The Cherokee County School District’s third annual VILLA Program, which encourages and celebrates parent engagement, saw record participation this year.

The award-winning parent academy program began two years ago in CCSD as a test initiative developed with the Georgia School Boards Association and with the support of Cherokee County School Board Chairwoman Kyla Cromer, who championed the idea. CCSD’s VILLA program this month earned GSBA’s inaugural Leading Edge Award, which recognizes innovative practices by governance teams and school districts.

In response to the program’s popularity, this fall, for the first time, a morning session and an evening session were offered to expand enrollment, with 37 parents completing the program and graduating at the school board’s November meeting.

“We greatly appreciate the growing number of parents who want to learn more about our school district and how they can better support our schools and our students,” Cromer said. “Parent engagement is critical to our success, and the school board and I see VILLA as an important way for us to foster that engagement.”

VILLA (Volunteer Instructional Leadership Learning Academy) is a free six-week program that offers participants the opportunity to learn more about the public schools in their community. Topics including school operations, governance, funding and accountability are covered in classes that include presentations by CCSD staff and question-and-answer sessions with the School Board and Superintendent of Schools, as well as a field trip to schools. The program concludes with a dinner and graduation ceremony.

Costs associated with the program are funded through the generous sponsorship of Credit Union of Georgia, a CCSD Partner.

Class size is limited, with participants selected by application (the 2020 application window will begin in May); classes are held in the fall and culminate with graduation at the school board’s November meeting.

VILLA Class of 2019:

  • Kari Armstrong
  • Amanda Bailey
  • Nicole Balejcsik
  • Dina Beeler
  • Jennifer Benns
  • Kim Beumel
  • Julie Carter
  • Bonnie Clark
  • Heather Crachi
  • Ashley Nettles Davey
  • Lynn Epps
  • Ashley Frey
  • Scott Grayson
  • Suzy Griffies
  • Amanda Griffin
  • Antoniqua Harris
  • Michelle Jones
  • Amy Kuleszynski
  • Alicia Lakhansingh
  • Heather Lawless
  • Audrey Legrand
  • Bob McNally
  • Angela Milko
  • Patricia Mwisa-Okoth
  • Kelly Nagel
  • Staci Powell
  • James Pugh, Jr.
  • Kathy Sanders
  • Chanda Schwab
  • Megan Sparger
  • Scott Steinbrenner
  • Heather Stray
  • Anna Tang
  • Erin Thomas
  • Jennifer Ward
  • Tara Watkins
  • Heather Zambrano

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