Clockwise from top left: Ann Jordan, Debbie Ritter, Matt Kemper and Dr. Julie Dutko.
The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday approved the appointment of several new leaders for next school year following additional retirement announcements.
Little River ES Principal Karen Carl and CCSD Preschool Centers Principal Victoria Thom both are retiring after long careers as educators. While they did not attend the School Board meeting due to the special preventative measures, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower recently thanked both for their longtime service at a meeting earlier this month with their fellow Principals.
“Karen and Vicky, as a result of their dedication and care, have made a positive impact in the lives of thousands of students and fellow educators,” Dr. Hightower said. “We greatly appreciate their service to CCSD and our children and wish them the best in their next chapter!”
Principal Carl began her education career in Cobb and joined CCSD in 2006 as a Hickory Flat ES teacher. She advanced to serve as an assistant principal at Sixes ES before being tapped to lead Free Home ES, where she earned the title of Georgia Elementary School Distinguished Principal of the Year and a School Bell Award, and then Little River ES in 2017.
Principal Thom began her education career in CCSD 40 years ago as a North Canton Elemenrary School teacher, and earned numerous honors including CCSD’s Teacher of the Year title in 1986. She began her administrator work in 2006 as an assistant principal at Liberty ES and then Mountain Road, before starting her role with the preschool centers. Principal Thom already has announced post-retirement plans: she will work as a part-time co-administrator for the Mountain Education Charter High School campus in Pickens County.
As a result of their retirements, several personnel appointments were made for next school year: Matt Freedman, currently Principal at Woodstock ES, will lead Little River ES; and Ann Jordan, currently an assistant principal at Woodstock ES, will step up to lead there. Debbie Ritter, currently a learning support specialist in CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction, will oversee the CCSD Preschool Centers as its Principal; Dr. Julie Dutko, currently an assistant principal at Teasley MS, will lead Ball Ground ES STEM Academy.
“We know each of these leaders is just the right fit for their new role,” Dr. Hightower said, noting they bring strong instructional and leadership skills to their posts. “We’re proud of their successes so far and look forward to all that they will accomplish next school year.”
A 16-year educator, Dr. Dutko began her career in CCSD as a classroom teacher at Carmel ES, where she was named its Teacher of the Year, and Indian Knoll ES. She then served as a response to intervention specialist at Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy and Holly Springs ES STEM Academy, and an instructional lead strategist at Holly Springs ES STEM Academy before advancing to an assistant principal post at Teasley MS.
Ms. Jordan, also a 16-year educator, taught in Cobb County schools before joining CCSD as a teacher at Clark Creek ES STEM Academy. She then served as an instructional lead strategist at Johnston ES and advanced to an assistant principal post at Woodstock ES.
A 22-year educator, Ms. Ritter taught in Bibb County for four years before starting her CCSD career at Boston ES, where she was named its 2013 Teacher of the Year. She joined CCSD’s Office of Curriculum & Instruction in 2015, and is frequently called upon to serve as a presenter at education conferences.
Additionally, the School Board named a new head football coach for Etowah High School: Matt Kemper, who has led the Roswell High School program for the last three years, and also will teach PE classes.
During his career at Roswell HS, Coach Kemper compiled a 20-13 record, including two region championships. A college football player for Miami University of Ohio, he also previously coached at Johns Creek High School, where he earned the Region 7AAAAAA title, an appearance in the state playoffs and the 2016 North Georgia Touchdown Club Coach of the Year title. He also served seven years as head coach at Pope High School and led the team to a 39-35 record, two region championships, and four state playoffs.
“Eagle Nation would like to welcome Coach Kemper to the family,” Principal Robert Horn said. “Go Eagles!”