Four longtime Cherokee County School District leaders have retired this year following successful careers of service to the community.
Congratulations to this year’s retiring senior staff: Deputy Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer Trey Olson, Executive Director for Administrative Leadership Beth P. Long, Director of Facility Maintenance Ronald Barnes, and Supervisor of Facility Maintenance Randy Evans.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and the School Board traditionally celebrate retiring senior staff every May at a special reception, thanks to the sponsorship of a CCSD Partner. Each retiree’s division or department decorates a table in his or her honor, with displays of photos and a book for signing, and long lines of colleagues making their way through receiving lines to share cards, gifts and hugs. While the reception cannot be held due to social distancing requirements, each retiree will receive an engraved plaque of appreciation.
“These four leaders gave their all to CCSD during their long tenures, and we’re so grateful for their service,” Dr. Hightower said. “Our School District is better because of each of them and all they did to improve our organization. We’re also thankful they grew leaders around them to leave their legacy in good hands. Congratulations on your retirement, we miss you and best wishes.”
Mr. Olson, who retired this spring from CCSD as Deputy Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer, began his education career as a classroom teacher in Cobb County. Over his 23-year tenure with CCSD, Mr. Olson served as an assistant principal, assistant superintendent for personnel and his final post, which included directing the Office of School Operations (which encompasses all schools and Principals; student services – counselors, nurses and social workers; and the Transportation Department), as well as overseeing the Chiefs for the Offices of Safety & Security and Communications.
Both Mr. Olson and Ms. Long already have announced second-career plans – they will work as co-administrators for Mountain Education Charter High School in Cherokee County, which is partnering with CCSD to operate the evening school program at Etowah HS. The role is part time, allowing them more time to spend with friends and family.
“I am most grateful for and will miss the support staff who supported me during my tenure; they are exceptional individuals who cared deeply about students and their work that supported students,” Mr. Olson said. “I will miss the impromptu meetings before work, after lunch or at the end of the day -- just catching up to see how things are going … most of the time, they were discussions not about work, but about our families and other life events.”
He said he’s looking forward to the opportunity, when Mountain Ed classes begin this summer, to again enjoy working in a school. “After being away from working directly with students, I look forward to those daily interactions,” he said.
Ms. Long, who officially retires this week from her leadership role with the Office of School Operations, began her career with CCSD 26 years ago as a classroom teacher. She advanced to roles as assistant principal and Principal, including at Canton ES STEM Academy, where she earned the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals' School Bell Award and statewide recognition for its STEM program. In her role as an executive director, Ms. Long oversaw day-to-day operations of all elementary schools, as well as a long list of districtwide responsibilities, such as reassignments and After School Programs.
“I will definitely miss the daily interactions with the Principals and staff in the Office of School Operations!” Ms. Long said. “Our CCSD Principals are some of the most dedicated, passionate and determined professionals you will ever meet, and the opportunity to work closely with them to plan, problem-solve and continue to learn alongside of them has been so rewarding. I’ll also miss the close working relationships with the OSO team. It’s a team that is small in number, but high in capacity and mighty in what they can accomplish!”
The Office of Support Services also saw the retirement of two important leaders with the departure earlier this school year of Mr. Barnes and Mr. Evans.
Mr. Barnes, who served with CCSD’s maintenance department for 39 years, in his role as director supervised daily operations of a 43-member staff. The numerous special projects he led included the districtwide automation of energy systems and remote system controls, and the rehabilitation of Etowah East, Sequoyah East and Cherokee North. Mr. Evans retired with 27 years of school maintenance service, with the past 16 years in CCSD. He is known statewide for his expertise in the field, which led his peers to elect him president of the Georgia School Plant Maintenance Association.
Both said they would miss their many CCSD co-workers who they came to know and respect over their careers.