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Board Business Briefs: Construction of New Replacement Free Home ES Approved

Board Business Briefs: Construction of New Replacement Free Home ES Approved

Clockwise from top left, Dr. Catherine Head, Greg Mason, Christy Rich, Daniel Devine, Matthew Walker, Stephanie Norris.

The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 approved the construction contract for the new replacement Free Home Elementary School and appointed several new leaders for next school year.

The new replacement school, which is north of the existing campus, is needed due to the imminent widening of the stretch of Highway 20 that borders the current school.  The $36 million school construction project, which was approved by voters as part of the most recent SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) renewal, was awarded to Carroll Daniel Construction.  The scheduled completion date is August 2025 with the potential it could open as early as January 2025.

School Board member Patsy Jordan, whose district includes the school, made the motion to approve the project.  “I’m excited for Free Home to get off the ground,” she said.

The School Board also reviewed a timeline for other upcoming construction projects.  Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower noted that the Creekland Middle School/Creekview High School improvements, which were delayed to allow time for adjustments due to high construction company proposals, have been separated into separate projects.  The first project, which focuses on improving the campus driveway, will be considered by the School Board for approval in May.

As part of its monthly personnel agenda item, the School Board approved the retirement of several district and school leaders and made subsequent appointments.

Dr. Catherine Head, a 30-year educator, is retiring at the end of the school year as CCSD’s curriculum support coordinator for math.  During her career, she served as a classroom teacher, teacher on special assignment and instructional lead strategist among her roles.  Stephanie Norris, a 20-year educator who currently serves as an assistant principal for River Ridge HS, has been appointed to fill the role.  She previously has served as a math teacher and a teacher on special assignment focused on math curriculum.

Greg Mason, a 34-year CCSD employee, is retiring at the end of the school year as the district’s maintenance supervisor.  During his long career, he helped the Office of Support Services rise to meet the needs of the district’s rapid growth, which now includes 6 million square feet of facility space.  Matthew Walker, a 11-year CCSD employee who currently serves as maintenance coordinator, has been appointed to fill the role.  He previously has served as lead groundskeeper, maintenance technician and maintenance zone foreman.

The school board also accepted the retirement of Macedonia ES Principal Christy Rich, a 31-year CCSD employee.  Ms. Rich began her CCSD career as a secretary, advancing as she earned her education degree to serve as a teacher, teacher on special assignment, assistant principal and principal.  A new principal will be appointed by the school board at its March meeting along with new assistant principals to fill vacancies created by promotion or retirement.

“Each of these retirees has given their all to CCSD, and our students have greatly benefitted from their expertise, dedication and care,” Dr. Hightower said.  “We wish them all the best as they pursue their next chapters.  While we can never replace them, we are fortunate to have outstanding leaders in our organization who we can appoint to take on these roles with excellence.”

A new head football coach is headed to Woodstock High School with the school board’s approval of hiring Daniel Devine.  Coach Devine, who will teach PE classes, has 20 years of experience as a teacher and coach, earning Teacher of the Year and Coach of the Year accolades.  He is a familiar face to CCSD having previously taught and coached at Etowah High School, including serving as its football defensive coordinator. He has coached teams to state finals and quarter finals and in his most recent role at West Forsyth High School, he earned the 7A Defensive Assistants of the Year award.  Learn more here.

The School Board also:

•    Heard Ms. Jordan in her Inspiration remarks recognize CCSD’s 2023 Teacher of the Year finalists.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Heard School Board member Kelly Poole in her School Board Members remarks recognize ACTIVE Academies teachers and staff;
•    Heard School Board Chair Kyla Cromer in her School Board Members remarks recognize CCSD Police Department officers;
•    Recognized Mill Creek Middle School Teacher Ann-Margaret Somers -- Named Georgia Science Teachers Association 2022-23 Teacher of the Year for Middle Schools.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD 2022-23 STAR Students and STAR Teachers.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD Class of 2023 Seniors for Being Named Candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD Regional First Lego League Robotics Competition Winners.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD 2022-23 Middle School County Academic Bowl Team Champions Creekland Middle School.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD 2022-23 Elementary School and Middle School Reading Bowl First-Place Winners.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized Liberty Elementary School -- Recognized as a State 2023 School of Character by the Nonprofit  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Recognized CCSD Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) Publication Awards.  Learn more here; [CONTENT_REVIEW InternalLink]
•    Approved Resolution Recognizing February 17, 2023 as "PTA Day in the Cherokee County School District."  See the resolution online here;
•    Approved monthly financial reports; 
•    Approved out of state staff travel;
•    Approved out of state and overnight student field trips;
•    Approved the monthly update on capital outlay projects; and,
•    Approved special lease agreements.