The Cherokee County School Board has earned the state’s highest designation for performance.

The Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) awarded the Cherokee County School Board its 2020 Exemplary School Board designation. The statewide recognition program honors school boards that consistently meet standards of excellence and model best practices; it is a three-tiered program, and Exemplary is the highest level of achievement. In order to earn this status, school boards must demonstrate 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.

For the second consecutive year, the School Board also has earned GSBA’s Leading Edge Award in the Culture, Climate and Organizational Efficacy category. The awards recognize innovative practices by school boards and school districts in seven categories. This year, the board’s Student Advisor and Student Delegates to the School Board program earned the honor, following last year’s recognition for its VILLA parent academy.

“These two honors speak directly to how our School Board views its role: to lead and govern following the highest standards possible and to keep its focus on putting students first at all times, and especially in policy-making decisions,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “Our School Board is considered among the best in our State, and I am so appreciative of their public service and proud of them for this well-deserved recognition.”

The School Board is made up of Chairwoman Kyla Cromer, Vice Chairwoman Kelly Poole (District 1), Patsy Jordan (District 2), John Harmon (District 3), Robert “Rick Steiner” Rechsteiner (District 4), Clark Menard (District 5) and Mike Chapman (District 6). The awards were presented by GSBA during its annual conference this month, at which Mr. Steiner also was recognized for achieving 15 years of service, joining Mr. Chapman, who now is in his 16th year, in what is a very elite group statewide of long-serving school leaders.

Through the Student Advisor and Student Delegates to the School Board program, an outstanding senior from each of CCSD’s high schools has the opportunity to serve as a representative of their school at School Board meetings. The Delegates are called upon to provide feedback not only to assist School Board members in policy-making, but also to aid the Superintendent and his senior staff in the development of new initiatives and improvement of existing programs. Dr. Hightower noted the Delegates’ invaluable contributions last school year to helping develop both CCSD’s Social and Emotional Learning initiative and its Blueprint long-range strategic plan.

“As School Board members, we dedicate ourselves to serving the best interest of our students, but our own personal experiences as students often are many years behind us,” Cromer said. “Hearing firsthand from our current students about how our policymaking will impact their education is invaluable to us as elected leaders, and no initiative serves us better in this regard than our Student Advisor and Student Delegates to the School Board program.”

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