2021 CCSD Teacher of the Year Chelsea Leming, a fifth-grade teacher at Indian Knoll Elementary School, accepts the honor at the 2021 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration.
NOTE: A gallery of photos from the event is online here.
The Cherokee County School District saluted educators Thursday night at the long-awaited 2021 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration.
The annual banquet to recognize all of CCSD’s school Teachers of the Year and to announce the overall winner is usually held in the fall. This year’s program was delayed due to the pandemic, and additional safety measures were enacted for Thursday night including limiting guests.
“This evening is so special to me and our School Board, as we celebrate our most extraordinary teachers, especially this year of all years,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “In times of uncertainty, they have been a source of security and stability to the students and families of Cherokee County. They have adapted to all that was asked of them this past year, while maintaining the success of our students, and we are grateful.”
The Legacy Makers event held at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Conference Center in Canton honored the Teacher of the Year for every CCSD school, including four finalists who were announced in February. Dr. Hightower opened an envelope at the event’s conclusion to announce that Chelsea Leming, a fifth-grade teacher at Indian Knoll Elementary School, is the 2021 CCSD Teacher of the Year!
“Chelsea is a visionary who puts so much care into teaching and making connections,” Dr. Hightower said, noting her leadership in promoting social and emotional learning programs at her school. “She makes me proud to serve as her Superintendent.”
Ms. Leming, who is in her 12th year as an educator, will advance as CCSD’s nominee for the Georgia 2022-23 Teacher of the Year competition.
“I’ve never been more proud of my profession,” she said upon receiving the award, adding that she, like Dr. Hightower said in his remarks, sees teachers as “front-line heroes.” “It is my absolute honor to represent this army of courageous, passionate, hard-working teachers who represent the #CCSDfam.”
The dinner, and the long list of gifts presented to the honorees, all were made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsor donations including Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram of Canton.
David Booth, general manager of Shottenkirk, announced at the event’s close that Ms. Leming, as CCSD Teacher of the Year, would enjoy a free one-year lease of the vehicle of her choice from Shottenkirk. She told him she already had picked it out in her mind, as her dream drive for many years has been a Jeep Wrangler like in the movie “Clueless.”
The Finalists and CCSD Teacher of the Year are selected by a panel of community leaders who evaluate applications from each school’s Teacher of the Year; school winners are selected by their peers. The three other Finalists, who received additional gifts and recognition at the event, are: Cherokee High School theatre teacher Dr. Jodi Burn, E.T. Booth Middle School sixth-grade social studies teacher Cathy Fernandez, and Boston Elementary School fourth-grade Digital Learning teacher Brenna Lloyd. You can see the list of all Teachers of the Year online here.
All school Teacher of the Year winners each received a $175 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; a $100 local restaurant gift certificate from Shottenkirk; a $25 gift certificate from Practically Perfect Day Spa in Canton; a portrait by Lifetouch National Schools Studio; an engraved plaque; and a tote bag filled with supplies and gifts from sponsors.
The finalists, in addition to these gifts, also each received: a $500 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; $100 gift cards and $50 gift baskets from Kroger; $100 from Grace Ed Technologies (GET) LLC; $50 from AngelTrax; $50 from Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE); and other gifts.
Ms. Leming, in addition to the gifts already noted, also received:
• A $1,399 Microsoft Surface Duo (128 GB) from Southern Computer Warehouse;
• A $1,000 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors;
• A $275 Day Spa Package from Practically Perfect Day Spa;
• A $200 gift card and a gift basket from Kroger;
• A $200 Amazon gift card from Ecolab; and,
• A compact laser printer and $50 Visa gift card from Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).
Sponsors who made all of the gifts possible are:
• Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton;
• Gold Sponsors: Kroger, Lifetouch National Schools Studios, Practically Perfect Day Spa and Southern Computer Warehouse;
• Silver Sponsors: AngelTrax, Cobb EMC, Ecolab, Grace Ed Technologies (GET) LLC and Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE);
• Bronze Sponsors: Alma Coffee, Chick-fil-A of Cherokee County, Double V Restaurants Inc. McDonald’s, HP Inc., Mosyle Corporation, NOVA Engineering & Environmental and Walden University.
School Board Chair Kyla Cromer congratulated and thanked the honorees on behalf of the School Board. She quoted poet Amanda Gorman: “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
“Thank you to each and every one of you for being brave enough to see it and brave enough to be it – to the 42,000 students we serve in this District,” she said. “There is a lot of light in this room tonight.”
2021 CCSD Teacher of the Year Chelsea Leming listens as David Booth, general manager of Shottenkirk, announces she will receive a free one-year lease of the vehicle of her choice from the Canton dealership.