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Please Vote for School Council Members

Ellis community: The Charles Ellis School Council, has four vacancies for the upcoming 2019-2020 term. Click here to cast your votes.

The A+ Reform Law required that every school in Georgia have operational school councils by October 1, 2003. All Chatham County Schools organized school councils at the start of the 2001–2002 school year.

School councils bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve education problems, to improve academic achievement, to provide support for teachers and administrators, and to bring parents into the decision making process. School-based decision making is designed to increase the involvement of teachers, parents, and the community in the important decisions about how the school operates and performs.

DISCLAIMER: Question 2 on the survey provides a non-clickable link to read about each of the five nominees. For ease of voting, we are also including candidate summaries here.

2019-2020 School Council Nominees

Amanda Fanelli Why do I want to serve on the school council? I have a child currently at Ellis and may eventually have two students at the school in the future. I am also a life-long supporter of Montessori education, so I would like to be a part of Ellis’ journey as a parent, and as a member of the greater community.

What skills will I bring to the school council and our school community as a whole?

As a certified educator who has taught in multiple states, including here in Chatham County, I feel that I have a different perspective I can bring to the council. I am a strong supporter of educators and administrators, but I am also a parent so my perspective has changed. I have also been lucky to work in public school systems that are effective, so I think that sort of perspective could be valuable as well.

Brendan Ferrara

Why do I want to serve on the school council?

I want to be on school council so I can continue to help the Charles Ellis administration and faculty navigate and attain accreditation from the American Montessori Society. I would also like to continue to be a resource as the school integrates technology with curriculum (e.g. Open Classroom).

What skills will I bring to the school council and our school community as a whole?

I worked at Savannah Technical College for 20 years as an instructor and academic dean. In that time I gained experience in curriculum development by designing and delivering over 20 classes in a variety of subjects. I also was a part of the team that designed and delivered the first courses to utilize online tools for instructional delivery. I was involved with two successful reaffirmations of the College’s accreditation. For the 2016 reaffirmation I led the team that developed the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (very similar to the Self Study Report required for the American Montessori Society accreditation). Currently I work at Employability as the Director of Training and Employment where I am helping the organization formalize our training program by developing structured curriculum and dedicated academic spaces.

Denise Grabowski

Why do I want to serve on the school council?

I have served on the school council for several years and truly appreciate the opportunity to work with Ms. Tanya, the teachers, business leaders, and other parents to constantly enrich the Ellis environment and continue to strive for excellence. I hope to remain on school council to continue many of our existing initiatives, particularly accreditation of Charles Ellis with AMS.

What skills will I bring to the school council and our school community as a whole?

Serving as president of school council, I have a strong relationship with the Ellis community as well as the SCCPSS district staff and leadership. I have been an advocate for Ellis in the past both with leadership and the city of Savannah and will continue to do so as a member of school council. As an urban planner, my experience and network of personal and professional relationships are beneficial in serving as a leader for Charles Ellis.

Gloria Rigsbee

Why do I want to serve on the school council?

have thoroughly enjoyed my experience over the last two years working with school council and focusing on not only the areas where we need to make improvements at Charles Ellis, but to truly celebrate our accomplishments and allow the district to see the many strengths of our Montessori community. I believe the ongoing conversations allow us to continue to grow and incite changes within our community. My passion for children and their education (both academic and for the arts) is at the forefront of what I do daily and being a part of the process and conversations of what is happening in our school are very important to me.

What skills will I bring to the school council and our school community as a whole?

I feel that my strengths come from my many years here at Charles Ellis, with involvement ranging from Room Parent to PTA President. Each role has taught me more about myself and given me many different perspectives on our school. The foundation that we establish for our children at Ellis simply cannot be compared to other schools. The Grace and Courtesy extended from our administration to our teachers to our children is invaluable. I have watched my children grow at Ellis and move on to other schools, and I can honestly say there is something special about the “Ellis Experience.”

Sarah Smith

Why do I want to serve on the school council?

his would be my second term serving on school council. I am eager to continue serving because I feel like I just got started! I have enjoyed working with Ms. Tanya, teachers, parents, and community representatives to steward the Montessori mission and the needs of our school and children. With one term under my belt, I feel like I have gleaned important information about our school and need to help continue the momentum we have going at the district, state, and national levels.

What skills will I bring to the school council and our school community as a whole?

As a community leader, most of my civic involvement has been with education. I have great networking strengths in this specific area as well as knowledge and interest about what is happening with our schools at large. My professional background is in marketing and broadcast communications. I know how to effectively use media of all kinds to deliver important messages and reach the people to whom we matter and who matter to us. Personally, I have been a Charles Ellis parent for nearly six years and am also an active resident in the Ardsley Park neighborhood. Our school is critically important to me in what it means to our family and to the legacy of Savannah.

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