The Cherokee County School District this week launched its inaugural parent academy program.
Developed by the Georgia School Boards Association, VILLA (Volunteer Instructional Leadership Learning Academy) offers parents the opportunity to learn more about the public schools in their community. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, CCSD became the first school district in the state to pilot the program and will be featured in a GSBA video to promote VILLA.
School Board Chair Kyla Cromer brought up the idea of creating such a program during her re-election campaign, and said she was glad to partner with GSBA to make it a reality.
“The goal is for you to learn more about CCSD and take what you learn back out into the community and be advocates for CCSD,” Board Chair Cromer told the inaugural class during its first session on Tuesday night.
Applications were accepted from parents throughout the community, and the class of 16 participants will attend six sessions this fall including a field trip to several CCSD schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said he hopes to make the free program an annual offering, noting the first session was a great success.
“We truly appreciate the community’s interest in learning more about our operations and joining our School Board and employees in advocating for public education, our schools and our students,” Dr. Hightower said. “Our schools are stronger with our community involved, and VILLA is an outstanding opportunity to engage with parents.”
Through VILLA, participants will learn more about CCSD, including an overview of its governance model and the role of School Board members, Major System Priorities and CCSD day-to-day operations. The program includes question-and-answer sessions with School Board members, the Superintendent and senior staff. The program ends with a graduation dinner, sponsored by CCSD partner, Credit Union of Georgia.
Inaugural class members are: Donnamarie Alcott, Jamie Bobo, Buster Cushing, Robert Ditchen, Judith Dobbs, Samantha Dunn, Lauren Hekking, Bob Kovacs, Monica Orrico, Corrie Riggs, Robin Schorr, Katie Roller Shulz, Dawn Stastny, Kathy Strom, Kyle Tomeny and Kathy Winiarczyk.
PHOTO 1: The inaugural CCSD VILLA class members take a group photo with School Board Members and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and members of his senior staff, and Lisa-Marie Haygood of the Georgia School Boards Association. Class members are: Donnamarie Alcott, Jamie Bobo, Buster Cushing, Robert Ditchen, Judith Dobbs, Samantha Dunn, Lauren Hekking, Bob Kovacs, Monica Orrico, Corrie Riggs, Robin Schorr, Katie Roller Shulz, Dawn Stastny, Kathy Strom, Kyle Tomeny and Kathy Winiarczyk. Not pictured: Bob Kovacs.
PHOTO 2: School Board Member Kelly Poole speaks to the VILLA class during its first session, as Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower looks on.
PHOTO 3: The class of 16 parents from the community will attend six VILLA sessions presented by the Cherokee County School Board and CCSD staff.