Hamilton County Schools is restructuring the leadership of the Opportunity Zone, one of the district's five learning communities established under Superintendent Bryan Johnson.
Current Chief of the Opportunity Zone Jill Levine has led the group of 12 of the district's highest needs schools since the Opportunity Zone's inception in 2017. Her focus as chief of innovation and choice will turn to leading the district's overall efforts around school choice under "My Future Schools," including magnet schools, open enrollment schools and the Future Ready Institutes.
"Jill Levine understands the impact of innovation and school choice on the young learner and is the perfect selection to move efforts forward in this important area for our school district and the children we serve," Johnson said in a statement. "Making sure our graduates are future ready, a primary action area in Future Ready 2023, is directly linked to innovation and providing choice to ignite the passion for learning in our students."
The Opportunity Zone was established to support the district's worst-performing schools, and school officials say it is already showing early signs of success. Former Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen credited the Opportunity Zone work as one of the inspiration's to the State Partnership Network, which unites the district and the state to oversee the lowest-performing of those 12 schools.
Stephanie Hinton, currently the district's director of teaching and learning, will take over as executive director of the Opportunity Zone. Her position will not be filled, but will be dissolved into other positions in the department.
The organizational structure of the Opportunity Zone will change slightly to mirror the other learning communities in the district, according to a press release from the district.
Since the Opportunity Zone was established, the district was divided into four more learning communities, each with their own executive directors as well.
"Stephanie Hinton has a wealth of experience and knowledge on how to positively impact teaching and learning for children, and this will help us to continue the great work being done in the Opportunity Zone," Johnson said in a statement. "She will be a strong influence on academic growth for children in the Opportunity Zone."
Hinton has more than 17 years of experience successfully leading schools in the area. She spent six years as principal at East Side Elementary School, and seven years as principal at Red Bank Elementary.
Hinton was also an assistant principal at East Side and Hillcrest elementary schools. She was named the 2016 Principal of the Year for Hamilton County Schools and received the 2011 NAACP Image Award as "Educator of the Year."
HAMILTON COUNTY SCHOOLS LEADERSHIP TEAM
Chief of Staff: Nakia Towns Edwards
Chief Operations Officer: Ken Bradshaw
Chief Schools Officer: Justin Robertson
Chief of Innovation and Choice: Jill Levine
Chief Talent Officer: Keith Fogleman
Chief Equity Officer: Marsha Drake
Chief Business Officer: Brent Goldberg
Prior to her role as Chief of the Opportunity Zone, Levine served as the district's Chief Academic Officer. She served as principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet, an assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary, and taught at White Oak Elementary in Hamilton County Schools. She also taught in New Orleans Public Schools, where she also served as a Teach for America corps member, before coming to Chattanooga.
While at Normal Park, the school won the Ronald P. Simpson Award, Magnet Schools of America's highest honor, and a J.F. Kennedy School of Distinction, according to the district's press release.
In 2009, Levine was appointed by Governor Bredesen to serve as one of fifteen members on the Tennessee Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee. She was named National Principal of the Year by Magnet Schools of America in 2012.
During the 2014-2015 school year, she served in during President Barack Obama's administration as the first full-time Principal Ambassador Fellow at the United States Department of Education.
Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.
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