Alumni Dominate the History of Cherokee County Education Leadership

Since its founding, Reinhardt graduates have provided leadership to Cherokee County schools as school district superintendents. During the last one hundred years, ten of the twelve who served are Reinhardt alumni.

Stunningly, the contributions and service to the community of Reinhardt’s graduates encompasses 76 of the past 100 years. In 1909, Zach Collins graduated from Reinhardt and became superintendent in 1924. Ramsey Colquitt Sharp, one of the earliest graduates in 1890, took over from Collins in 1928.

Other alumni to become Cherokee County School District Superintendent are Eugene Owen ’38, William Hasty Sr. ’41, Kleven Boston ’35, Eugene Norton ’60, Michael Johnston ’62, Marguerite Cline ’58, Shelby “Corky” Jones ’68, and Brian Hightower ‘83. Cline is the first and only female to serve in this role and says she has always believed that for women to excel in their careers, it is essential to get the necessary education and experience.

Dr. Brian Hightower took on the role in 2016 and plans to retire at the end of this school year. He is grateful to be a part of this legacy, “Reinhardt is where I fell in love with teaching, with Cherokee County, and with my future wife. I know that my life would have taken a different path had I not been blessed with my Reinhardt experience. I will forever be grateful for the investment that Reinhardt’s professors made in preparing me for success as an educator and community leader. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to repay that investment through my career and community service. I’m not surprised that so many superintendents of our school district attended Reinhardt as the University provides outstanding preparation to future educators and fills its students’ hearts with a love of service. It’s a humbling legacy to be a part of continuing.”

The Dean of the College of Humanities, Sciences, and Technology, Dr. Kenneth H. Wheeler, oversees the Price School of Education. He confirmed and documented this historical list and noted, ”We all recognize that Reinhardt has had, and continues to have, a profound influence on the surrounding community. Knowing that Cherokee County schools have been led, for 76 of the past 100  years, by Reinhardt graduates is a reminder that Reinhardt has been remarkably influential in educational leadership in northern Georgia. Having the University in Cherokee County has raised and shaped the educational possibilities for so many people and created an ethos hospitable to education that radiates and improves people's lives.”

Cherokee County Superintendents who are Reinhardt University Alumni

Superintendents with Reinhardt degrees       Years as Superintendent        Year Graduated

Zach Collins                                                  1924-1928                               1909

Ramsey Colquitt Sharp                                1928-1937                               1890

T. Booth. Sr.                                                    1937-1944                         not applicable

(He had a son by the same name who was a Reinhardt graduate)

Eugene Owen                                                1944-1952                               1938

William Hasty, Sr.                                         1952-1959                               1941

Kleven Boston                                               1959-1976                               1935

Eugene Norton                                              1976-1980                               1960

Michael Johnston                                         1981-1984                               1962

Marguerite Cline                                          1984-1992                               1958

Shelby “Corky” Jones                                 1992-1999                               1968

Frank R. Petruzielo                                        1999-2016                           not applicable

Brian Hightower                                           2016-present                           1983