Awards & Honors

Board Recognitions–January, 29, 2015

Congratulations! The Board recognized the following individuals or groups for outstanding accomplishments at the January 29 Board of Education meeting:

  • Walton High School Band: The year started off sunny for Walton High School’s marching band. The band represented Walton High School, Cobb County Schools, and the State of Georgia in the 126th Annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. The popular and time-honored tradition is one of the country’s favorite New Year’s events. This is the 3rd time Walton has been invited to take part in the parade.
  • North Cobb High School State AAAAAA Volleyball Champions: For the first time since 1983, North Cobb’s Volleyball Team won the state athletic championship. The team defeated North Gwinnett High School in five sets to win the Class 6A State Volleyball Championship in November. The Lady Warriors finished the season with an impressive 44-13 record. Congratulations to Head Coach James Auld and his team.
  • Kelly Paynter of Sprayberry High School: Kelly has been named Georgia Library Media Association Media Specialist of the Year. Kelly is the Media Specialist at Sprayberry High School. Kelly embraces the role of instructional partner through collaboration with classroom teachers, creation of interdisciplinary lessons, and integration of technology tools. By modelling best practices and providing professional development opportunities, she truly serves as a teacher leader in her school and in the Library Media Department.
  • Beth Finnegan of Kennesaw Elementary School- Beth was recognized as having an Exceptional Elementary Media Program at Kennesaw Elementary School. Beth’s passion and enthusiasm for her role as media specialist is abundantly apparent in her interactive lessons, her collaborative partnerships, and her creative practices. Whether in a costume or integrating technology, she consistently engages students in their learning.
  • District Employees with 40+ Years of Service: Student success is a passion of the recipients of recognition of four or more decades of service and CCSD 40 year pins. These dedicated and loyal Cobb Schools Team members have served the District faithfully and with great enthusiasm for their profession. Ranging from Fleet Maintenance to Transportation and classroom instruction, they represent our district well through their commitment and consistency. They embody our theme of One Team, One Goal: Student Success.

    • Thomas Matthews is a teacher at Eastside Elementary School. Has been with the District for 40 years.
    • James Pitner of the Maintenance Department has been with the District for 40 years.
    • Barbara Furr of the Transportation Department has been with the District for 42 years.
    • Virginia Edgar, also in Transportation, has served the District for 43 years.
    • Ronnie West, in the Fleet Maintenance Department, has served 44 years in the District.
    • Annette Hansard is a Social Studies and ESOL teacher at Osborne High School. She celebrates 45 years in Cobb.
    • Gail Whitlock is a Science teacher at Walton High School, and has been with Cobb for 43 years.
    • Betty Greer is in her 49th year of service in Cobb! She loves her work in the Transportation Department of Cobb County Schools.

Palmer Middle School Academic Team Finishes Fourth in State Competition

The Palmer Middle School Academic Team represented Cobb County in the Page Academic Team State competition on Saturday, January 24th in Milledgeville, GA. Palmer was the only Cobb County Team that advanced to this level of the competition. The team played against a field of 24 teams from across the state in the semi-finals, and advanced into the final State Championship  rounds where, Palmer  finished as 4th in the state of GA. The Page Academic Team organization had a total of 156 middle schools in Georgia register and compete in this year’s tournament.

Palmer Middle School Competition Team members are Zach El Jiche, Jackson Fowler, Laurel Henderson, Harsha Patil, Sasamon Omoma, Nneka Omoma, Abia Rahaman, Briggs Aring, Jonathan Yun, and Nevin Korbett.

Osborne Defensive Back to Represent U.S. in International Bowl


Junior Osborne Cardinals defensive Back Rashaun Taft has been selected to play for the United States Under-18 National Football Team for an upcoming exhibition against the Canadian Under-18 Team in Arlington, Texas Friday, Jan. 30.

The game is a showcase of more than 100 of North America’s top junior football players. Notable recent U.S. participants include 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of Florida State University and the University of Georgia’s All-SEC running back Todd Gurley.

The International Bowl will air at 8:30 EST on ESPN 3.


Walton High Student Designs App, Wins $20K Scholarship

Walton High School Junior Aditya Suri earned a $20,000 scholarship from Samsung by developing a mobile app for Android mobile phone users. Suri got the idea for the app after attending Samsung’s Mobile App Academy this summer.

The app, which Suri has dubbed “Mobi Sense,” is designed to assist those with hearing and vision disabilities with day-to-day communication. Pictures and video from the user’s phone can be translated into text or audio, depending on the user’s needs. The app could also translate sign language into text using the camera and video capabilities of a smartphone. Suri planned and designed the app in a two-week period.

Suri’s experience with app design began two years ago at Walton High, when he and a group of students began working on a smartphone app for the school’s robotics team.




Cobb Hosts Annual Ruffin Reading Bowl at North Cobb High

Elementary, middle and high school students vied to become the best readers in the District on Jan. 17 at the Annual Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, hosted by North Cobb High School.  Teams faced off in six rounds of fast-paced, game-show-style quizzes in which the person who buzzes in first gets to respond.

The Reading Bowl was created by Helen Ruffin, a DeKalb County library media specialist looking for a way to motivate the students at her school to read more. It was so successful that schools all across Georgia began holding their own competitions.

The Cobb County bowl was started 8 years ago by Kathi Vanderbilt, now a retired school librarian.  It has grown so much over the years that the 25+ elementary teams compete in the morning and the 15+ middle/high school teams compete in the afternoon.

To kick off each event the opening ceremonies feature a parade of schools followed by 6 competition rounds. Suspense is high as winning teams are determined by cumulative points so it’s impossible to know who wins until the closing ceremony. At last year’s bowl a parent remarked, “This is my child’s first academic competition and it’s awesome.” Winning teams at each level will advance to the regional competition.  That is followed by divisional and state competitions.  Cobb County School District has a history of producing state winners.

For more information:


Georgia Science Teachers Association Honors Two Cobb Teachers

Annette Simpson, a teacher at Keheley Elementary has been selected as the 2015 Elementary Science Teacher of the Year for the state of Georgia by the Georgia Science Teachers Association. Annette is the facilitator of the gifted resource program and has been at Keheley for more than 10 years. She is a firm believer that the most essential function of our schools/society is to prepare young people for productive and successful futures. Her professional mission is: to cultivate curiosity, elicit critical thinking, and inspire a lifelong love of learning.

At Keheley, she lives her dream everyday. She delights in the moment when a student makes a mental connection and shares excitement with a spontaneous “I get it!”

“Receiving this award is certainly very professionally fulfilling and validating, that those in the science community recognize and appreciate the passion and service I have invested in teaching science to our young people,” Simpson said. “However, I also find myself humbled and still in shock that I was chosen to be recognized as the one elementary teacher who deserves this award.”

The GTSA also announced the winners of the Science Teacher of Promise. Ginny Buttrum, a teacher at Hayes Elementary in Cobb County, has been selected as the 2015 Elementary Science Teacher of Promise for the state of Georgia by the Georgia Science Teachers Association.

Each year GSTA recognizes excellence in science teaching through the Science Teacher of Promise awards and recognition program.

The Science Teacher of Promise award recognizes the beginnings of excellence in the teaching of science and commitment to its improvement.  Outstanding achievement in elementary, middle, and high school science teaching is recognized with the selection of a state winner. All GSTA Award winners will be honored at a special awards banquet on February 6, 2015 at the Armory Ballroom.  This awards and recognition program is part of the annual GSTA Science Conference in Macon on February 5-7, 2015. The Georgia Science Teachers Association is a professional organization dedicated to improving science teaching at all levels, pre-school through university.  The mission of GSTA is to provide leadership and service for science education.  The current membership of over 2,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, and representatives of business and industry.

Cobb Athletes Nominated as McDonald’s All-Americans

McD's All-American

Cobb high school senior athletes are named to the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Games. The nominees have a chance to land a spot on the final team of 24 boys and 24 girls selected to play in the 2015 Games. Among the nominees are Osborne HS seniors Maya Benham (at left in photo), and Nikira Goings. Principal Josh Morreale says that the “Osborne Community is proud of Nikira and Maya’s success as student athletes. Everyone knows these girls are great athletes, however, they are also great kids. I am proud they are receiving so many honors based on continued hard work in the classroom and court.”

Other Cobb athletes nominated: 
Girls – McEachern HS’s Te’a Cooper and Caliya Robinson.
Boys – Campbell HS’s Dante Scott, Pebblebrook HS’s Ty Hudson, and Wheeler HS’s Jaylen Brown and Shembari Phillips.

Morgan Wootten, McDonald’s All-American Games Selection Committee Chairman, says the students “represent the finest high school basketball talent in the country. We are privileged to acknowledge these citizens for their success on the court, in the classroom and in the community, and look forward to announcing the final roster of 24 girls and 24 boys later this month.”

“The greatest players in basketball have one thing in common; they played in the McDonald’s All-American Game,” says Douglas Freeland, Director of the Games.

Thirty-six players from Georgia were nominated by high school coaches, athletic directors, principals and members of the McDonald’s All-American Games Selection Committee. 

The 2015 McDonald’s All-American Games take place on April 1 at Chicago’s United Center.

Hollydale Elementary Wins Fifth Consecutive Georgia Tech Statewide Reading Competition


Hollydale Elementary won the Georgia Tech “Jacket2Jacket” Statewide Reading competition for the fifth consecutive year Dec. 14, 2014, winning 11 of 13 awards presented. The Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball team recently recognized all the elementary and middle school participants in its eighth annual “Jacket 2 Jacket” reading program at the McCamish Pavilion on Georgia Tech’s campus in Atlanta. Hollydale was recognized during halftime of the game against Central Arkansas.

The J2J reading program, which involves elementary and middle school students in the State of Georgia, is an effort by Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball to promote and encourage children to read and learn.

Students recorded the number of pages read from Oct. 5 – Nov. 5, and prizes were awarded for the highest school total, the highest class total, the highest individual total and the highest individual from each grade.

Hollydale Elementary had the highest reading total among all elementary schools with 449,078 pages read in just one month.


Hollydale Individual Winners:

K-Sani Hollins (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 1,847 pages

1st Grade -Jaquelin Gutierrez (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 3,326 pages

2nd Grade- Tie: Matthew Moore & Christian Moore (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 9,418

4th Grade-Breona Long (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 30,600

5th Grade-Jawaher Kanla (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 31,572

Hollydale Classroom Winners:

K- Ms. Reid (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 14,601 pages

1st Grade -Ms. Benavides (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 12,146 pages

4th Grade -Ms. Cater (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 52,260 pages

5th Grade -Ms. Garcia (Hollydale Elementary School) @ 89,975 pages

Overall Individual Winner from Hollydale – Jawaher Kahla @ 31,572

Winning School -Hollydale Elementary School @ 449,078 pages

Shallowford Falls Student Named Ace Hardware’s ‘Miracle Student of the Year’

Parker Grelecki is an Ace Hardware All-Star and the face for the 2015-2016 Ace Hardware Miracle Child of the Year.  Grelecki is a student at Shallowford Falls Elementary School. An Ace Hardware All-Star is someone who helps others, does great things, is brave and goes above and beyond the call of duty as a role model for others. Parker was presented as an Ace Hardware All-Star on January 8 at a “Super Secret” school assembly. Parker’s photo will be displayed on signs and posters in more than 4, 000 Ace Hardware stores nationwide. Parker’s image and his personal story will encourage customers to donate money to help support children’s hospitals all over the country. Parker’s face and story will encourage customers to donate money to help other kids in children’s hospitals all over the county.

Parker kicked off the excitement himself with a donation to a hospital he knows well: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As the Ace All-Star, his first act as national representative was to award the hospital a $10, 000 donation. In addition, Parker has a chance to visit Ace Hardware stores across the U.S. He also enjoyed a trip to Walt Disney World, courtesy of Ace Hardware.

Campbell High School Wins ‘Greenopoly’ Game Contest

Among the three winning teams’ members: (right to left) Christoph Sander, Consul General of Germany, Dr. Svetoslava Dimova, teacher of the winning students, and Iris Schultz, Adviser for Public Affairs in the German Consulate.

Campbell High’s IB French classes recently won first, second and third prize of the Greenopoly Board Game Contest sponsored by the German Consulate General in Atlanta in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Education.  Their  French teacher is Dr. Svetoslava Dimova.

The contest invited all Georgia students to study the environmental problems our society is facing today in the U.S. and abroad, and to come up with creative solutions to real-world problems. The submitted board games had to reflect ideas about reducing the daily waste, helping to keep rivers and oceans clean, reduce traffic and air pollution, and work on other problems that are destroying our planet. Two IB French classes at Campbell High School researched different environmental issues, created six teams and submitted six entries.  All games had at least English and French versions, although the judging panel did not take their multilingual versions into account.

Since all winners of the contest came from Campbell High School, on December 4th, the Consul General of the Republic of Germany Christoph Sander came to personally hand to the winners a check for $6,000 – the total of the three prizes. The money will be spent for advancing international education and global environmental awareness. Among the guests at the ceremony were: Dr. Greg Barfield from the GA DOE, German Suarez, ESOL & Foreign Language Supervisor at CCSD and Olivia, Carter and Jim Ries from OMG (One More Generation), a non-profit organization for youth empowerment in the environmental conservation.

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