Proud to be CCSD, and District 8

Proud to be CCSD, and District 8

As the parent of a Clarke County School District graduate, I’ve been proud of our schools ever since our son Evan enrolled at Barnett Shoals Elementary School back in 2001.  Evan’s teachers challenged and inspired him all the way through Cedar Shoals High School (CSHS), and all the way into college at UGA.

We’ve heard a lot of negativity lately about our neighborhood’s schools.  More generally, I feel like when I read something positive about schools in and around Athens, it isn’t about the schools on the eastside.  But we have a lot to be proud about, too, and so I thought I’d pay tribute here to just a few of the graduates of CSHS who have made us “proud to be CCSD.” This baker’s dozen includes educators and researchers as well as athletes and performers, because there is no single measure of success for our children (a fact forgotten by the standardized-test bean-counters):

  • Alvin Sheats, Class of 1977, former Athens-Clarke County Commissioner
  • Amp Arnold, Class of 1977, member of UGA’s national championship football team
  • Homer Jordan, Class of 1979, quarterback on Clemson’s national championship football team and later a coach as CSHS
  • Greg Huberty, Class of 1985, award-winning math teacher at CSHS as well as a coach
  • Bryant Gantt, Class of 1986, lawyer and program coordinator for UGA football, recipient of 2012 Liberty Bell Award from the Western Circuit Bar Association
  • Marieo Foster, Class of 1991, chief of police for the University of the District of Columbia
  • Tituss Burgess, Class of 1997, Broadway and TV actor
  • James Ponsoldt, Class of 1997, film director: “The Spectacular Now,” “The End of the Tour”
  • Quentin Moses, Class of 2003, NFL linebacker and coach at Reinhardt University
  • Boris Alexeev, Class of 2004, Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton and co-organizer of high-school math tournaments at UGA for over a decade
  • Clara Starkweather, Class of 2009, currently MD/PhD Candidate at Harvard Medical School after being named a Goldwater Scholar at Duke University
  • DeDe Lattimore, Class of 2010, linebacker in the Canadian Football League
  • Erin Hollander, Class of 2013, Foundation Fellow and Goldwater Scholar, UGA


That’s plenty of reason to be proud of CCSD, and of CSHS, and of our district.  And it’s just a start.  Feel free to comment and add more names to this list!


We, not me

We, not me

Hi, this is the first of many blog posts I’ll be making as a candidate for the Clarke County Board of Education in District 8.

You might expect this first post to be all about me–isn’t that what politicians always talk about, me-me-me?  But I’m a teacher, not a politician.  I’d rather start by talking more about “we,” not so much about “me”–specifically, what District 8 is, where it is, and who we are.

District 8 is tiny–it’s just over 5 square miles of the smallest county in the state of Georgia.  This district is only 4 times the size of Central Park in New York City.  It’s not very much bigger than the infield at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama!

Even so, District 8 is the only district within the larger Clarke County School District (CCSD) with 4 schools/school properties in it.  Gaines Elementary, Hilsman Middle, and Cedar Shoals High School (CSHS) are permanent residents of our little district, and for the time being Barnett Shoals Elementary is meeting in the old Gaines School building, which is also in our district.  That’s a lot of public-education bang for such a small area.  We’re small, but important to CCSD.

Who are the residents of this district?  

  • We live in University Heights, where we Knoxes moved into a rental in January 2001 when my wife Pam and son Evan and I first came to Athens.  Some of us work along College Station Road, and a lot of us commute across the bridge to and from UGA (and we can’t wait until the new bridge is finished!).
  • We’re working at the new vet school along College Station, we live back along International Drive, we eat at La Fiesta and Mama Sid’s and other restaurants in the area.
  • Pretty much all of us are shopping at the Kroger or the Publix, it seems.
  • We live in Green Acres and some of Crestwood, the neighborhood that Pam, Evan and I have enjoyed as home since 2002 when we bought our house from Harold and Paula Williams.  (Many of you will remember our friend Harold as the late great saxophonist for The Jesters, who led many a 4th of July parade through this neighborhood playing “When The Saints Go Marching In.”)
  • The center of District 8 is close to the Gaines School/Barnett Shoals intersection (watch that tricky traffic camera!), where the church Pam, Evan and I have attended since early 2001, Covenant Presbyterian, is located.  The neighborhood comes to play basketball there on the church’s courts in the afternoons, and schoolkids come to “The Cave” every Friday afternoon.  Just down the street is Green Acres Baptist, with a remarkable youth ministry that does wonders for the school-age children in our district.
  • Right at the dead center of the district geographically is the Cedar Shoals/Gaines School intersection, with happily retired Ansonborough residents on one end, our good firefighters at the corner of Whit Davis on the other, and Cedar Shoals High School right in-between.  Our diligent crossing guards make sure the Cedar, Hilsman, and even some Gaines kids don’t get run over by us at this intersection!  We play Ms. Pac-Man at Cali-n-Tito’s @ La Puerta Del Sol across from CSHS.
  • Lots of us live in Cedar Creek, too, many educators at all levels.
  • We live in the many apartments and condos along the upper part of Barnett Shoals. Some of us live along Research Drive, or work or commute through there.
  • We are in Pinecrest, where Charlie Williams’s lodge used to be, and down Whitehall to the river, and back up to Clarkedale and back along the Ashbrooks.
  • And we’re off both the old and new Lexington Roads–the district is pretty much bracketed by the old and new.  And we’re on Barrington, right in-between.

That’s a good first cut at who we are, I think.  Next, I want to talk about who we are in terms of our schools, and the many things we have to be proud of in District 8 and CCSD.