokee

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Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, right, congratulates Billy Hayes as his 2019 Game Changer of the Year for Instructional Advocacy.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower today presented his top annual award for an instructional excellence advocate to Northside Hospital Cherokee’s CEO!

Dr. Hightower surprised Billy Hayes with his Superintendent’s 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Advocacy during the monthly board meeting of the Cherokee County Educational Foundation, for which the hospital leader serves as board President.

“It’s important that we’ve got people in the county in leadership positions who are advocates for our schools and our kids, and you are a shining example of that,” Dr. Hightower said.  “We believe that Billy is a game changer, not just at the hospital, but also in the Cherokee County School District.”

Dr. Hightower noted the support Mr. Hayes has given to the Foundation since its establishment as a charter board member and continuing in his role as the board President.  “The decisions this Board makes under your leadership impacts 42,000 kids every day,” he said.

Mr. Hayes, through his role with the hospital, also has championed instructional opportunities on its campus such as through opening up clinical rotations for 40 CCSD Career Pathways healthcare science high school students each year.  The hospital sponsors numerous programs in recognition of instructional excellence at the School District level, such as Teacher of the Year, as well as projects at the school level, such as donating hospital equipment to high school healthcare classrooms, supplying school nurse clinics, and purchasing AED devices for schools.

The hospital leader is known for publicly voicing his strong support of CCSD, whether it’s in remarks to the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce membership at a breakfast or when talking with physicians about the benefits of relocating here.  He and his wife, Brittany, also are CCSD parents: their two youngest children attend CCSD schools, and one of their older children works as a teacher with CCSD.

Mr. Hayes turned to his fellow Foundation board members as he accepted the award.

“We’re blessed to have the Board that we have, and each individual here does so much for the kids.  Without each one of you, none of this would be possible,” he said.  “This really should be to each one of you, and not to me.  Thank you very much.  I am honored, and I am humbled.”

The Instructional Advocacy honor, which is awarded to a CCSD employee or a community leader, is one of the four categories of the third annual Game Changer Awards Dr. Hightower describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.” 

The presentation follows the surprise announcements earlier this spring of E.T. Booth Middle School teacher Amy Loiselle as the Game Changer for Instructional Excellence; Joy Silk, CCSD’s Supervisor of Digital Learning, as the Game Changer for Instructional Support; and CCSD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen as the Game Changer for Instructional Leadership.

#CCSDfam

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Dr. Hightower, left, surprises Mr. Hayes with the award during this morning’s Cherokee County Educational Foundation board meeting.

Dr. Hightower, left, thanks Mr. Hayes as he presents him with the award.

Dr. Hightower, left, thanks Mr. Hayes as he presents him with the award.

#CCSDfam

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2018 Superintendent's Game Changer Awards

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