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Robin Copp (contributed photo from Hamilton County Schools)

The Ooltewah High School principal who took over after the 2015 rape scandal and quickly became Tennessee's principal of the year is leaving the school district to take a job with a new state improvement network for Hamilton County's failing schools.

Robin Copp is in her third year as the school's principal and will transition to the Tennessee Department of Education Office of School Improvement's new Partnership Network in the coming weeks. She was the 2017-2018 principal of the year in Tennessee.

"She has distinguished herself as one of our top principals in Tennessee and has consistently shown herself as an educator and leader who is student-centered and outcomes-oriented," according to a statement from Tennessee's commissioner of education Candice McQueen. "That will be critical in driving the work of the Partnership Network forward with urgency and focus."

The Partnership Network is a collaboration overseen by the district and the state and a separate advisory board, charged with overseeing the school improvement work at five of the district's worst-performing schools, including Brainerd High School and its feeder system. Copp will serve as key facilitator, or the network's liaison between the district and the state.

Copp has been a school administrator in Hamilton County Schools for 13 years. She served in leadership positions at Signal Mountain Middle/High School and Sale Creek Middle/High School before becoming Ooltewah's principal. Previously, she was an assistant principal and teacher at Sale Creek after working as a physical education teacher at five county schools, according to a news release.

East Ridge Middle School principal Angela Cass will replace Copp at Ooltewah. Cass has spent 20 years in the district. Ten of those years were in administration at the middle and high school level. For Cass, the move is a homecoming, of sorts. She began her career as a teacher at Ooltewah Middle School.

Cass has since been an assistant principal at Soddy-Daisy High School, Orchard Knob Middle School and East Lake Academy. She was a 2015 graduate of the PEF Principal Leadership Academy. The academy trains aspiring leaders in a year-long program designed to prepare future principals and school leaders.

Previously, Cass taught social studies and language arts.

There will be minimal changes to leadership at East Ridge Middle School. Assistant principal Christy Drake was named interim principal. Drake has been the school's assistant principal for more than 5 years. She was a 2017-2018 graduate of PEF Principal Leadership Academy and has other leadership training. Previously, Drake was an inclusion, resource, gifted and advisory teacher at Loftis MIddle, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts and Tyner Academy.

Staff writer Meghan Mangrum contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Mark Pace at or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.