TN DOE Names 52 School Leaders For Rural Principal Network

Friday, September 14, 2018

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today the 52 principals who will serve in the inaugural class of the Tennessee Rural Principals Network, one part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Transforming School Leadership Initiative, which is a "comprehensive approach to improve the preparation, retention and development of Tennessee’s principals." The department is also providing funding for scholarships to support professional development for up to 200 additional rural principals. 
"Principals in rural schools are often unable to take advantage of leadership development due to the cost of registration and travel and have few networking opportunities to learn from other school leaders.

To address this need, the department is implementing a two-prong approach by creating a professional network for 52 rural principals, who will also receive funding to attend state-led conferences and training opportunities, and by providing scholarships for up to 200 additional rural principals to attend state-provided training opportunities," officials said.
“We must ensure that every school, no matter where it is located in Tennessee, is led by a principal who is supported and developed to his or her fullest potential and able to guide our teachers and students to success,” said Comm. McQueen. “The Tennessee Rural Principals Network is an innovative approach to meet the unique needs of school leaders in our rural communities and allow them to grow professionally and learn from one another to ultimately benefit our students.” 
"The department and school districts have supported school leaders in part by implementing an effective evaluation system and offering robust professional learning; however, opportunities for school leaders in rural communities are still limited. Addressing Tennessee’s broader leadership challenges involves making sure that the state is also targeting rural school leaders with access to high-quality professional learning," officials said.
The participants selected for the Tennessee Rural Principals Network will receive funding to support their attendance and learning at five events during the 2018-19 school year designed to provide them with professional learning aligned to help address those challenges that are unique to rural leadership.  
"The Tennessee Rural Principals Network recognizes the importance of providing a sustained opportunity for rural principals by providing them the ability to participate in:  ongoing professional learning from state and national experts on evidence-based strategies that improve educator effectiveness and student outcomes in a rural setting; opportunities to exchange ideas, strategies, resources, and common challenges with peers in a safe and supportive setting; and opportunities to work with a smaller group of peers in a community of practice focused on a common challenge to identify best practices currently in use and to reduce isolation. 
The Transforming School Leadership Initiative was announced by Governor Haslam in March 2018 and leverages both state and private dollars to improve leader pipeline programs, reward and retain individuals effectively leading our state’s lowest performing schools, and provide networking opportunities and support for principals in our rural communities. Gov. Haslam has dedicated more than $3.5 million in this year’s budget to advance this work, and additionally, the Ayers Foundation, Scarlett Family Foundation, and the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) have invested a combined $600,000 to the efforts. 

A full list of members of the Tennessee Rural Principals Network is below.


School District


Karri Hobby

Anderson County

Norwood Elementary

Beth Roeder

Anderson County

Andersonville Elementary

Brooks Rawson

Bells City School

Bells Elementary School

Teresa Robinson

Blount County

Lanier Elementary

Sandi Wilson

Campbell County

Homer A. Rutherford Learning Academy

Angela Cossey

Cannon County

Woodland School

Diana Bowers

Carter County

Unaka Elementary

Melinda Broyles

Cheatham County

Ashland City Elementary

Melissa Brock

Claiborne County

H.Y. Livesay Middle School

Sharon Tolliver

Claiborne County

Midway Elementary School

Justin Whittenbarger

Cumberland County

Stone Elementary

Lenita Click

Dyersburg City Schools

Dyersburg Intermediate School

Linda DeBerry

Dyersburg City Schools

Dyersburg Primary School

Kim Worley

Dyersburg City Schools

Dyersburg High School

Sheri York

Fentress County

Pine Haven Elementary

James Hughes

Gibson Co Special School District

Gibson County High School

Ginny McElhaney

Grainger County

Washburn School

Jack Evans

Greeneville City Schools

Greeneville Middle School

Patrick Fraley

Greeneville City Schools

Greeneville High School

Shelia Newland

Greeneville City Schools

Highland Elementary

Mitch Cantwell

Hancock County

Hancock County Middle/High School

Cameshia Emerson

Hardeman County

Bolivar Central High School

Carmen Blankenship

Hardin County

West Hardin Elementary

Renee Bernard

Hawkins County

McPheeter's Bend Elementary School

Mary Ann Davis

Hawkins County

St. Clair Elementary

Scott Jones

Hawkins County

Church Hill Middle School

Keri Hanes

Hickman County

East Hickman Intermediate School

Melanie Simpson

Jefferson County

Piedmont Elementary School

Teresa Stansberry

Johnson County

Doe Elementary

David Ayers

Lake County

Lara Kendall Elementary

Gamble Snyder

Lake County

Margaret Newton Elementary

Patty Franks

Lawrence County

Summertown High School

Michael Casteel

Loudon County

Greenback Public School

Kristen Hix

Macon County

Lafayette Elementary School

Kimberly Shurett

Marion County

Jasper Elementary

John Bush

Marshall County

Marshall County High School

Michael Ford

Maury County

Randolph Howell Elementary School

Laura Bunch

Morgan County

Petros Joyner Elementary School

Greg Barclay

Obion County

Obion County Central High School

Kimberly Jackson

Obion County

South Fulton Middle and High School

Chip Gray

Paris Special Schools

Paris Elementary

Tamra Lanning

Polk County

Polk Innovative Learning Academy

Scott Calahan

Roane County

Harriman High School

William Childers

Sequatchie County

Griffith Elementary School

Sabrina McClard

Sumner County

J.W. Wiseman Elementary

Paul Pillow

Trenton Special School District

Trenton Rosenwald Middle School

Michelle Lewis

Warren County

West Elementary

Mike Mansfield

Warren County

Hickory Creek Elementary

Carol Prater

Warren County

Eastside Elementary

John McKinney

Washington County

South Central Elementary

Rachel Price

Washington County

Grandview Elementary School

Farrah Griffith

White County

White County Middle School


For more information on the network, contact Hank Staggs, director of governor’s academy for school leadership, at


Tennessee’s Community And Technical Colleges Awarded 22,998 Degrees, Diplomas During 2019-20 School Year

Chickamauga Resident Wins Sessions College Outstanding Graduate Award

Chattanooga State Premieres Bond Arts And Culture Heritage Series

Tennessee’s Community Colleges awarded a record number of 15,874 degrees and technical certificates during the 2019-20 academic year – a 44 percent increase from a decade ago. The previous high ... (click for more)

Tanner Watson of Chickamauga was among the recipients of Sessions College's tenth annual Sessions College Outstanding Graduate Awards. The awards recognize online student achievement and this ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Community College premieres the virtual Bond Arts and Culture Series this week showcasing African American heritage through arts and culture. Tagged “The Ties That Bond,” ... (click for more)

Student Scene

Tennessee’s Community And Technical Colleges Awarded 22,998 Degrees, Diplomas During 2019-20 School Year

Tennessee’s Community Colleges awarded a record number of 15,874 degrees and technical certificates during the 2019-20 academic year – a 44 percent increase from a decade ago. The previous high was 15,240 two years ago. In addition, the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology awarded 7,124 diplomas and technical certificates – for a total of 22,998 credentials awarded across ... (click for more)

Chickamauga Resident Wins Sessions College Outstanding Graduate Award

Tanner Watson of Chickamauga was among the recipients of Sessions College's tenth annual Sessions College Outstanding Graduate Awards. The awards recognize online student achievement and this year’s recipients represent a wide range of disciplines including graphic design, web design, illustration, ad design and digital photography. Sessions College started its Outstanding ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Sports Wagering Committee Of State Lottery Board Conditionally Approves Licenses For 1st Group Of Sports Betting Operators

The Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Board of Directors on Wednesday conditionally approved licenses for the first group of sports betting operators in Tennessee. The committee also approved its first supplier application and 26 additional vendor applications and announced follow-up meetings Oct. 5 and 16 to take up more applications and review additional ... (click for more)

Volkwagen Unveils New Electric SUV To Be Produced In Chattanooga

Volkswagen unveiled its new ID 4 electric SUV that will be produced at the Enterprise South Industrial Park in Chattanooga. Officials said it will have a suggested retail price of just under $40,000. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, the price is around $32,500. The ID 3 is available only in Europe. This one will be sold in America and China as well as Europe. The first ... (click for more)


Earl Freudenberg Remembers Bettye Parker

One of the most patriotic individuals I have ever known has passed away. Bettye Parker died Tuesday after a short illness. At Bettye's request there will be no memorial service. Bettye ran Bettye Parker Realty on Highway 58 for as long as I can remember. She handled thousands of property transactions. Her son, Paul Parker, also became involved in real estate and is the real ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ballot Bearer Is Shot

Last week was a typical one for Chicago. The weekly shooting gallery was about normal for the third week of September – 100 people shot, 14 homicides and 86 wounded -- on the downtown streets. But there was one shooting that stood out. A United States Postal Service letter carrier was shot four times when she got in the crosshairs of a drive-by shooting and now the USPS is on the ... (click for more)