The Cherokee County School Board is made up of six members, elected by posts, and a chair who is elected countywide. With the retirement of longtime board members Mike Chapman and Clark Menard, the community had the opportunity to elect two new representatives. Susan Padgett-Harrison and Erin Ragsdale won those elections and took the oath of office in January.
They join an award-winning group of elected officials, who collectively have served nearly 50 years.
The board holds monthly public meetings at which they handle business, including approving policy changes, the annual budget, significant expenditures (such as construction projects), new curriculum adoption, hiring the superintendent of schools and much more. As part of this governance role, they research issues, undergo annual training and maintain constituent communications.
Board members also serve the community in many other ways, such as through participation in school activities — ranging from serving as academic competition judges to volunteering as guest readers to speaking at career day events.
Chair Kyla Cromer of BridgeMill is in her 10th year on the school board and her ninth year as chair. A former elementary school teacher and longtime PTA leader, she is mom to two Cherokee County School District graduates.
District 1: Kelly Poole of BridgeMill joined the board in 2015 after longtime service with the PTA. She is an accountant and mom to two CCSD graduates.
District 2: Patsy Jordan of Yellow Creek served CCSD during her career as a school custodian, school bus driver and teacher. After retiring from CCSD, Jordan joined the board in 2012 and now teaches for Mountain Education Charter High School in Dawson County.
District 3: John Harmon of Hickory Flat joined the board in 2014 after serving the community as a youth sports coach and Hickory Flat Elementary School Council member. A business manager, he and his wife share five children, and three are CCSD students.
District 4: Robert Rechsteiner of southwest Cherokee, known by his professional wrestling career nickname Rick Steiner, joined the board in 2005 after serving the community as a youth sports volunteer. A Realtor, he is dad to three CCSD graduates.
District 5: Erin Ragsdale of Towne Lake began her service in January, bringing to the role experience as a teacher, speech language pathologist and school and community volunteer. She and her husband, Trey, who is chairman of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, are parents to two CCSD students.
District 6: Susan Padgett-Harrison of Canton took office in January. She served as an educator with CCSD for 30 years, in roles including teacher, assistant principal, Cherokee High School principal and district curriculum supervisor and assessment director. An adjunct Kennesaw State University professor and longtime community volunteer, she and her late husband, the renowned CCSD music teacher and band director David Harrison, raised three CCSD graduates, including two who now serve as CCSD educators. She has 12 grandchildren.
– Barbara P. Jacoby serves as chief communications officer for the Cherokee County School District, and is a CCSD parent with four children.