Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower surprised Billy Hayes with his Superintendent's 2019 Game Changer Award for Instructional Advocacy during the monthly board meeting of the Cherokee County Educational Foundation where the Northside CEO serves as board president.
Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News reports: Hightower noted the support Hayes has given to the foundation since its establishment as a charter board member and continuing in his role as the board president.
"It's important that we've got people in the county in leadership positions who are advocates for our schools and our kids, and you are a shining example of that," Hightower said. "We believe that Billy is a game changer, not just at the hospital, but also in the Cherokee County School District."
Hayes, through his role with the hospital, also has championed instructional opportunities on its campus such as through opening up clinical rotations for 40 CCSD Career Pathways healthcare science high school students each year. The hospital sponsors numerous programs in recognition of instructional excellence at the school district level, such as Teacher of the Year, as well as projects at the school level, such as donating hospital equipment to high school healthcare classrooms, supplying school nurse clinics, and purchasing AED devices for schools.
The hospital leader is known for publicly voicing his strong support of CCSD, whether it's in remarks to the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce membership at a breakfast or when talking with doctors about the benefits of relocating here. He and his wife, Brittany, also are CCSD parents: their two youngest children attend CCSD schools, and one of their older children works as a teacher with CCSD.
Hayes turned to his fellow foundation board members as he accepted the award.
"We're blessed to have the board that we have, and each individual here does so much for the kids. Without each one of you, none of this would be possible," he said. "This really should be to each one of you, and not to me. Thank you very much. I am honored, and I am humbled."
The Instructional Advocacy honor, which is awarded to a CCSD employee or a community leader, is one of the four categories of the third annual Game Changer Awards Hightower describes as CCSD's "premier awards."