She has also been nominated for National Superintendent of the Year.
The nomination came from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).
The four finalists were chosen from a large field of superintendents who had been nominated.
Taylor was nominated for her “dedication to the staff, students and schools which she works to promote,” according to a press release from the school district. “Dr. Taylor’s commitment is unparalleled. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that each and every student in Calhoun Schools receives a quality education infused with excellence.”
Taylor said she was humbled by the nomination.
“I am honored to work with a distinguished Board of Education whose members are dedicated and faithful in their service to our schools and community,” she said. “We are blessed to have exceptional students, teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and an unbelievably supportive community.”
The press release credited Taylor for “building nationally recognized programs and continuing upon our system’s rich traditions.”
Taylor has served as superintendent since 2007 and prior to that appointment she was an assistant superintendent, principal, media specialist, teacher and student in Calhoun City Schools.
Calhoun City School Board Chairwoman, Amy Atkinson, shared why the board chose to nominate Taylor for the award. “We were united in this nomination, taking action at our July Board meeting,” she said.
During part of the nomination Atkinson said, “During my fifteen year tenure as a member of the Calhoun City Schools Board of Education, I have worked with several wonderful superintendents. Dr. Taylor is by far the best.”
The nomination went on to mention that “Calhoun City Schools was among the first in the state to earn SACS Accreditation as well as System Charter status under Dr. Taylor’s direction. Over the past five years, the system has earned record numbers of region and state championships in academic, arts and athletic competitions.”
Since her first year as Superintendent, Dr. Taylor has worked closely with financial educational planer, Doug Eza. The system has weathered the financial hardships of recent years and has emerged as a system which is now in a position to expand and build upon its outstanding programs.
Eza shared that this is in large part due to the careful planning of Director of Finance, Don Hood and Taylor.
In a year where many systems are increasing furlough days, cutting programs and laying off teachers, Calhoun City Schools is able and committed to provide the resources necessary to meet the needs of students, and restoring educator work days.
While Taylor has responsibility for more functions than in larger districts, she embraces the challenges that each opportunity presents because she has built a strong team of leadership at every level.
Principals and school level leadership have been trained on how to maximize funding to support student learning.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Dr. Taylor, Don Hood and the principals because they saw this (decline in funding) coming, they paid attention to some of the economic warnings which has left Calhoun City Schools in amazingly good financial condition compared to the rest of the state,” Eza said.
“Under Dr. Taylor’s leadership, in spite of an uncertain economy, the system’s financial balance sheet remains strong and continues to improve,” Atkinson said.
The system’s strategic plan continues to be the framework for school improvement and recently earned commendations from the accreditation team in 2011 for its strong alignment of the mission and school improvement plans.
The 2011 SACS Team commended Calhoun City Schools for its excellent communication with all stakeholders.
During their visit, the SACS Team met with more than 180 stakeholders including students, leadership teams, school councils, PTO members, and support staff.
“Dr. Taylor and her staff provide an opportunity for two-way communication and they are very transparent,” said Olivia Hodges, Lead Evaluator. “Calhoun City Schools has a visionary Superintendent and School Board who are dedicated to increasing student achievement during difficult economic times,” Hodges said.
Dr. Taylor is not only a fervent supporter of Calhoun City Schools, but also a product, graduating from Calhoun High School in 1986.
She is active in the community, having served on the Gordon County Chamber Board of Directors, Leadership Calhoun/Gordon County, United Way Allocations Panel, President-Elect of Council for a Literate Community for Gordon County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Executive Board, Boys and Girls Regional Board of Directors, Kiwanis Club Past President and is a member of the Rotary Club.
Additionally, Taylor has supported professional organizations such as the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association recently serving on the nominating committee and presently is a member of PAGE’s High School Redesign Initiative.
She has served as an Executive Board Member of Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement and has also served on the State School Superintendent’s Advisory Council. In 2010 the State School Superintendent selected Dr. Taylor to attend the Peabody Institute’s Leadership Program.
Taylor’s counterpart at Gordon County Schools, Bill McCown posted on the school system’s website that he was thrilled for Taylor.
“It is with deepest sincerity that I offer my congratulations to Dr. Michele Taylor, Calhoun City Schools’ Superintendent, on her nomination for the GSSA 2013 Superintendent of the Year Award,” he said. “This distinguished award is well-deserved, and I am honored to serve alongside her as we strive for exceptional education for the children of Calhoun and Gordon County.”
All four finalists will now complete a lengthy document prepared by the American Association of School Administrators — an “application” of sorts” — and submit it for a second round of judging.
The winner, who will represent Georgia in the national competition, will be named during the December 1 Awards Luncheon that is part of the annual GSBA/GSSA Winter Conference at the Waverly Hotel in Cobb County.