Elementary principal of the year: Shane Harwood, Nolan Elementary
Middle school principal of the year: Sandra Barnwell, Hixson Middle
High school principal of the year: Tom McCullough, Signal Mountain Middle/High School
From answering emails promptly to being visible in the community to speaking directly with parents, even after hours, local PTAs honored area principals for the little things they do every day.
The school administrators were celebrated Monday before 250 educators, county officials and parents at the annual Principals and PTAs Appreciation Dinner at the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
The volunteers also expressed their appreciation for principals who make volunteering easy, such as Nolan Elementary's Shane Harwood, who provides entertainment at the school for very young children while their parents are active in classrooms.
Harwood also was applauded for reaching out to the community and bringing in volunteers from Junior Achievement, the TVA and the Creative Discovery Museum to teach kids about economics, power and renewable energy, respectively.
Principal Sandra Barnwell of Hixson Middle was nominated by her school's PTA for providing for students in and out of school, encouraging local churches to help pay for families' utility bills and sending kids home with extra food for the weekend when their parents were financially burdened.
The PTAs also honored standouts among their own ranks, such as the PTA at Westview Elementary, which fostered the arts at the school through several programs. The owner of a dance studio taught the school's PE teacher how to incorporate dance in the curriculum, children's author Anne Dewdney spoke to kids about her work, after-school workshops instructed students in the visual arts and a teacher held a session on video production.
They also went into the community, holding an "Afternoon at the Museum," when parents and children could visit the Hunter Museum of American Art.
The guest speaker for the event was Tennessee PTA President Karen Davis, who opened with an anecdote about visiting a school whose principal locked the doors during school hours, "to keep the parents out."
In the crowd of volunteers, there were several who could not muffle their groans.
Contact staff writer Steve Hardy at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.