Hamilton County Schools deputy superintendent is among candidates for Minneapolis superintendent position

Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Deputy Superintendent Sonia Stewart speaks Oct. 24 to a group of teachers and staff at a community feedback meeting about the school facilities plan at Soddy Daisy High School.
Staff photo by Olivia Ross / Deputy Superintendent Sonia Stewart speaks Oct. 24 to a group of teachers and staff at a community feedback meeting about the school facilities plan at Soddy Daisy High School.


Hamilton County Schools Deputy Superintendent Sonia Stewart is one of two candidates for a superintendent position in Minnesota.

Stewart met with community members and interviewed with the school board of Minneapolis Public Schools, a public school district with about 28,000 students, Monday.

She was selected as one of the finalists in the district's hunt for its next superintendent earlier this month. The other finalist, Lisa Sayles-Adams, is the superintendent of Eastern Carver County Schools in Minnesota. Sayles-Adams will meet with the public and be interviewed Wednesday.

The Minneapolis school board will meet Friday to select its preferred candidate. A start date will be determined with the new superintendent after a contract is negotiated and approved.

Stewart was appointed as deputy superintendent by Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Justin Robertson in December 2021.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County school board grapples with use for Gateway building, future of Soddy-Daisy schools)

She previously served as the community superintendent for the MidTown Learning Community. Before moving to Hamilton County, Stewart worked as a high school principal, administrator and math teacher in Nashville.

In her interview with the Minneapolis school board, Stewart spoke about the need to build trust with teachers and the community, as well as the necessity of creating an environment where families feel welcome, according to a video of the interview.

Like Hamilton County, the Minneapolis district is creating a district transformation plan that could include closing and consolidating schools. Stewart referenced the community meetings the Hamilton County school district has hosted this fall about its school facilities plan and specifically the way the district has pivoted on the recommendation for Clifton Hills Elementary due to feedback, as an example of a way to listen and adjust to get buy-in for Minneapolis' district transformation.

She also touted Hamilton County's level five status, noting it received the highest possible growth score from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System earlier this year.

Contact Shannon Coan at scoan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.


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