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School District Honors School Partners, Community Volunteers

The Cherokee County School District in March held its first Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Recognition Ceremony.

Russ Sanders, owner of FactoryMation, is congratulated by School Board Chair Janet Read
Russ Sanders, owner of FactoryMation, is congratulated by School Board Chair Janet Read

From the Cherokee County School District

The Cherokee County School District last month embarked on a new tradition of recognizing its its top partners and volunteers with its first CCSD Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Recognition Ceremony. 

The ceremony, held on Tuesday, March 18 at Cherokee High School, recognized both a Partner of the Year and a Volunteer of the Year for each individual school and center and also made the surprise announcement of the district's Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year selected from that pool of candidates. 

FactoryMation, the Cherokee High School partner of the year, was named the district's 2014 Partner of the Year, and Carolyn Timcoe, the Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy Volunteer of the Year, was named the Cherokee's 2014 Volunteer of the Year.

"We salute you; we appreciate you; and we wish we could clone you," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo told the crowd of more than 70 honorees and their guests. "Since that is not possible, we hope that by sharing the story of your service, others will be inspired to join you in caring for our students and schools.  For caring is what you do… with every deposit you make in our schools of your time, your energy and your talents. Thank you, thank you, thank you."  

For the last 15 years, the district has seen the level of support of its partners and volunteer grow to extraordinary levels, which "has made all the difference as the school district has grappled with state funding cuts and larger class sizes while continuing its strong support of innovation in the classroom and district-wide initiatives to enhance academics," according to a news release.  

This year, Cherokee decided to make recognizing and encouraging business partners and community volunteers an even bigger priority for the district.   

Some of the ways the Cherokee County School District is accomplishing this mission include:

  • The creation of Companies That Care, an umbrella program that not only supports the existing outstanding Partners in Education program through the Chamber of Commerce, but also offers other businesses and organizations the opportunity to become official partners;
  • The establishment of a school-level partner and volunteer recognition system, which culminated in the ceremony on Tuesday evening that will be an annual event. Each school and center is invited to select its own Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. The honorees are to be exceptional and dedicated partners and volunteers, who inspire other partners and volunteers and have earned their respect and admiration. These honorees also are in the running to earn the title of CCSD Partner of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.  A committee of retired educators selects the two district winners; and,
  • Later this spring, the district will for the first time recognize its most outstanding partnerships from the long list of systemic partnerships with the community’s major businesses and organizations. These Platinum Awards will recognize significant contributions to the district as a whole and will be presented at an upcoming school board meeting. 

“This event is a result of the school board’s and superintendent’s desire to provide recognition for our outstanding partners and volunteers both in individual schools and districtwide,” School Board Chair Janet Read said during her remarks on Tuesday evening. “The school board is very appreciative of every one of our partners and volunteers, especially the more than 70 who are with us tonight to be recognized. On behalf of the Cherokee County School Board, we extend our congratulations to this year’s Partners of the Year and Volunteers of the Year and to their families.”  

The ceremony was sponsored by the Cherokee County Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization which raises funds for the district.  

Following the ceremony, which included tributes and the presentation of plaques to all honorees, a reception was held in the auditorium lobby.  The honorees were joined at the event by their families, principals of the schools that they support and other special guests including Read, School Board Vice Chair Robert Wofford and School Board member Rick Steiner. 

When the surprise announcements were made of the district's partner of the year and volunteer of the year, both honorees received standing ovations from the audience. As the honorees took to the stage, excerpts were read from the nomination letters submitted by the principals of the schools that they support. 

“Mr. Sanders fully understands the power of a community working together in support of a quality education,” Cherokee High School Principal Debra Murdock said of Russ Sanders, owner of FactoryMation. “We have several mottos at Cherokee High School; one of my personal favorites is ‘Saving the World, one Child at a time,’ a sentiment that Russ Sanders understands better than any community member I have ever known.” 

Through its financial and in-kind support, FactoryMation has helped Cherokee High students earn pilot’s licenses, learn to build electric cars, attend Georgia Tech, travel to Costa Rica and much more. Sanders, in addition to being a partner in education, serves on the Principal’s Parent Advisory Team and on the Boosters boards for several sports and organizations.   

“Russ never misses the opportunity to advise, support and champion the vision we have for our Cherokee High community,” Murdock said. “It is empowering, exciting and liberating to have a true partner for our school, a business world champion who believes with us that we still can save the world, one kid at a time.” 

Three years ago, Carolyn Timcoe, a retired special needs school bus driver from the Boston area, moved to Ball Ground and looked for a place to volunteer. She found Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy and never left.  

Her “home base” is the media center — every day from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but she answers the call for help in the school wherever it leads her. 

“Carolyn’s contribution is extraordinary for many reasons, but perhaps the most outstanding is the amount of time she gives,” Principal Doug Knott said. “To quote Carolyn, ‘I like to stay busy,’ and she definitely does, helping out wherever she is needed.” 

Teachers at the school have high praise for Timcoe, and her willingness to serve so tirelessly at a school that she was only connected to as a neighbor in the same community. 

“It’s so nice to have a dependable volunteer assist with the many duties at school.  Carolyn is kind and caring and always asks to help,” third-grade teacher Karen Coltrane said.  “Carolyn spends countless hours working for the good of the community.  We are so thankful for Carolyn and her hard work.” 

A page on the district's website will honor school-level and CCSD winners; photos and tributes for all of the winners from the recognition ceremony will be posted and archived. 

2013-14 Partners of the Year

Arnold Mill ES: Northside Hospital-Cherokee

Ball Ground ES STEM Academy: Awnex

Bascomb ES: Championship Martial Arts

Boston ES: Clyde M. Holmes – INVEST Financial Corporation

Canton ES STEM Academy: The Rotary Club of Canton

Carmel ES: Stevi B’s Pizza of Woodstock

Cherokee HS: Factorymation

Clark Creek ES STEM Academy: Race Trac

Creekland MS: Trotter & Patel Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Creekview HS: Chick-fil-A of Canton

Dean Rusk MS: Robyn Adams – Horace Mann Insurance

E.T. Booth MS: Clyde M. Holmes – INVEST Financial Corporation

Etowah HS: Chick-fil-A of Towne Lake

Free Home ES: Cherokee County Farm Bureau

Freedom MS: Chick-fil-A of Canton

Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy: Rotary Club of Cherokee County

Hickory Flat ES: Delta Credit Union

Holly Springs ES STEM Academy: Stevi B’s Pizza of Canton

Indian Knoll ES: Starbucks – Canton Marketplace

Johnston ES: Chick-fil-A Dwarf House of Woodstock

Knox ES: Brian Ergle

Liberty ES: Williams Orthodontics

Macedonia ES: Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant of Canton

Mill Creek MS: Chick-fil-A Dwarf House of Woodstock

Mountain Road ES: Chick-fil-A Dwarf House of Woodstock

Oak Grove ES Fine Arts Academy: The Goddard School

R.M. Moore ES: Waleska United Methodist Church

Ralph Bunche Center: The Soleil Tennis Charity Committee

River Ridge HS: Just Driver Training

Sequoyah HS: Johnny’s NY-Style Pizza – Hickory Flat

Sixes ES: Marco’s Pizza

Teasley MS: Oak Leaf Church

Tippens Education Center: North Canton Baptist Church

Woodstock ES: Pillow Perfect

Woodstock HS: Just Driver Training

Woodstock MS: Chick-fil-A of Towne Lake

2013-14 Volunteers of the Year

Arnold Mill ES: Lindsey Andrews

Avery ES: Brooke Smerjac

Ball Ground ES STEM Academy: Carolyn Timcoe

Bascomb ES: Mike McCoy

Boston ES: Tara Forrester

Canton ES STEM Academy: Deana Bearden

Carmel ES: Stacy Franks

Cherokee HS: Melanie Rockey

Clark Creek ES STEM Academy: Jerri Crenshaw

Creekland MS: Jana Cody

Creekview HS: Beth Cooley

Dean Rusk MS: Cheryl Saigh

E.T. Booth MS: Kellie Bonniwell

Etowah HS: Bill Lundeen

Free Home ES: Susan Finch

Freedom MS: Betsy Fried

Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy: Mary Latona

Hickory Flat ES: Kim Woloshuk

Holly Springs ES STEM Academy: Kelly Turner

Indian Knoll ES: Monica Jordan

Johnston ES: Jennifer Bradley

Knox ES: Selena Smith

Liberty ES: Amanda Hennessy

Little River ES: Ambrea Holman

Little River Preschool: Vanette Pierce

Macedonia ES: Amy Upchurch

Mill Creek MS: Janet Brown

Mountain Road ES: Debra Matulevicus

Oak Grove Preschool: Charelle Rease

Ralph Bunche Center: The Helping Hands of Heritage Baptist Church

River Ridge HS: Bobby Nama

Sequoyah HS: Wendy Nicholls

Sixes ES: Lauren Beatty

Teasley MS: Will Goodwin

Woodstock ES: Jennifer Maude

Woodstock HS: Allen Shulman

Woodstock MS: Rosa Gilbert-Hitchcock

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