The Cherokee County School District has been named a finalist for the 2021 Governance Team of the Year Award presented by the Georgia School Boards Association!
Three awards are presented annually to recognize top School Boards and Superintendents of Schools for outstanding leadership and dedication to continuous improvement. One winner is selected in three categories based on school district enrollment: small, 1-3,000 students; medium, 3,001-10,000 students; and large, 10,000+ students.
The winners will be announced at the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) conference in December. CCSD is one of five finalists for the large system award.
“This award has set the bar for what high functioning school boards and superintendents should look like,” said GSBA President Bryan Preston, who serves as Vice Chair of the Coffee County Board of Education. “Each year these governance teams showcase best practices and set an example for others to strive towards. We appreciate the hard work each of these finalists have showcased.”
Finalists were selected through a rigorous process that included documentation of progress and success and review by an impartial team of educational experts. School districts’ governance teams are measured in the following key performance areas: Teaching & Learning Resources; Governance, Leadership & Accountability; Human & Organizational Capital; Teaching, Learning & Assessment; Climate, Culture & Stakeholder Engagement; School Finance; Communications & Messaging; and Early Learning & Student Success.
The three overall winners will be chosen by a panel of national experts who serve in various leadership roles in public education.
“We are proud of what this award has come to represent, and it is an honor to recognize these finalists for all they have accomplished,” GSBA Executive Director Valarie Wilson said. “While only one wins in each category, all have demonstrated success as high functioning governance teams.”
School Board Chair Kyla Cromer said she’s deeply proud of the work by her fellow School Board Members, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, all of CCSD’s employees and the entire community to serve students.
“Successful governance cannot happen without the support of our entire community,” Ms. Cromer said. “On behalf of my fellow School Board members, we’re so grateful to have the opportunity not only to lead, but also to collaborate with stakeholders …. and, today, to celebrate this shared achievement.”
The Governance Team of the Year Finalist honor follows three consecutive years of recognition for the School Board from GSBA.
The GSBA school board recognition program requires that governance teams consistently model best practices and meet specific high standards of excellence. In order to earn recognition, school boards must demonstrate its members meet or exceed specific criteria that shows their commitment to professionalism, including adherence to a code of ethics, effective use of strategic planning, annually assessing their own performance and progress, and continuous participation in professional development. The Cherokee County School Board earned the Quality School Board designation in 2018, followed by the next level of recognition – Distinguished School Board – in 2019. The School Board earned the Exemplary School Board designation, the highest designation awarded, in 2020.
Dr. Hightower said CCSD greatly benefits from the longtime, experienced leadership of its School Board members, noting they bring to their roles a strong and varied background as educators, business people, parents, and school and community volunteers.
“Our School Board is more dedicated to its role of serving our community's children than ever before,” Dr. Hightower said. “The past two years have presented unprecedented challenges that many volunteers would not have endured, yet our School Board members have continued to serve and serve our community well.”