Tom Arnold, principal at Ooltewah Elementary, will be reassigned to the position of assistant principal at East Ridge Middle School. Mr. Arnold had spent the last 10 years at Ooltewah Elementary. School officials said the reassignment "was the result of a personnel issue that did not involve academic or school financial responsibilities related to the role of principal."
Mr. Arnold will serve a 10-day suspension before beginning his new position at East Ridge Middle.
Ooltewah Elementary will be led by a veteran administrator as Margo Williams will take over as interim principal while the district seeks a permanent leader for the school, it was stated.
Ms. Williams retired as principal of Westview Elementary at the end of last school year. She had been at Westview since 1999 and was the longest tenured principal in Hamilton County Schools when she retired.
Mr. Arnold issued this statement:
To Whom It May Concern,
The announcement will be made today by Hamilton County Schools that I will no longer be principal of Ooltewah Elementary School. The reassignment from principal to assistant principal is the result of mistakes that I have made in my personal life and I accept responsibility for my actions and the resulting change in positions in the school district.
At no time did my personal issues negatively affect the academic integrity or financial stability of Ooltewah Elementary. I will always treasure my time at Ooltewah Elementary. The school, staff, students and community have been a big part of my life.
I ask that you please respect my privacy and my family as we move forward past this moment in time.
I look forward to working with the children, staff, and community at East Ridge Middle School.
Mr. Arnold began his education career at Nolan Elementary in 1999 as the school’s physical education teacher. He became assistant principal at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary in 2006. Prior to arriving at Ooltewah, he served as the interim principal at Harrison Elementary for the spring semester of 2008.
He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor of Science and completed his Master of Arts degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University. He was also a member of the Leadership Fellows with the Public Education Foundation.