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School district welcomes partnerships facilitator

Central grad relishes new opportunity

POSTED: July 31, 2014 12:03 a.m.
Crystal Ledford/

Hannah Orr, Forsyth County Schools’ new communications and partnerships facilitator, works in her office Monday at the board of education building on Dahlonega Highway.

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CUMMING — Hannah Orr was happy to trade in her commute from south Forsyth to Cobb County for something much closer to home.

“Depending on the day, you just never knew how the traffic would be,” she said. “Now I have to sit at the light at Bethelview, and that’s the worst part of it. Being able to work in Forsyth County, where I live is, definitely a great bonus.”

But the drive is not the only reason that Orr, who on July 1 began her new position as the Forsyth County Schools’ communications and partnerships facilitator, is happy with her job.

“It’s very special,” Orr said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be able to come home and be a part of the great things that are going on here and just being able to connect our students with the great community and the great resources that are available.”

In the position — which was held for many years by Judi Jenkins, who retired this summer — Orr will work with businesses and other community partners to facilitate relationships ranging from those at individual schools up to the system level.

She said she’ll also be helping to organize large-scale events for the school district, such as the New Educator Orientation on Tuesday and the Celebration of Excellence, which is held each spring to recognize business partners and name the system’s top teacher.

She’ll also be focusing on some communications activities such as promoting business relationships through social and traditional forms of media.

As a multi-generational Forsyth native, the 2005 graduate of Forsyth Central High School said she’s excited to be helping the students of her home county.

“The students of today  are going to be our community leaders of tomorrow, so being able to invest in them now is important,” she said, “and it’s very exciting for me to be a part of that where I grew up.”

Orr, who received her bachelor’s degree in 2009 from Shorter College in Rome, is no stranger to many of the tasks she will be charged with in her new position.

She said she has spent the past several years working as an education liaison with the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce, planning events similar to those held in conjunction with the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce.

“I was in economic development, but I specifically handled education and work force development,” she said. “So it was very similar to what I’m doing here. It’s just that [in Cobb] they house the Partners in Education and the Teacher of Year programs in the chamber rather than at the school district.

“So I worked a lot with Cobb County and Marietta City Schools.”

Jennifer Caracciolo, director of the Forsyth school system’s department of communications and public information, said she was pleased to welcome Orr aboard.

“We’re excited for what Hannah brings to our department with her chamber of commerce experience and then also her relationship with the local community,” she said. “We look forward to her expanding the role and getting involved in the community.”

Orr said she was grateful to Caracciolo and Jenkins, her predecessor in the role, for “laying a great groundwork.”

“Everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, ‘So you’re the new Judi,’” Orr said. “I have big shoes to fill.

“I want to just build on everything she and Jennifer have already established and hopefully just expand the program as our school system continues to grow.”

 

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