Biggest principal shakeup in Hamilton Co. schools may be complete
UPDATE June 22, 2018:
Hamilton County Schools has apparently completed the largest principal shakeup in the district's history, with 26 new principals in place compared to the first day of school in August 2017. Although no official announcement has been made, former secondary school director LeAndrea Ware is currently serving as interim executive principal at Howard School, and will reportedly lead the school in 2018-19. Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson also announced the principal selections for Nolan Elementary and Alpine Crest Elementary.
Dr. Kelley Weiss, current assistant superintendent in Enfield Maine, will be the new principal at Alpine Crest Elementary. Dr. Weiss has been an assistant superintendent for the past year in charge of curriculum development and teacher evaluation. She has spent six years in school administration, and she taught for eight years. Weiss was the principal at Enfield Station School from 2012 to 2017. She also spent two years as principal and assistant principal at Millinocket, Maine. Classroom experience for Weiss was as a science teacher at Old Town High School in Maine. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Coastal Carolina University; a master’s from the University of Maine, and a doctorate from Liberty University.
The new principal of Nolan Elementary is Dr. Ashley Aldridge Wilson, an administrator returning home to Hamilton County. She grew up on Signal Mountain and taught there early in her education career. Wilson started as a Pre-K teacher at Garber Elementary. She spent a year teaching in Orlando, Florida before spending six years at Thrasher Elementary. Wilson moved into administration as assistant principal at Barger Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. She was also an assistant principal at Woodmore Elementary and Hardy Elementary. Wilson moved to Knox County in 2010 to become a principal. Wilson returns from her current position as an early learning instructional coach in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a master’s and specialist’s from Tennessee Technological University and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
UPDATE May 30, 2018: Five additional Hamilton County principal moves were announced Wednesday, May 30. Principals were named for Barger Academy of Fine Arts, Daisy Elementary, Snow Hill Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary and Signal Mountain Middle/High.
In the 2012-13 school year, superintendent Rick Smith moved 22 principals. Wednesday's moves make 23 new principals announced so far during 2017-18, with at least three more (Nolan Elementary, Alpine Crest, and Howard) still to be named.
Lea Ann Burk, announced earlier this month as new principal at Alpine Crest Elementary, has decided to retire, according to sources. Her proposed transfer from Snow Hill Elementary was met with protests from students and parents. A replacement principal at Alpine Crest has not yet been announced.
Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, who took office in the summer of 2017, was widely believed to have been hired to make changes by School Board members. If so, he has certainly met that mandate. The principal moves are due to a mix of retirements, central office changes, demotions, and transfers.
Roxanne Anthony will be the new principal of Barger Academy of Fine Arts, replacing Greg Bagby, who was at the school for ten years. He is reportedly to moving to a new Central Office position in Information Technology. Anthony is currently the assistant principal of Clifton Hills Elementary School. She has also served as an assistant principal at Spring Creek Elementary School. Anthony received her bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University; master’s from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Administrative Leadership certification from UTC.
Lee Zeigler comes to Daisy Elementary from East Brainerd Elementary. Zeigler has been an assistant principal for grades three thru five at East Brainerd since 2016. Before becoming an administrator, Zeigler was an instructional math coach in the district. He coached teachers at East Ridge, Harrison, and Clifton Hills Elementary in math instruction. He worked at Tyner Middle School in Hamilton County; Asheboro High School and Southwestern Randolph High in Asheboro, North Carolina; and at Coleridge Elementary School in Coleridge, North Carolina. Work at the Brainerd Baptist Church brought him to Chattanooga. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill University, a master’s from Carson-Newman University, and he is a current member of cohort 20 in the ED.D Leadership Program at Trevecca Nazarene University.
Phil Iannarone, current principal at Spring Creek Elementary, is being transferred to Snow Hill Elementary, to replace Lea Ann Burk who was transferred to Alpine Crest, then chose to retire. He has been the principal at Spring Creek since 2014. Iannarone also has administrative experience in Hamilton County Schools as an assistant principal at East Lake Academy and Hunter Middle School. He began his career in Hamilton County as a CTE teacher at Central High School in 2004. He attended Lee University, where he earned his BS degree in education. He began his career in the private school sector where he served as a teacher and a principal for 13 years. During that time he earned his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a specialist’s degree from Lee.
Kristy Dillard will be the new principal Spring Creek Elementary replacing Iannarone. She has served as the school’s assistant principal since 2015. Before Spring Creek, Dillard was the assistant principal at Clifton Hills Elementary for the 2014-2015 school year. She started her career as a classroom teacher at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary. Dillard has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Dr. Shane Harwood will serve as principal at Signal Mountain Middle/High, replacing Todd Stinson who was transferred to Lookout Valley Middle/High. Harwood has been principal at Nolan Elementary in the Signal Mountain community for the last eight years. He began his career in Hamilton County Schools in 1998 as a teacher at Hardy Elementary. Harwood then moved to North Hamilton County Elementary where he taught from 1999 to 2006. He was promoted to assistant principal at Snow Hill Elementary in 2006 and served in that role for two years before becoming the principal at the school in 2008. Harwood served at Snow Hill for two years before moving to Nolan Elementary as principal in 2010. He earned a bachelor’s from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a master’s from Tennessee Technological University and his doctorate from Walden University.
PREVIOUS STORY from May 21, 2018: The biggest principal shakeup ever in Hamilton County continued Monday with the appointments of nine new principals. In the 2012-13 school year, superintendent Rick Smith moved 22 principals. Monday's moves make 19 new principals announced so far during 2017-18, with at least four more (Daisy, Snow Hill, Signal Mountain Middle/High, and Howard) still to be named. Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, who took office in the summer of 2017, was widely believed to have been hired to make changes by School Board members. If so, he has certainly met that mandate. The principal moves are due to a mix of retirements, central office changes, demotions, and transfers.
By contrast, several smaller surrounding school districts report no principal changes for the upcoming school year. These include Dade County, Dalton City, and Walker County in Georgia, and Bledsoe, Sequatchie and Cleveland City Schools in Tennessee. Catoosa County in Georgia and McMinn County in Tennessee each report one principal change.
In Hamilton County, principals were named Monday for Alpine Crest Elementary, East Ridge Elementary, Hixson Elementary, Rivermont Elementary, Westview Elementary, Wolftever Elementary, Loftis Middle, Ooltewah Middle and Tyner Academy.
READ MORE | More Hamilton County principal moves
Veteran Hamilton County principal Lea Ann Burk has been transferred to Alpine Crest from Snow Hill Elementary, despite protests from Snow Hill students, and a petition drive led by the school's PTA. It will be her fourth principal assignment. She has served as the principal at Falling Water Elementary, Brown Academy, and Lakeside Academy. Burk led Falling Water Elementary to the National Blue Ribbon School honor in 2016. She began her administrative career at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts as an assistant principal. Burk was a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary and spent 15 years in the classroom at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, which she helped to open. Burk holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has also taught at UTC as an adjunct professor. Burk replaces the retiring Norma Faerber.
Ursula Greene will be the new principal at Hixson Elementary School. Greene has served as assistant principal at the school since July 2013. She has also served as an assistant principal at Hardy Elementary, and Orchard Knob Middle School. Greene has worked in Hamilton County Schools for 18 years as a teacher and administrator. She is a Leadership Fellows graduate and a Principal Leadership Academy graduate. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a specialist degree from Tennessee Technological University. Greene replaces the retiring Julie Fine.
Debbie Caudle is the new principal at Westview Elementary School, replacing Margo Williams who has retired after 19 years at Westview. She has been assistant principal at Westview since 2016. Before moving into administration, she was a third and fourth-grade teacher at Wallace A. Smith Elementary. She wrote and was awarded a technology grant to begin a news team at Smith for students to deliver the daily announcements in a news format. She also taught at Woodmore Elementary in Hamilton County, as well as at Polk County Schools in Lakeland, Florida; and Dallas Independent School District in Dallas, Texas. Caudle holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and a master’s from Nova Southeastern University
Gail Huffstutler, current principal at East Ridge Elementary, will make a move to Wolftever Elementary School. She has been principal at East Ridge since 2013. Huffstutler served as an assistant principal at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary. She was a teacher and literacy coach at Brown International Academy from 2008 to 2011. She has taught fifth, third, and first-grade, as well as kindergarten, and she has taught at Brown, Westview Elementary, and Alpine Crest Elementary. Huffstutler holds a bachelor’s degree from Lee University, and a master’s from Trevecca Nazarene University
With the opening of the principal position at East Ridge Elementary, Juan Moreno will be promoted from assistant principal to principal at the school. Moreno has been the assistant principal at East Ridge Elementary since 2016. He started his career as a kindergarten teacher in 2009 and moved to second-grade in 2014. Moreno has a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Jill Evans will be the new principal at Rivermont Elementary, replacing Nikki Bailey, who has been transferred to Lookout Valley. Evans is currently the assistant principal at Middle Valley Elementary School. Before moving into administration, she worked as a math coach and literacy coach at Middle Valley when it was known as Ganns Elementary. She started her teaching career as a third-grade teacher and also spent time in kindergarten and first-grade at Green Math and Science Magnet and Ball Camp Primary in Knoxville. Evans taught at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and Battle Academy in Hamilton County Schools. Evans holds a bachelor’s degree, urban specialists certification, and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The new principal at Loftis Middle School will be Dr. Mary Catherine Gatlin, replacing Brent Eller, who was transferred to East Hamilton. The new school year in the fall will begin Gatlin’s 20th year in education. In those years she has served as a classroom teacher, data coordinator, curriculum developer, program director, and an instructional coach in West Tennessee. She moved to Chattanooga with her family in 2013 to work at Red Bank High School as in curriculum interventionist and later became an assistant principal. Dr. Gatlin is currently serving as an assistant principal at Signal Mountain Middle/High School and has been there since 2015. Dr. Gatlin holds a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and an Educational Leadership doctoral degree from Union University.
Dawn Lim will take over the reins at Ooltewah Middle School., replacing Chrissy Easterly, who has accepted a central office position. Lim is currently an assistant principal at Tyner Academy and has held that position since 2014. She was an assistant principal at Loftis Middle School. Lim started her teaching career in Hamilton County Schools as an English teacher at Tyner in 1998. She was also a volunteer volleyball assistant coach, an assistant track coach and a trainer of diversity workshops. She moved to Red Bank High School a year later to teach English. Lim is a product of Hamilton County Schools as she is a graduate of Hixson High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory and Henry College and a master’s from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Gerald Harris will be the new principal at Tyner Academy, replacing Julius Hargrove, who is retiring. Harris is a proud Tyner graduate of the Class of 1985. He was also formerly dean of students at Tyner and was the head basketball coach from 2007 to 2015. Harris was twice named Coach of the Year while at Tyner. Harris is currently the assistant principal at Dalewood Middle and has been there since 2015. He acquired extensive business experience before beginning his career in education. Harris was a contract manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority and was a mortgage officer for SunTrust Mortgage and AmSouth Bank. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State and a master’s from Trevecca Nazarene University.