Awards & Honors

South Cobb Graduate Becomes 2015 Rhodes Scholar

South Cobb High School graduate Ridwan Hassen (’12 C) has been named a 2015 Rhodes scholar by the Rhodes Trust.

Hassen is a senior at Dartmouth College, where he is majoring in Computer Science modified with Neuroscience. Before Dartmouth, he attended Emory University for two years. The child of refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia, he has always worked to help support his large family, up to 30 hours per week, all the while achieving a superb academic record and leading many campus and community activities. Ridwan founded a global development project focused on the Horn of Africa, was a volunteer coordinator for the NAACP and founded Emory’s first AIDS activist organization. He has done neurobiology research at UCSF, and on an implicated gene in Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is an active mentor of students and a community activist at South Cobb. He is a member of the Dartmouth Endurance Racing Team and competes in many mid- and long-distance runs. Ridwan plans to complete a Master in Public Policy degree at Oxford.

Ridwan Y. Hassen

Ridwan Y. Hassen

About the Rhodes Scholarships

Each year, 32 young Americans are selected as Rhodes Scholars, through a decentralized process representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Applicants from more than 300 American colleges and universities have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. In most years, even after a century of competition, a Rhodes Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements, but for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in whatever domains their careers may lead. The Rhodes Trust, a British charity established to honor the will and bequest of Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full financial support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree or degrees at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom in partnership with the Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.”

Cobb Schools Foundation Announces 2014 Teacher IMPACT Grant Recipients

The Cobb Schools Foundation would like to congratulate the 2014 Teacher IMPACT Grant winners. Thank you to everyone who applied.  The Foundation received 87 amazing grant applications.  This year, the Foundation is awarding more than $22,000 in grants to teachers for creative and innovative ideas in education.

Congratulations to our IMPACT Grant recipients!


Jenny Taylor – Chalker ES “Portable Science Classroom” $309.57

Lori Kotarba – Kincaid ES “Calm Down Caddies” $500

Angie Dowling – Kell HS “Making Literature Alive for ESOL students” $650

Diana Bishop – Lassiter HS “American Sign Language Club” $2,265.67

Cynthia Pragovich – Nicholoson ES “Portable Writing Lab” $1,310

Sarah Dupuis – Keheley ES “Enlarging eBook Collection” $1,500

Angela Mack – Norton Park ES “There’s an App for That!” $1,000

Richard White – Griffin MS “Griffin’s Got Science” $2,500

Tida Bruce-Banfield – Mableton ES “Getting IN Gear – WeDo Robotics” $2,460

Deryl Heflin – Nickajack ES “Using Digital Microscopes in the K-5 Classroom” $2,040

Dr. Ellen Campbell – CCSD Special Student Services “DanceFit for Adaptive PE” $427 (In partnership with the Atlanta Hawks)

Wendy Astin – Sanders ES  “Creation Lab” $1,000

Dr. Joanne Jezequel – Kennesaw Mountain HS “A Box of Bones” $1,710

Dr. Scott Schomer – Harrison HS “Formative Assessment White Boards” $560

Kimberly Johnson – Harrison HS “TI Navigator System” $2,481.89

McKenzie Gay – Lewis ES “Making Chicken Soup for the Special Needs Soul” $500

Pam Thompson – Pickett’s Mill ES “Hard Work Pays Off – Book Publishing for Young Authors” $387

Nikki Brooks – Bullard ES “Reprogrammable Robots” $680.36

Since 2005, the Cobb Schools Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to teachers in Cobb County School District.  These grants are only made possible by business partnerships and fundraising efforts, including the Annual Gimme 5 for Education campaign, golf tournament, Leaders & Legends Ball and more!  For more information about the Foundation or to make a donation, please visit

Cobb Students Win WaterSmart Art Competition



Eight student artists from Cobb County were recognized as winners in the WaterSmart Art Competition. This competition, sponsored by the Cobb and Paulding Water Authority, encourages middle school students in Cobb and Paulding counties to research why water is important and how they can be responsible citizens who support water conservation. These eight students have their artwork published in this year’s calendar and will be water ambassadors helping to educate their families, friends and peers. This year’s contest had the most participation ever from middle schools with hundreds of entries from our Cobb visual arts programs.







Mabry MS Art Teacher Receives Georgia Art Education Award



















Kacie Kamins Mummert, art teacher at Mabry Middle School in Cobb County, received the Georgia Art Education Association’s Middle Level Art Educator of the Year Award for 2015. She received her award at this year’s Fall conference in Macon. Kacie is a dynamic teacher who has worked to build an exceptional art program at her school. She also has helped to organize major art events in the county and has established collaborative partnerships with the High and Zuckerman Museums.

Austell Elementary Student Wins District Bus Safety Poster Contest

Janett Enriquez















Janett Enriquez, a fifth grader at Austell Elementary, won first place in the Bus Safety Poster Contest for Cobb County School District  in grades 3-5.

LaBelle Elementary Counselor Receives State Award
Emily DeVane (left) presents Courtney Waller (right) with the Georgia Coordinator of the Year Award for the Pennies for Patients Campaign

Emily DeVane (left) presents Courtney Waller (right) with the Georgia Coordinator of the Year Award for the Pennies for Patients Campaign

Emily DeVane from the Georgia Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society visited LaBelle Elementary School to kick off the Pennies for Patients Campaign. She surprised the school counselor,  Courtney Waller, with the Georgia Coordinator of the Year Award! The Pennies for Patients Campaign raises money to support research and finding a cure for blood cancers.

Courtney lost her twin sister, Kim, to Hodgkins Lymphoma several years ago.

Mableton Elementary Wins 2014 STEM Education Award
Mableton Elementary wins 2014 STEM Education Award

Pictured are: Sam Lim, Cisco Systems, Kym Eisgruber, Principal, Dana Jones, Academic Coach, and Brady Cannon, Program Director TAG Savannah

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) announced in September that Mableton Elementary School has been named as the Elementary category winner for the  2014 Georgia STEM Education Awards.

The Georgia STEM Education Awards recognizes schools, programs, and companies for outstanding efforts and achievements in supporting and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education in Georgia.

Winners competed in 8 different categories in the statewide event. “It was truly a challenge to choose from among the many applicants from around Georgia,” said Tino Mantella, president & CEO of TAG. “We applaud this year’s winners for standing out as leaders in Georgia’s educational community.”

Winners were announced during a special awards gala on September 26th, held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.  The event was sponsored in part by Promethean and Cisco Systems Inc.

 “It is so gratifying to see STEM education gaining momentum throughout the state of Georgia,” said Michael Robertson, executive director of TAG-Ed. “In order for our students to be prepared for tomorrow’s careers, they must first acquire strong analytical and problem solving skills through rigorous coursework in school. The programs highlighted today are leading the way in this effort and sharing best practices that will prepare our students for the challenges ahead. “

About Mableton Elementary School

To address changes in demographics and socio-economic levels, Mableton began to implement the STEM initiative in the fall of 2012.  The process began as a grassroots effort of teachers, parents, administrators and district personnel who recognized the need for STEM in the school and community.  Since its inception, the STEM program has become a model for the school district and is in the process of obtaining state STEM certification.  Mableton’s STEM program has evolved into a rigorous, relevant program deeply rooted in problem solving, discovery, and collaboration not only for students, but teachers as well.  Through the completion of teacher-created design challenges, our students are developing strong content knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math while learning the 21st century skills needed for college and career readiness.   The Mableton teachers have alsoreceived 20+ hours of professional developmentin STEM that includes building a foundation and developing enhanced teachingpractices.

Our STEM program is on the way to being one of the best in the state.  Not only does it link of our actions and strategies for improved student achievement together, it gives students who would not have normally had the opportunities to experience, a challenging, problem-based program to do so.  We are hopeful that we can continue to expand the program with even more innovative, cutting edge resources and materials in the future,” said Kym Eisgruber, Principal.


About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 24,000 members and hosting over 200 events each year. TAG serves as an umbrella organization for 33 industry societies, each of which provides rich content for TAG constituents. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy. For more information visit the TAG website at or TAG’s community website at


About TAG Education Collaborative

TAG Education Collaborative is dedicated to developing science, technology, engineering and math initiatives in Georgia. Through partnerships with statewide STEM programs, TAG-Ed fosters student interest in STEM in order to increase appreciation for the opportunities available through technology careers. TAG-Ed hosts an internship program for high school students, two web-based team challenges for students interested in Health IT and web design, and the Vine Event, an annual fundraiser benefiting STEM education. For additional information, visit TAG Education Collaborative or contact Michael Robertson at (404) 920 – 2038 or


For more information about TAG and the Third Annual Georgia STEM Education Awards visit:




CCSD Honored at State Capitol for Farm-to-School Achievements

Cynthia Downs and Kelly Toon of Food and Nutrition Services received the Golden Radish Award at the State Capitol Oct. 6 on behalf of CCSD.

ATLANTA—Cobb CountySchool District was recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide farm to school distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive farm to school programs.

The school district was one of 30 honored at the state capitol for this extraordinary work by State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney.

Cobb County School District was recognized at the Honorary level for their accomplishments during the last school year, which include:

  • Locally grown food items were featured in school meals 13 times.
  • There are 45 schools with edible gardens in the district, all varying in size and produce.
  • Students participated in 20 hands-on cooking activities using mobile kitchen carts for nutrition education and cooking demonstrations.

The 2014 Golden Radish Award recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school during the 2013-2014 school year—from local food procurement to hosting taste tests to gardening with students—and is awarded at Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorary Levels to districts with varying levels of farm to school programs.

“When children are offered fresh, locally sourced foods, they are more prepared for learning today, and more likely to continue healthy habits tomorrow,” said Dr. Barge. “At the same time, their school is supporting local agriculture, which has been and will continue to be an anchor of Georgia’s economy. It’s a positive thing from so many angles.”

“With these great farm to school programs, including our Feed My School for a Week program, students discover the role agriculture plays in their daily lives,” said Commissioner Black. “These programs not only provide children more healthy alternatives and promote local producers, but also bring communities together for a great cause.”

“Poor nutrition can cause health problems, overweight and obesity,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Half or more of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and farm to school programs have been shown to increase student consumption of these foods. The Georgia Department of Public Health has been a long-time partner and supporter of Georgia’s farm to school efforts and we’re pleased to see the movement’s leaders recognized today.”

“We are so proud of the school district leaders being recognized through the Golden Radish Award,” said Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney. “In reviewing the applications, it’s clear that farm to school programs are popping up all over Georgia, and that Georgia school districts are committed to continuing to grow and support thriving programs.”

The award publicly recognizes and honors school districts for their hard work in the variety of farm to school programs they offer students. Districts were evaluated on their work in ten different activities of farm to school.

The 30 school systems being recognized are:

Gold Level
Atlanta Public Schools
Burke County Public School System
Carrollton City Schools
City Schools of Decatur
Clarke County School District
Habersham County Schools
Jackson County School System
Laurens County Schools

Silver Level
Bibb County School District
Bleckley County School District
Fulton County Schools

Bronze Level
Commerce City Schools
Dougherty County School System
Forsyth County Schools
Grady County Schools
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
Tift County Schools

Honorary Level
Barrow County School System
Cobb County School District
Crisp County School System
Decatur County Schools
DeKalb County School District
Gwinnett County Public Schools
Hall County Schools
Madison County School District
Marietta City Schools
Newton County Schools
Peach County Schools
Rabun County Schools
Richmond County School System

Hillgrove High Wind Symphony Earns National Recognition
2014 Hillgrove KSU Concert

The Hillgrove Concert Band at a recent concert at Kennesaw State University

The Hillgrove Wind Symphony was recently recognized by the Foundation for Music Education’s “Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors” as a National Winner in their annual recording competition.

Hillgrove submitted a recording of their Performance Evaluation Concert, featuring Symphony for Band by Vincent Persichetti. The band was adjudicated by Richard Floyd, Steve Davis and Anthony Maiello and it was determined that the ensemble was in the top 25% of recordings submitted. There were 224 submissions from 35 states this year.

Additionally, Hillgrove was the only 5A High School ensemble recognized outside the state of Texas.

The ensemble’s recording will be featured on a compilation CD of the National Winners that will be distributed nationally, as well as electronic distribution by Mark Records.

“Hillgrove would like to thank all the students, staff and community members for all their support in our musical endeavors,” Hillgrove Director of Bands Patrick Erwin said.  “Special thanks go to Christopher M. Ferrell, Supervisor of Instrumental Music, for his undying support of all our music programs.  Mr. Ferrell was the head band director at Hillgrove for 7 years, and is to be credited a great deal for our success.”

The award letter and winners list can be found here:

Eleven Cobb Title I Schools Recognized As Reward Schools For Highest Progress

Eleven Cobb County Title I schools were commended by the Georgia Department of Education for making three consecutive years of overall academic progress. The Georgia DOE’s 2014 lists of Reward Schools identify 11 Cobb County schools in the “Highest Progress” category, out of just 146 Title I schools that were named statewide.

The number of Highest Progress schools in Cobb more than doubled from 2013 when just five Cobb schools received the same honor. Recipient schools are: Belmont Hills, Bryant, Clay, Compton, Fair Oaks, and Powers Ferry elementary schools; Lindley 6th Grade Academy; Griffin and Smitha middle schools; and Osborne and Pebblebrook high schools.

Title I schools receive additional federal funding based on their higher percentage of students from low-income families. There are 44 Title I schools in the Cobb County School District. Highest Progress schools are identified as the top 10 percent of Title I schools in the state having the highest progress in performance on the College and Career Ready Performance Index for “all students” over a three-year period. To be recognized, a school cannot also be identified as a Priority School, Focus School or Alert School.

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