Brian Hightower with Caleb Guy

Cherokee County School District Superintendent laughs with Caleb Guy.

The Cherokee County School District and its superintendent of schools are finalists for national awards recognizing the best in school spirit and dedication to schools and students.

The Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards celebrate schools, organizations and individuals who “go above and beyond the call of duty to build school pride, student engagement and community spirit.”

Superintendent Brian Hightower has been selected as a finalist for the 2020 Most Spirited Superintendent Award. The award recognizes leaders who show exemplary commitment to “elevating and improving the student experience.”

Hightower was nominated for his vision of creating CCSD’s Social and Emotional Learning initiative and his efforts to advocate for students and staff and celebrate their success and achievements. He is one of only six superintendents nationwide selected as a finalist.

“My goal is to make every child in CCSD feel like our most valuable player,” Hightower said. “That is the spirit that guides my work and that influences my leadership of our great school district. It’s such an honor and so humbling to be recognized for our Social and Emotional Learning initiative — we truly can do nothing more important as educators than ensuring our students know we care about them and believe they will succeed.”

For the second consecutive year, CCSD was selected as a finalist for the Varsity Brands’ Spirit of St. Jude recognition. Only 10 finalists were named from nominees nationwide.

The Spirit of St. Jude award, named for the children’s research hospital, honors schools and school districts that engage the majority of its students in fundraising for the charity, which is a major recipient of Varsity Brands’ philanthropy. As a Varsity Brands “Team Up” for St. Jude school district, the CCSD community has raised approximately $200,000 over the past four years to benefit the hospital.

The award winners will be announced on May 9 during a ceremony at Disney World’s Epcot Center. Varsity Brands is made up of BSN Sports, Varsity Spirit and Herff Jones, with products including athletic equipment and uniforms, cheerleading camps and competitions, graduation products, class rings and yearbooks.

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