Updated: Feb 17
Emanuel County Schools has selected its 2022 STAR representatives. Swainsboro High School senior Savannah Reynolds and mathematics teacher Cindy Riner will move on to represent the county in the next phase of the STAR competition. Their selection as countywide representatives came last Tuesday night at the Emanuel County Board of Education’s monthly meeting.
Also recognized by the board of ed that night were Emanuel County Institute’s STARs, senior Landon Goodman and technology/engineering teacher Kendall Hadden.
Dr. Hayward Gordy was on hand at the BOE meeting for the recognitions, as was the local chamber of commerce.
These four individuals were first recognized in The Crossroads Chronicle for their STAR status on January 19. Reynolds, Riner, Goodman, and Hadden were also mentioned in the chamber banquet recap printed as part of the January 26 edition of The Crossroads.
This publication has since obtained full biographies for each honoree this year. “Meet the STARs” below.
Swainsboro High School and Emanuel County STAR Student — Savannah Reynolds
Savannah Reynolds, Swainsboro High School’s STAR Student, is the daughter of Brett and Selena Reynolds.
Throughout high school, she has been a member and leader of multiple clubs and organizations.
In FBLA, Reynolds served as secretary her sophomore year and president for the past two years. She has placed at regional and state competitions and even competed at the FBLA National Convention her freshman year.
Reynolds has also been a member of Beta Club. She served as treasurer her sophomore year, vice president her junior year and president her senior year. While in Beta Club, she has competed and placed at the state and national levels.
By serving as a class representative during her freshman and sophomore years and president of student council for the past two years, Reynolds has represented her peers at Swainsboro High School. She has also been actively involved in 4-H. She was named a 4-H Master in Food for Health & Sport her freshman year, and she was named a 4-H Master in History her junior year. She currently serves as county council president for Emanuel County 4-H.
Through her club involvement, Reynolds has participated in various service projects, ranging from local community efforts to national initiatives.
In addition to her club activities, she has been a member of the SHS concert band, danceline, and the tennis team all four years of high school.
In addition to club competitions, Reynolds has received a number of other accolades throughout her high school career. She was named the school and district winner for the Young Georgia Authors competition three years in a row as well as the district winner for the DAR Essay Contest during her sophomore year. She was named a semifinalist in the area of social studies for the Governor’s Honors Program her junior year, and she was selected as a Washington Youth Tour delegate with Altamaha EMC.
Reynolds has also been selected as the district nominee for the U.S. Senate Youth Program for the past two years. In addition, she serves on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board and the Citizens Bank Student Advisory Board.
Reynolds was also recently named as a semi-finalist for the Coca Cola Scholars program.
Outside of school, Reynolds has worked in various positions. She served as an intern for the Emanuel County commissioners’ office her junior year and completed an intensive research project on the history of the local John C. Coleman Hotel. She also worked as temporary helper for the Emanuel County Elections Office. Reynolds currently works as an assistant to the county solicitor, an administrative assistant at the Emanuel County Board of Education, and as a radio host for RadioJones. She is also a member of Swainsboro First Baptist Church, where she is a member of Acteens.
After graduation, Reynolds plans to attend UGA and pursue a double major in history and communication studies. She then hopes to attend law school and practice in the fields of intellectual property and historic preservation.
Reynolds selected Cindy Riner as her STAR Teacher. She had Riner for three math courses at SHS, and Reynolds attributes her success in the classroom and on the SAT to Riner’s “enthusiasm and expansive knowledge of her subject matter.” In addition, Riner has served as Beta Club advisor throughout Reynolds’s time in high school. Reynolds will be forever grateful for the support and encouragement Riner has provided for her over the years.
Swainsboro High School and Emanuel County STAR Teacher — Cindy Riner
A 1991 graduate of Swainsboro High School, Cindy Riner began her teaching career in 1999 and has been teaching at her beloved alma mater since then.
Riner holds an Associate of Arts from East Georgia State College and a Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education from Georgia Southern University. In 2002, she furthered her education by earning a Master of Education in Secondary Math, and she is currently pursuing her Education Specialist in Instructional Technology through Kennesaw State University, on track to graduate this summer.
Throughout her career, Riner has not only earned many degrees—but she has also earned her gifted endorsement and many hours of professional development. This has allowed her to grow as a teacher and better meet the needs of her students.
She has been teaching in the math department at SHS since 2002, and she currently teaches algebra II and precalculus.
In addition, Riner has served as Beta Club sponsor for the past 12 years and as math department chair for the past year. She is a member of Emanuel County 4T (Teams Transforming Teaching Together) and serves on the School Instructional Leadership Team as well as other committees.
Riner has always had a love for mathematics, and being a classroom teacher has given her the opportunity to share that passion and love with her students. She loves working with students and sharing the “ah-ha!” moments they experience in their academic pursuits and personal growth.
In addition to teaching, her passions include traveling, crafting, and spending time with family and friends at the beach. Riner lives in Swainsboro with her husband, Greg, and their son Daylan, a seventh grader at Swainsboro Middle School.
Riner had this to say about Savannah Reynolds and why she thought that she was a STAR Student.
“It has been such a blessing for me to teach Savannah in multiple math classes as well as to work with her throughout her years in Beta Club. Being selected as Savannah’s STAR Teacher is considered the highest honor because Savannah is such a remarkable young woman of intellect, ambition, and grace. Savannah’s legacy is one of academic and extracurricular achievement, leadership, and service to Swainsboro High School. She is humble and never afraid of a challenge. In fact, she seeks opportunities to deepen her understanding through analysis of complex texts and comparison of multiple perspectives on intriguing topics. She is a sincere and curious scholar who shares her love of learning with both her peers and teachers. Even with her countless leadership positions in clubs, sports, and charitable organizations, Savannah manages to work at several jobs and still devotes time to her family, friends, and church. She seems to balance these responsibilities effortlessly, prioritizing her academic success.”
Emanuel County Institute STAR Student — Landon Goodman
Landon Goodman, son of Joey and Shauna Goodman of Twin City, is a senior at Emanuel County Institute.
Throughout his high school career, he has been recognized many times for academic excellence and achievement. He was chosen as a district representative for Governor’s Honors in Mathematics; he was a recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit, an award that recognizes students who are in the top 5 percent of their graduating class in the state of Georgia; and he is also a Georgia Scholar nominee, an award that honors students who exhibit excellence in all phases of school life, in community activities, and in the home.
Additionally, Goodman has also participated in the dual enrollment program at East Georgia State College since his junior year of high school.
He is co-president of 21st Century Leaders, an organization that collaborates with business and professional leaders to connect, transform, and inspire Georgia high school students to become the next generation of leaders through training and hands-on experience. Through this club, Goodman leads community service projects such as voter registration for eligible high school students and food drives for families in need.
He is also sergeant-at-arms of the Technology Student Association, a national student organization that develops students’ skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and business education. He participates in rigorous problem solving competitions at the state level for this organization.
Goodman is also a member of Senior Beta Club.
He has participated in leadership summits at the Fulford Youth Academy, which develops leadership skills and qualities in students who have demonstrated leadership potential, and he is also a member of the Citizen’s Bank Advisory Board, whose objective is to expose students to the world of banking and finance as well as encouraging them to become active and productive members of the community.
He was voted “Most Intelligent” by his peers as part of the senior superlatives for the Class of 2022. Further, he has participated in tennis for four years and has helped coach the middle school tennis team.
He plans to attend East Georgia State College in the fall and will later transfer to Augusta University to major in biology and become a pediatrician.
Goodman selected Kendall Hadden as his STAR Teacher.
When asked why he did so, he replied, “Mr. Hadden has always been the teacher that I know I can go to for advice and guidance about anything that I am doing. He is a selfless person and will drop whatever he is doing to help me or any other student who needs his help. My time in his class has been some of my most challenging, but therefore my most rewarding, moments of high school. His problem solving activities have caused me to stumble and fail, but they taught me to work harder and think outside the box in the face of adversity. Those activities have prepared me to think critically and face much bigger problems that I will face in my life. Mr. Hadden’s inspiration and words of encouragement through these challenges played a major role in my growth as a student and problem solver, and we developed a strong bond during his classes. He became more than just a teacher; he became a friend. I know that no matter where I go or what I do in life, I can always come back to Mr. Hadden and count on him to be there for me.”
Emanuel County Institute STAR Teacher — Kendall Hadden
Kendall Hadden graduated from Swainsboro High School in 1991. Thereafter, he attended East Georgia College and Swainsboro Tech.
In 1993, he received his electronic technical engineering certification and in 1996, he received an Associates in Arts from East Georgia College. In 2000, Hadden received a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Middle Grades Math and Science.
His teaching career began in 2000 at Treutlen High School as a high school math teacher. In 2001, he began teaching seventh grade science at Treutlen Middle School. Three years later, in 2004, he was selected as Teacher of the Year for Treutlen Middle School. That same year, he received a Master of Science in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Hadden accepted a sixth grade math position at Emanuel County Institute in 2007. In 2012, he received an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction from Nova Southeastern University.
In 2015, Hadden accepted the position as the high school technology and engineering teacher at ECI and was tapped at the same time to lead audio/video engineering. This position also consisted of starting a Technology Student Association (TSA) at ECI. Since starting TSA at ECI, seven of Hadden’s students have qualified for national level competition in Dragster Design and On-Demand Video.
In 2019, Hadden became certified in computer-aided design and has put a lot of time into teaching three-dimensional design, 3-D printing, prototyping, and building a final product.
“I first met Landon when I was teaching sixth grade math. I had heard that I was getting a student that was truly exceptional in mathematics and science. This was exciting news because those were the two subjects that always interested me the most. Just as I had heard, Landon was exceptional. Even as a sixth grade student, he understood the mathematical process of an upper level high school student. It was fun just trying to challenge him,” Hadden said. “I didn’t realize how much of an impact this young man would have on my teaching career. When Landon was in eighth grade, he was the youngest student to take my Foundations of Engineering class. It was in that class that I found a way to challenge him. Landon is a very process driven student, and most of the challenges (projects) that we do in Foundations of Engineering have multiple ways of being completed. You really have to think out of the box with very little instructions other than what the challenge has to accomplish. It was in that class that I witnessed his first failure and I saw him struggle. I tell my students all the time, you learn more from your mistakes/failures than you do your accomplishments. I think this is where Landon and I bonded as student and teacher. I taught him how to not overthink a problem. Landon would go on to be an officer the last three years in Technology Student Association and competes in various competitions among the best in the state and is now STAR Student. I know he will do great things in his life, and I’m sure he will look back on some of our conversations about life. I’m honored he has chosen me as STAR Teacher.”
The STAR Program, now in its 64th year, is sponsored, administered, and promoted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and the PAGE Foundation. Since its creation, the STAR program has honored nearly 28,000 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic achievement. To obtain STAR nomination, graduating high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.
STAR begins each year in participating high schools throughout Georgia when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 170 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program. Students then compete for school system titles, and those winners compete for region honors. Regional winners compete for the honor of being named State PAGE STAR Student. STAR Teachers continue on with their STAR Students at every level of the program.
PAGE and the PAGE Foundation honor outstanding students and educators and, encourage academic excellence through competitive academic programs such as PAGE STAR, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades, and the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.