Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, left, presents the 2021-22 Superintendent’s Game Changer Award for Instructional Advocacy to Jason Blakey of Credit Union of Georgia.
The Cherokee County School District today recognized a local business leader for his educational advocacy and CCSD’s School Nutrition director for her leadership!
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presented the 2021-22 Superintendent’s Game Changer Award for Instructional Advocacy to Jason Blakey of Credit Union of Georgia and the award for Instructional Support to CCSD School Nutrition Executive Director Tina Farmer. The presentations were made at a CCSD senior staff meeting, and Mr. Blakey’s colleagues from Credit Union of Georgia were invited to attend as part of the surprise.
Four Game Changer Awards are given each year: Instructional Excellence to a classroom teacher, Instructional Leadership to a school or district leader, Instructional Support to an employee who serves in a support staff role, and Instructional Advocacy to a non-CCSD employee.
Dr. Hightower praised Mr. Blakey for his longtime support of CCSD through his role with the credit union, a CCSD Partner that sponsors numerous special CCSD programs throughout the school year. Mr. Blakey is known by teachers and staff throughout the CCSD community for his delivery of prizes to outstanding educators on behalf of the credit union and for serving as a guest speaker in classes to help teach financial literacy. His wife, Jennifer, is the Avery Elementary School media specialist and a past Teacher of the Year; two of their children have graduated from CCSD schools, with their younger child still attending.
“It’s not just a business relationship for Jason – it goes a lot deeper,” Dr. Hightower said of Mr. Blakey’s support of CCSD. “He knows the hours our teachers and staff invest in our kids. I can’t thank him enough for all he does – he’s been a friend of ours for a long time. This honor is long overdue.”
Mr. Blakey shared thanks for the recognition, but was quick to turn the spotlight back on educators.
“I appreciate all the work you do for our kids,” he said. “It’s a thankless job, especially these days in this climate. I appreciate the hard work, the foresight, the dedication. Opening up school in person two years ago was a huge deal. I’m thankful for the sacrifices you make and the stepping out that you do and the arrows you take for it – it’s important for our community and for our state.”
Dr. Hightower praised Ms. Farmer for her outstanding service to CCSD students over the past six years, noting the work she has done to improve the department’s meal quality and variety, finances and staff recruitment and retention. He noted her exceptional professionalism, which she models for her team daily, and her work to foster a positive culture.
“We believe her actions change the trajectory for our kids,” Dr. Hightower said, noting that students perform better academically when they have access to nutritious meals and also benefit from positive interactions with cafeteria staff. “We’re so proud of the work she has done.”
Ms. Farmer, who next school year will take on additional responsibilities overseeing procurement for CCSD, said she was surprised and honored by the award.
She previously worked for the Georgia Department of Education and made the decision to join the district after meeting Dr. Hightower at the CCSD Science Olympiad, which she attended as a mom to CCSD students. “I appreciate your support,” she said, “and the support we receive from every department.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower presents the 2021-22 Superintendent’s Game Changer Award for Instructional Support to CCSD School Nutrition Executive Director Tina Farmer.
Mr. Blakey, second from right, is congratulated by his Credit Union of Georgia colleagues and Dr. Hightower.
Ms. Farmer, second from right, is congratulated by Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Owen, Financial Management Executive Director Marjorie DeFrank and Dr. Hightower.