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UPDATE: Hamilton County Schools fills final slot on leadership team

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Hamilton County Schools has filled the remaining slot on their leadership team.

Keith Fogleman will be the school system's new chief talent officer. 

According to an HCDE spokesperson, "Fogleman is an executive level human resources professional who has over 35 years of experience in the utility industry in human resources and labor relations."

Throughout his career, Fogleman has provided human resources to major electric utilities in the United States and Japan including TVA, Tokyo Electric Power and Omaha Public Power.  He has experience in labor relations, compensation, benefits, workforce planning, talent management, leadership development and succession planning in business and industry.

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson issued the following statement: 

“Hamilton County Schools is excited to welcome aboard a talented human resources professional of the caliber of Keith Fogleman. To become the fastest improving school district in Tennessee the system will of necessity be required to find, train and retain the very best educational talent to work with our children in the classroom. The addition of Keith Fogleman and the new organizational structure now in place will allow the system to attain new heights of success indicative of the amazing community we serve and the children relying on us to provide a bright future for them and their families.”


PREVIOUS STORY: When Dr. Bryan Johnson was hired from a field of applicants for the Hamilton County school superintendent job last summer, many school board members said they expected change.  Dr. Johnson has granted that request, in a big way.  On the eve of the Christmas holiday, Dr. Johnson has announced a massive reorganization of the central office, with one unfilled key position, and several school administrators moving up and down the ladder.

Uras Agee, principal at Brainerd High School since 2012, is leaving that position to lead Exceptional Education efforts at the district's Washington Alternative School.  Agee's five-and-a-half year tenure at Brainerd is one of the longest at the school in several years.  He is being replaced on an interim basis by Zac Brown, a former Howard principal who is currently head of the district's Opportunity Zone secondary schools.

Dr. Nakia Towns Edwards, who applied for the Hamilton County superintendent position this year, has been hired for a new position, Chief of Staff.  The reorganization features several other new "Chief" titles, including Chief Schools Officer, Chief of the Opportunity Zone, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Equity Officer, and Chief Talent Officer, which is currently unfilled.  Stacy Stewart, who had held the title of assistant superintendent for human resources, retired suddenly last month, and no replacement had been named. Dr. Don Hall of Florida will become Chief Business Officer.  The superintendent did not comment on the status of Christie Jordan, the current assistant superintendent of finance and purchasing.  Former Exceptional Education Director Margaret Abernathy also retired recently, and was replaced by Garfield Adams of Oak Ridge.

Below is the statement from the Hamilton County Department of Education.  (Note: the statement contains numerous spelling errors and some incorrect information. WRCB lists the correct spelling and factual information at the conclusion of the statement.)

The reorganization of Hamilton County Schools to maximize efforts in moving the school system to become the fastest improving school system in Tennessee will begin to take shape in earnest with the announcement of a new organizational structure.  The system will move away from an assistant superintendent based structure to a more streamlined approach to build an organization able to move quickly and efficiently to improve student performance and system efficiency.

With the new organizational structure, two new team members with impressive credentials will join the district and several talented assistant superintendents will assume new job titles and fill roles that were revised from the former system structure. “This new organizational structure will allow Hamilton County Schools to focus attention on academic improvement and streamline our resources to be more effective in our service to children and the community,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Each leader of an area in the system will spend the next 45 to 60 days in a deep review of their departments to bring forth organizational improvement recommendations that will increase efficiency and effectiveness to provide the very best academic opportunities for our children.“

T. Nakia Towns Edwards, Ed.D., will fill the role of Chief of Staff.  Dr. Towns Edwards comes to Hamilton County Schools from the Tennessee Department of Education where she served as Assistant Commissioner of Data and Research where she spearheaded the use of data to inspire continuous improvement in public schools across the state for the children of Tennessee. Before joining the department, Dr. Towns Edwards served as Chief Accountability Officer (CAO) for Knox County Schools. Her work included research and evaluation, federal programs, and TAP, a system for teacher and student advancement. Dr. Towns Edwards was instrumental in launching the district’s teacher evaluation model and strategic compensation plan. She also facilitated involvement in developing aspiring school leaders in cooperation the district’s partnership with the University of Tennessee.  Dr. Towns Edwards’ career began in the fields of technology and finance with IBM and Wells Fargo. Dr. Towns Edwards holds degrees from Duke University and Vanderbilt University.  She will use her experience in continuous improvement at the state level to work across all departments in Hamilton County Schools to impact academic opportunities and achievement for children.

Justin Robertson, Ed.D., currently Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Hamilton County Schools, will be the Chief Schools Officer.  Before being named Assistant Superintendent in 2016, Dr.  Robertson served as a principal at Red Bank High School, Brown Middle School, and Lookout Valley Elementary in Hamilton County. Prior to returning home to Chattanooga, Dr. Robertson was a teacher at Germantown High School and an Assistant Principal in the Shelby County Schools. Dr. Robertson holds degrees from Union University and Lipscomb University.  As Chief Schools Officer, Dr. Robertson will lead efforts in teaching and learning, school leadership, post-secondary preparation, and professional learning.

Jill Levine will serve as Chief of the Opportunity Zone, a “district within a district” in the Hamilton County Schools. Prior to this role, she served as the Chief Academic Officer.  She was the principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet, an assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary and taught at White Oak Elementary in Hamilton County Schools.  She also taught in New Orleans Public Schools for five years before coming to Chattanooga.  Levine led the transformation of two low performing schools into innovative, exciting and challenging places of learning to earn Normal Park the Ronald P. Simpson Award, Magnet Schools of America’s highest honor and a J.F. Kennedy School of Distinction.  Normal Park’s innovative teaching practices were featured by the George Lucas Foundation on their Edutopia website.  Levine received the 1st place award for three consecutive years from the Educational Consumers Foundation for Normal Park earning some of the highest value-added test scores in Tennessee.  

Lee McDade, Ed.D., currently Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, will be the new Chief Operations Officer.  Operations will include capital projects, student transportation, athletics, and maintenance, before and after-school care, food services, and safety and security.  Dr. McDade is a career educator in Hamilton County spending more than 30 years serving children in the Chattanooga area.  He taught for five years at Signal Mountain Middle School before moving into administration as an assistant principal at Brown Middle and later at Central High School.  Dr. McDade served as principal of Lookout Valley Middle/High for 11 years before beginning his distinguished service at the Hamilton County Department of Education as an assistant superintendent.

Don Hall, Ed.D., will join Hamilton County Department of Education as Chief Business Officer.  Dr. Hall has extensive experience in educational fiscal management and technology.  He served as Deputy/Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Interim Superintendent for Manatee County School District in Florida, a district of 48,000 students, where he developed a fiscal recovery plan to move the school system from an $8.9 million deficit to a $14.4 million surplus.  The fiscal success earned Manatee a Financial Excellence recognition from the Florida Department of Education.  Dr. Hall has worked as a senior audit specialist with BLE Group, Chief Information Officer for public school systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota;  Muscogee County, Georgia; Rutherford County, Tennessee; Kent School District, Washington and for the Kentucky Department of Education.  He led Kent School District to be the first school district recognized as a Microsoft Center of Excellence and he has served on educational advisory boards for Microsoft, HP and Cisco.    

Marsha Drake, Ed.D. is the Chief Equity Officer and will lead the systems equity initiatives, student services, counselors and social workers, English learners, special education, homeless services and coordinated health. Dr. Drake is no stranger to the Hamilton County community. She began her career as an exceptional education teacher, serving students at Soddy Daisy Elementary and Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. She began her administrative career, impacting children and teachers as an assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary and Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts. She later served as principal of Lakeside Academy and the district's director of student services. Dr. Drake has been recognized for her leadership at each level of service to children in Hamilton County Schools.  She is committed to being a lifelong learner and modeling that for the children she serves.  Dr. Drake recently extended her knowledge and practice in education, receiving her Ed.D.  Dr. Drake is married to Curtis Drake, Jr and they have two children.

The unfilled position of Chief Talent Officer will streamline services in Human Resources for Hamilton County Schools when the position is filled in the coming weeks.  The final piece of the leadership puzzle will complete the organizational structure and will lead teacher recruitment to find the very best teachers for Hamilton County classrooms, plan induction programs to help new teachers get off to a great start in our schools, develop plans to retain quality teachers, and lead all areas of personnel management.

Several changes at the school level will also take place when students return from the Christmas break. Uras Agee will be the Exceptional Education Coordinator for Washington Alternative.  Agee was the principal at Brainerd High.  Zac Brown, currently secondary director in the Opportunity Zone, will serve as interim principal at Brainerd. Jasmine Farrow will be the new assistant principal at East Side Elementary.  She replaces Greg Wilke who was recently named principal at East Side to replace Stephanie Hinton.  Hinton became Director of Teaching and Learning for the school district.  Donald Mullins, currently dean of students at Ooltewah High will become assistant principal at East Lake Academy, Michael Calloway, a teacher at Washington Alternative, will be the assistant principal at Orchard Middle School, and Shannon Brazille, principal at Hardy Elementary, will move to assistant principal at Bess T. Sheppard.

“This organizational structure will accelerate the progress of Hamilton County Schools to become the fastest improving school system in Tennessee,” said Dr. Johnson. “These dynamic educational leaders will use their expertise gained over years of service to children to move Hamilton County Schools to an unprecedented level of success in all facets of service to children and the community.”  Johnson added, “I eagerly anticipate the new levels of success this talented team will bring to this community as we work together with the citizens of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to transform our schools to positively impact the future of each child in our schools.”

(WRCB lists several spelling corrections, and corrected factual information to the school district statement above:  The former principal of Hardy Elementary is Shannon Braziel.  The new principal of East Side Elementary is Greg Wilkey.  The new assistant principal of East Lake Academy is Donald Mullins.  Marsha Drake began her teaching career at Soddy Elementary School. Before taking her new position, she was principal of Lakeside Academy, and most recently, director of student services.  Michael Calloway will be assistant principal at Orchard Knob Middle School.  The correct spelling of the school where Ms. Braziel will serve is Bess T. Shepherd Elementary.)  

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