Canton student earns scholarship named for former Cherokee super
by staff reports
September 06, 2012 12:00 AM | 1443 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emily Burgess of Canton, right, is the first recipient of the Gene Norton Scholarship in Education, named for former School Superintendent Leland ‘Gene’ Norton, left.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Special
Emily Burgess of Canton, right, is the first recipient of the Gene Norton Scholarship in Education, named for former School Superintendent Leland ‘Gene’ Norton, left.
Cherokee Tribune/Special
WALESKA — Reinhardt University has selected the first recipient of the Gene Norton Scholarship in Education awarded in honor of a former Cherokee County school superintendent and educator.

Emily Burgess of Canton was awarded the inaugural scholarship that honors Norton’s service to the university and the


“His accomplishments in the field of education were, and continue to be, so incredible, that I hope one day I can be a fraction of the educator he has been,” Burgess said.

Named in honor of Leland “Gene” Norton, class of 1960, the scholarship, established by faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends of Reinhardt, provides funds for students in the Price School of Education (PSOE) to honor Norton’s service to the


“I was truly humbled when Reinhardt’s Price School of Education named a scholarship in my honor,” Norton said. “The late Dr. Robert Driscoll, Reinhardt’s former vice president of academic affairs, was very instrumental in developing this scholarship to help honor the outstanding education majors at Reinhardt.

Norton said he has been a part of the Reinhardt family since the fall of 1958, when he first enrolled as a student.

“My wife, Yvonne Harris Norton ’60, and my daughter, Jill Norton Oliver ’90, are also graduates of Reinhardt. All three of us were recipients of scholarships from generous donors to Reinhardt, and we greatly appreciate the help it provided each of us,” he said.

Recipients for the Gene Norton Scholarship in Education are selected by a Scholarship Committee contingent upon review and approval of the student’s eligibility by the Office of Financial Aid. To be eligible, the student must be a sophomore or greater, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be admitted to the education program, and have demonstrated financial need.

“I deeply appreciate the many contributions made to the Gene Norton Scholarship fund, and it is my sincere hope that many more Reinhardt Price School of Education students will benefit from the scholarship in the future,” said Burgess, a senior early childhood education major. “Having already completed three years at a private institution, the financial strains can be quite a burden. Therefore, scholarships, such as this one, make that burden much easier to bear, allowing me to see my dream of becoming a teacher soon become a reality.”

“I could not have been more pleased when I learned that Emily Burgess was selected to be the first recipient of the Gene Norton Scholarship award,” said Norton. “She is one of Reinhardt’s most outstanding early childhood majors, and is highly respected by the faculty and staff at Reinhardt. She is truly an important part of the Reinhardt family.”

Norton, a Cherokee County native, has served Reinhardt over the past 54 years in numerous roles. Most recently and for the past 20 years, he has been an adjunct instructor in the Price School of Education.

He is a member of the Academic Affairs Committee, Teacher Ed. Council, and the PSOE Advisory Board. Norton previously served as president for the Alumni Board of Governors; Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Trustees; and as Co-President of the PSOE Advisory Board.

Prior to teaching at Reinhardt, Norton taught and coached at the elementary and middle school level from 1960-69, and he served as principal of Holly Springs Elementary School from 1969-76.

From 1977-80, he was the superintendent of the Cherokee County School System, and from 1980-88, he acted as Regional Director, and from 1988-90, as Division Director for the State Department of Education.

Norton served as associate director of North Ga. RESA from 1990-2002. Norton was also a consultant for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and a member of the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

His awards and honors include: 1964 and 1972 named Outstanding Young Men in Cherokee County; 1970 Outstanding Young Educator Award; 1980 Reinhardt Distinguished Alumni Award; and 2001 Distinguished Leadership Award for State of Georgia, presented by SACS.

Norton is a 1958 graduate of Cherokee High School. He earned an associate in arts degree from Reinhardt in 1960, a bachelor of arts in Elementary Education from North Georgia College in 1965, and a master in administration and supervision from Western Carolina University in 1968.

“There are just those people that gain a special place in your heart by their generosity and loving nature,” added Burgess. “Mr. Norton is without a doubt one of those people. He is an outstanding teacher who cares deeply about each and every student. Receiving the scholarship in his name is truly the most humbling honor I have ever received throughout my years of schooling.”
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