Dr. Nicole Holmes, a longtime educator and administrator who serves as director of school operations overseeing the Cherokee County School District’s elementary schools, has been named the new chief academic officer to lead the system’s educational programs division beginning July 1.

The position, referred to as assistant superintendent but transitioning July 1 with other senior staff titles to a “chief” structure, is held by Susan McCarthy, who announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Per Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower’s recommendation, the school board’s approval is required later this month to promote Holmes to this position.

“Dr. Holmes will bring to the role a deep understanding of best practices in classroom instruction and data analysis, as well as strong management, collaboration and communication skills,” Hightower said. “She is passionate about teaching and using results for continuous improvement, which is the perfect fit for a leader to guide this division, as it continues the important work now underway to implement Instructional Framework standards for our teachers, the Canvas learning management system and the planned introduction of new English language arts resources.”

Holmes, who has 22 years of educational experience including 14 years in leadership, earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Spelman College followed by a master’s degree in the field from Brenau University. She earned leadership and supervision certification from Jacksonville State University and her doctorate in teacher leadership from Walden University.

After teaching in Atlanta and Cobb public schools, Holmes joined CCSD in 2002 as assistant principal of Bascomb Elementary School and continued in that role for three years. She served as an administrator on special assignment in CCSD’s Office of School Operations for two years and then led Liberty Elementary School as its principal from 2007 to 2014, during which time the school won numerous awards such as the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principal’s School Bell Award and the SSTAGE State Award for its response to intervention program that assists students struggling academically.

In her current role as director of school operations, which she began in 2014, Holmes has achieved goals including redesigning the principal evaluation process, redefining the social worker program and creating a repertoire of best practices for school-based leaders.

“As a leader, I believe I am organized, focused, dedicated and well-equipped as a collaborative decision-maker who continues to work to include the voice of students, staff and community to create a rigorous, nurturing and motivating environment for all students,” said Holmes, who is married with two children. “I strongly believe that my skill set will ensure an effective operation and instructional efficiency of schools by providing support that is essential to increasing student achievement.”

Holmes has received numerous honors and special appointments during her career including being tapped for the Governor’s Education Advisory Board for Principals, winning the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Award and being named a Cherokee County “Rising Star Under 40.”

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