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District Features

Jeopardy Champion Guy Enjoying First Year At Empower

This is Jeopardy

Those are the words spoken at the start of the iconic game show Jeopardy, a trivia show that has been on the air since September 10, 1984, pitting three contestants against one another answering questions from various categories, each with their own monetary value assigned to the question. The person with the most money at the end of the show wins that day’s game. 

Since the show’s inception, Cheryl Guy dreamed of being a contestant. 

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 New Experiences Bring LKMS Educators Together

The completion of Legacy Knoll Middle School brought new opportunities to students, teachers and the entire Jackson County community. For three of those Legacy Knoll teachers, one of those new opportunities has been spending their first year in the Jackson County School System.

While all of the staff at Legacy Knoll is new to the school, teachers Kristen Butkovich, Victoria Braswell and Courtney Beasley are all brand new to the Jackson County School System, and have their own unique stories of how they got there.

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NJES' Ledford Building Career Inside JCSS By Putting Students First

“We are creating a warm and friendly environment here in Jackson County. The grant has been great getting students involved and wanting to do random acts of kindness for others. I think that is something they will carry with them even outside of school,” said Ledford.

North Jackson elected Ledford as their Support Person of the Year for the 2023-24 school year. Her initiative to build close relationships with teachers and students shows her capacity to support everyone in any way possible.

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Eight Years of The Eagles Helping Eagles Program

East Jackson Comprehensive High School assistant principal Julie Crouch noticed there was a need within the community when she realized no programs were available to assist students 14 years old or above in receiving Christmas presents during the holiday season. Crouch knew there was something that could be done about it so she stepped up and took the project under her wing. 

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How Monica Eaton Crafted the first Elementary Spanish Curriculum in Jackson County.
Students within public education are not usually introduced to foreign language courses until middle or high school inside the United States.
Ten percent of public elementary schools in the United States offer foreign language programs to students. Monica Eaton wanted to do something about that, and introduce Spanish education to students inside the Jackson County School System.
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Ready to Lead

On the first Thursday in August, while students step off the bus or unload from their family vehicles, bushy-eyed and ready to start a new school year, five new principals inside the Jackson County School System will be awaiting to greet students, and ready to lead throughout the upcoming school year.

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The Gaultney Era

It all started in 2004, when the oldest, Eli, was a freshman at Jackson County High School, brother Sam was in sixth-grade at West Jackson Middle, and Josh and Anna were at South Jackson Elementary. Mark, the youngest of the Gaultney children, wasn't born yet. 

The family had just moved to Jackson County from Gwinnett County, and the four oldest Gaultney kids headed into the Jackson County School System. 

And since that day in August 19 years ago, the Gaultney family has had at least one child inside a JCSS school. That was until this past May when Mark, often referred to as Bud by the family, graduated from East Jackson Comprehensive High School. 

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Behind The Camera

Olivia Wilson sits at a table inside the media workroom on the bottom floor of the University of Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum, going through photos she just took during the men’s basketball team’s warmups before a game against the Auburn Tigers. The tall, 6-foot-1 undergraduate student at the University of Georgia, and graduate of Jackson County High School, is there as an employee of the UGA Athletic Department. 

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All the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts

 When Morgan Byers arrived at Harvard for the first time she found herself astonished by all the grand buildings and architecture of the campus. She arrived early for the semester to participate in The First Year Outdoor Program. “It’s basically the inauguration to campus,” said Byers, who would live off the grid for six days in Southern New Hampshire with her fellow classmates. 

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Forever A Panther

After 16 years of working at the school where he graduated from in the early 2000s, Jason Powers is moving onto the next step in his professional career. As school winds down, Powers admits he is feeling a lot of emotions. 

The former wrestling state champion turned educator and head Jackson County High School wrestling coach said the key for him, though, is still being able to serve the West Jackson community. 

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The Road Back Home to JCSS

DeGeorge is a Network Engineer for the Jackson County School System. He is no stranger to the Jackson County community. In his school years, he attended Benton Elementary, East Jackson Middle School and then Jackson County High School when it was located at what is now Empower.

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Looney Finds A Second Home in EJES

There is no place Tonya Looney would rather be than inside the hallways of East Jackson Elementary School. During the school year, Looney spends nearly 12 hours each day inside the building, serving as a paraprofessional and the After School Co-Director. It is a place she holds near and dear to her heart. It is a place where she says she is called to be every single day. 

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Building Relationships At The Core of Johnson

Looking back on the past 33 years of working in public education, the last 27 of which have come inside the Jackson County School System, one thing will stand out to East Jackson Middle School principal Kim Johnson over all the rest when she retires this summer. 

It isn’t the math tests she administered, or the chaotic mornings of school closures due to weather, but rather the relationships she built among her students and colleagues that she will hold closest to her as she steps into the next chapter in her life. 

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A 'Legacy' in the Making

As Dr. Miriam Ledford-Lyle tours Legacy Knoll Middle School, she becomes ecstatic as she envisions what’s to come. Although the school is still in the process of construction, it brings the dream to life for Dr. Ledford-Lyle as she walks through the colossal three-story academic building that is eighty percent complete.

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Laughman Finds Home at EJCHS

Bottom lines and budgets weren’t cutting it for Ethan Laughman’s professional happiness. There was more fulfillment in a professional setting than what he was experiencing, and his wife knew it. After a few years of urging her husband to get into education as a teacher, the same profession she was in, Mr. Laughman listened and headed back to school.

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"You Can Make a Difference"

Valentin’s parents moved to Miami, Fla. from Cuba before she was born. Growing up, she did not learn English until she was in elementary school and got into an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Now serving as a teacher at the most diverse school in Jackson County, Valentin shares a special bond with the students and school.

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A Place to Belong

East Jackson High School’s Sarah Giddens knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved with as much as she could. Having experiences that she wouldn't have had without clubs and sports has impacted her career as a student. Now she’s using her experiences to help others get involved.

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