Four educators from Hamilton County Schools were honored Wednesday at the Public Education Foundation luncheon to celebrate their 30th-anniversary luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center. The four were finalists among a dozen community leaders making a difference in the lives of students in the community.
Chris Seanard, the Volkswagen eLab specialist at Dalewood Middle School, won the Innovation Award. Mr. Seanard began leading the VW eLab at Dalewood in 2017, and his teaching innovations are helping engage students in problem-solving and entrepreneurship. He was recognized for his support of Dalewood Middle’s successful student-run business and the school’s electric race car team. Mr. Seanard started his teaching career as a math teacher.
The other finalists for the Innovation Award included Shannon Seigle, a science teacher at STEM School Chattanooga and Brittany Harris, a curriculum coach at East Brainerd Elementary. Ms. Seigle is a veteran science teacher who developed a 4-D collaborative virtual reality initiative that allows students to control university-grade microscopes as they conference with research scientists.
Ms. Harris developed The Passage which is a bus that allows teachers to take tutoring to the neighborhoods where children live so that teachers, children, and parents can work together to help make children successful. The Passage has garnered national attention with features on The Ellen Show and the Steve Harvey Show on national television. The Passage was launched in 2016.
Sarah Broadnax, college and career advisor at Tyner Academy, won the College & Career Success Award. Ms. Broadnax has a passion for helping young people with finding the best college or university option after high school. She also helps students obtain financial aid as part of their college search. Ms. Broadnax does not just want to help these students get into college, but she works to help them be successful and become productive citizens in the community. She has been employed with Hamilton County Schools for 49 years. Ms. Broadnax retired in 2002 as a guidance counselor but returned to continue her mission.
Susan Street, community advocate for education; and Rebecca Suttles, director of scholarships at the Community Foundation were also finalists for the award. Ms. Street founded Camp College in 1999 that helps first-generation college students transition from high school to college. Camp College continues to serve 100 students annually. Ms. Suttles also works with first-generation college students in the community.
Carrie Bishop, an 8th-grade language arts teacher at Hixson Middle School, won the Teacher Leadership award. Ms. Bishop has served on school-based leadership teams throughout her career as a grade level team leader, and as a department chair. She was awarded Most Outstanding Graduate Student in 2010 and won Middle School Teacher of the Year for Hamilton County Schools in 2016. Ms. Bishop was a Leadership Fellow, a TN SCORE Educator Fellow, a STEM Fellow, a Policy Fellow, and a participant in TN STEM Innovation.
The other finalists for the award were Jessica Hubbuch, the science department chair at The Howard School; and Arthur Williams, STEM instructional coach at Lakeside Academy. Ms. Hubbuch teachers chemistry at The Howard School and seeks to spread a love of science to her students. She has used many of PEF’s programs to improve the learning experience for her students including Teacherpreneur, Policy Fellows, STEM Fellows, Project Inspire, and Leadership Fellows. Ms. Hubbuch is one of nine teachers in the Tennessee Ambassador Network. Mr. Williams explored the world as a child of an Army family and utilized his exposure to improve education locally. He helps teachers integrate STEM best practices into the instruction in the classroom.
Blake Freeman, the School Leadership Award winner, has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in his 17 years in public education. In 2017, Mr. Freeman became the director of Future Ready Institutes for Hamilton County. Since then, he has led the development of 27 careers focused institutes in 13 Hamilton County high schools. He has also worked with local businesses to get $1.75 million in financial support for the new programs in our schools. Mr. Freeman is a graduate of PEF’s Leadership Fellows Program and the Principal Leadership Academy. Jacquie Hauth, principal at North Hamilton Elementary and Juan Moreno, principal at East Ridge Elementary, were the other finalists in the category. Ms. Hauth serves as a North River Learning Community Mentor Principal, she was the Hamilton Council for PTA’s 2015-16 Principal of the Year and is president of the Hamilton County Principals Association. She is a graduate of PEF’s Leadership Fellows Program and Principal Leadership Academy. Mr. Moreno is in his first year as principal at East Ridge Elementary. He is a graduate of PEF’s Leadership Fellows Program and the Principal Leadership Academy.
Daphne Penn, a graduate of The Howard School, was a featured speaker for the luncheon. Ms. Penn earned her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, her masters from Purdue University and now is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University. She shared how PEF programs, dedicated educators in the public schools she attended and her parents encouraged her to reach for her dreams.
PEF refurbished 28 elementary school libraries in 1994 and has moved into the technological age by helping to develop 16 VW eLabs in middle schools and high schools in the last two years. PEF has invested almost $100 million in efforts to strengthen our public schools in the community.
The Howard School band and the Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts Women’s Ensemble performed at the special luncheon. Student entrepreneur groups from Dalewood Middle School, The Howard School and Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences displayed their products at the event.