On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, the Council for Quality Growth, Cherokee County Government, and Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2024 State of Cherokee County at the Cherokee Conference Center in Canton. Over 380 Council and Chamber members, elected officials, businesses, residents, county staff, and partners of Cherokee County gathered to hear the Chairman Harry B. Johnston’s annual state of the county address, along with updates from Superintendent Brian Hightower on Cherokee’s school district and Misti Martin on the economic development agency. The lunch program was presented by Northside Hospital Cherokee and VHB.
Superintendent Brian Hightower delivered his update first, reporting another year of increasingly impressive performance from Cherokee’s teachers and students. “The school district is a selling point for the County,” he said. Under his leadership, the school district has adapted to the changing demographics of students in Cherokee County. What used to be a predominantly white school district is now full of diversity. Hightower admits the changes, such as adapting to students that speak different languages, have been a challenging but necessary part of the schools’ growth. The Cherokee County School District employs 5,300 people, including 3,000 teachers. Hightower is prioritizing competitive salaries as a means to keep attracting the right talent. Cherokee has remained a top competitor, despite neighboring counties with larger populations and higher tax revenues. The County continues to make capital investments to improve the school environments through a 5-year ESPLOST that ends in 2025. Dr. Hightower is retiring at the end of the current school year, after 38 years serving Cherokee’s schools, the last 8 as Superintendent. He received a standing ovation from the room for his dedication to educating Cherokee’s youth as he concluded his final State of Cherokee address.
Special thanks to our co-hosts Cherokee County & the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and all of our sponsors.
Keep scrolling to Re-Watch the Event, Browse Event Resources, and View Photos.