Hamilton County Department of Education, Public Education Foundation, local foundations, businesses, and individuals have come together to launch a comprehensive Leadership Pipeline to support aspiring, new, and veteran principals.
“The Chattanooga community has rallied around public education to invest time, expertise, and resources to ensure every school in Chattanooga has a strong team helping every student become college and career ready. This is a district priority and a community effort,” said Rick Smith, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.
The goal of the pipeline is to significantly change the system of principal selection and support within five years, moving the school district from one with principals who work in isolation to a district with 75 outstanding instructional leaders. These principals will inspire 3,000 teachers who in turn transform the future of 42,000 students, with a potential $620 million impact to the economy.
Almost $1 million has been raised for the launch of the Leadership Pipeline, with pledges totaling over $2 million for the five-year initiative. Johnny Smith, executive director of the McKenzie Foundation and an early champion of this work said, “The Leadership Pipeline is a true reflection of the 'Chattanooga Way'. We had the privilege of working to bring partners to the table around this initiative, including the Benwood Foundation, businesses, and individuals. This is about harnessing the power of Chattanooga to make sure our principals and teachers get the support they need to educate all students.”
The Leadership Pipeline is created around the vision that every principal in Hamilton County must:
1. Increase the academic achievement of all students.
2. Know effective instruction and assessment and use this knowledge to strengthen teaching.
3. Build honest and effective relationships with students, parents, teachers, and community members.
4. Fiercely advocate for all students.
“Being a principal is an incredibly difficult yet incredibly important job. That is why it is imperative we are able to offer the best professional development for our school leaders,” said Dan Challener, president of Public Education Foundation. “The Leadership Pipeline builds off of 15 years of leadership work and will offer on-site executive coaching for new principals, mentorship for third-year principals, monthly training sessions, learning networks for all principals, and peer and outside evaluation.”
Gail Huffstutler, principal at East Ridge Elementary, is excited about the initiative. She said, “As a graduate of both Leadership Fellows and the Principal Leadership Academy, I have been lucky to benefit from intensive support. To know the Chattanooga community recognizes the importance of investing in principals throughout our careers so we can give our very best to our students is inspiring.”