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Longtime Cherokee High Educator Named 'First Citizen'

Retired Cherokee High School educator Joan McFather was named the 39th First Citizen of Cherokee County.

Joan McFather. Credit: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
Joan McFather. Credit: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
A familiar face to those who attended Cherokee High School has been named the First Citizen of Cherokee County.

Joan McFather, a retired educator from the Cherokee County School District, was named the 39th recipient of the award during the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting on Thursday.

McFather taught for 30 years at Cherokee High School in 2000. While at Cherokee, McFather helped implement the school's Honor's Program, designed and implemented its Advanced Placement program, taught AP English and honor's
English, advised several student groups and directed main stage and one-act competition plays and musicals. 

The chamber was "honored" to bestow the award upon McFather, said Lewis Cline, the chamber's 2014 board chairman and community executive at Bank of North Georgia. 

"It is obvious, based upon her accomplishments, why she was selected,"he added.

McFather has been named STAR Teacher seven times while at Cherokee, had a yearbook dedicated to her and was named the 2000 Outstanding Educator.

Since retiring, McFather has been involved in several organizations, including Cherokee Chorale, Cherokee County Master Gardeners, Canton First United Methodist Church and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.

The First Citizen honor is given to a person who has lived in Cherokee County for at least five years and has "shown significant meritorious service to his or her community through family, civic and/or religious involvement," the chamber said in a news release. 

A panel made up of judges who live outside Cherokee reviews the applicants and chooses the winner. 

McFather joins a list of those who've been chosen since Canton physician Dr. Grady Coker received the first honor in 1971 and includes prestigious citizens such retired Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Frank C. Mills, III who was chosen as the 2013 First Citizen. 

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