Bryan Johnson reshapes Hamilton County Schools' central office

Bryan Johnson reshapes Hamilton County Schools' central office

December 22nd, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson speaks during a celebration event Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, at Orchard Knob Elementary School in Chattanooga, Tenn. The event was held to kick off the Opportunity Zone initiative.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

Hamilton County Schools' new superintendent has reorganized the system's top leadership, creating new positions such as a chief of staff and an equity officer.

The reorganization of the top central office leadership aims to enable school leaders to act more quickly to improve student performance and system efficiency, according to a news release.

The new structure was announced in an email from schools spokesman Tim Hensley on Friday afternoon.

"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," Superintendent Bryan Johnson said in the release.

Several assistant superintendents will assume new titles and two new people will join the top leadership staff.

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Serving as chief of staff to Johnson will be T. Nakia Towns Edwards, former assistant commissioner of data and research at the Tennessee Department of Education and former chief accountability officer Knox County Schools. She focused in Nashville on using data to achieve continuous performance improvement in public schools, while her work in research and evaluation, federal programs, and teacher and student advancement led to the district's teacher evaluation model and strategic compensation plan.

Earlier this year, Edwards was a candidate for Hamilton County's superintendent position, which ultimately went to Johnson.

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The current assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Justin Robertson, will get the new title of chief schools officer. He will lead efforts in teaching and learning, school leadership, post-secondary preparation, and professional learning. Robertson is a former principal at Red Bank High School, Brown Middle School, and Lookout Valley Elementary and has served in schools in West Tennessee.

Jill Levine's appointment as chief of the Opportunity Zone was previously announced. She previously served as chief academic officer. As principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet and assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary, she led the transformation of two low-performing schools and received the first-place award for three consecutive years from the Educational Consumers Foundation.

Lee McDade's title changes from assistant superintendent of administrative services to chief operations officer. He will be responsible for 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.

The other newcomer is Don Hall, who will be the chief business officer. In Manatee County, Fla., Hall developed a fiscal recovery plan that turned an $8.9 million deficit to a $14.4 million surplus and got the school system recognized for financial excellence.

As chief equity officer, Marsha Drake will lead equity initiatives, student services, counselors and social workers, English learners, special education, homeless services and coordinated health. Drake has served in many Hamilton County schools in exceptional education and administration.

A newly created of chief talent officer will streamline services in the human resources department. That position will be filled in the coming weeks, according to the news release. That official will lead teacher recruitment, help new teachers start and succeed, and head up personnel management.

The release also noted personnel changes that will take place over Christmas break.

Brainerd High Principal Uras Agee is becoming the exceptional education coordinator at Washington Alternative School.

Zac Brown, now secondary director in the Opportunity Zone, will become interim principal at Brainerd.

Jasmine Farrow will be the new assistant principal at East Side Elementary. She replaces Greg Wilkey, who was recently named principal at East Side after Stephanie Hinton became director of teaching and learning for the school district.

Ooltewah Dean of Students Donnie Mullins will become assistant principal at East Lake Academy.

Washington Alternative teacher Michael Calloway becomes assistant principal at Orchard Knob Middle, and Hardy Elementary Principal Shannon Braziel will take the assistant principal position at Bess T. Shepherd.


This story was updated at 8:24 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, 2017 to correct misspellings of names.


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