On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, District Administrators and Board of Education Representatives gathered at Hesse K-8 School to raise the Flag of Learning and Liberty. The ceremony symbolizes the importance of quality education and represents teachers who contribute to the betterment of our community through stellar teaching practices. The Flag's design incorporates the red, white, and blue of the “Stars and Stripes", symbolizing America's historical belief in and reliance upon education.
The ceremony was held in honor of Cherie Dennis, the district's 2021-22 Teacher of the Year who has also been named Teacher of the Year for the State of Georgia. As a representative of the many dedicated teachers across the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, the district's Teacher of the Year is honored with the distinction of having the Flag of Learning and Liberty proudly displayed at his or her school for the year. The ceremony for Ms. Dennis had been delayed for a year due to the pandemic and due to a hold on the program also caused by the pandemic, she is serving two terms as District Teacher of the Year.
Teaching is a second career for Cherie Dennis. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Japanese and a minor in teaching, and then from Stanford University in 1995 with a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies. With those degrees, she originally intended to become a Japanese language teacher. Unfortunately, jobs proved scarce, so she landed at advertising agencies, first working on Toyota's national campaign at Saatchi & Saatchi and then strategizing for Clorox at DDB Needham. But all along she knew where her heart had always been.
In 2004, she moved to Savannah, Georgia to raise her son near family. Once he entered Kindergarten, she began her Master of Arts in Teaching, Early Childhood Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University, completing it in 2010. Now, she is in her 12th year with the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, serving as an ESOL teacher at Hesse K8 following 7-1/2 years teaching 3rd grade. Since receiving her MAT, she has also earned Gifted and ESOL Endorsements, and, in August 2019, she completed her Education Specialist degree in Teacher Leadership with a Coaching Endorsement from Mercer University.
At her school, she serves on the Leadership Team and chairs both the Resource Team and the School-wide Writing Team. Additionally, she has been a grade level-chair, the Site Based Induction Specialist, the Professional Learning Liaison, and a member of the School Council. She was named the 2021 Savannah-Chatham County District Teacher of the Year in February 2020, and in August 2021, she was chosen 2022 Georgia State Teacher of the Year.
The Flag of Learning and Liberty will fly over Hesse K8 School for the 2021-22 school year. To view more pictures from the flag raising ceremony, please click here .