Dr. Bryan Johnson discusses first year with Hamilton County Schools
One year ago, Dr. Bryan Johnson signed a four year contract to become the superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. More than 44,000 students walk the halls of Hamilton County’s 79 schools. Johnson says he wants the best for each student, but to accomplish that, he needed to establish a firm foundation.
“Get the right people in place, the right leaders, the right teachers, and the right support staff. This year has been about developing structure,” Johnson said.
This fall, students can expect several new teachers after many opted to take a retirement incentive. More than two dozen principals are also being relocated, making up the largest shakeup in the county's history.
Next year, there will be 17 Future Ready Institutes designed to expose students to different career opportunities. “We want them to see the earning potential of the different career opportunities.” Johnson said.
Johnson said teamwork from city and county leaders is important to help students. “The board has charged and challenged us to do things in a fiscally responsible way but also in a disruptive way. There's nothing wrong with being disruptive especially when it's being disruptive for children,” Johnson said.
The school board voted to help fund more school security. Johnson says the district is working to meet the emotional needs of students when school violence is at the top of minds nationwide. “Start to dig in and look at the folks that have committed these heinous crimes. We will increase our counselor presence,” Johnson added.
Only four out of every 10 students are proficient on a 3rd-grade reading level in Hamilton County. Johnson says it's vital to better prepare students for the future of the local economy. “People want to come to a place where their kids can go to great schools,” Johnson said.
Johnson also gave credit to school board members. He says there were dozens of conversations with community members to create these changes over the last year. He plans to keep those conversations going. Johnson has two school-age children in Hamilton County schools. He says he and his family hope to be in Chattanooga for the long haul.