Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, has been named an Austin Peay State University 2019 Alumni Award winner. During the Austin Peay Homecoming celebration this November, Dr. Johnson will be among six alumni of the school honored. Dr. Johnson will receive an Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Dr. Johnson has led Hamilton County Schools to historic improvement and academic achievement since joining the district in July of 2017. For the 2016-2017 school year before Dr.
Johnson’s arrival, Hamilton County Schools ranked number 130 of 144 school districts in Tennessee and received a Level 1 - the lowest level for academic growth. The following year the district ranked 77th of 146 school districts and achieved Level 3. For 2019, Hamilton County Schools improved to the number two position of 146 school districts in the state and earned the highest level of academic growth possible with a Level 5. In two years, the district improved 128 positions in academic growth rankings for the state and went from a Level 1 to a Level 5 district. The district also had 45 schools earn Level 5 in 2019, and 32 schools received Reward status. With the academic progress experienced in this short time, Hamilton County Schools is now the fastest-improving school district in the state of Tennessee.
The Opportunity Zone was started early in Dr. Johnson’s tenure to address rapid school improvement in 12 of the district’s low performing schools. The changes averted a takeover of five of those schools by the state and led to a new partnership for improvement with the Tennessee Department of Education. Dr. Johnson launched Future Ready Institutes in the district’s high schools to make learning more meaningful for today’s teens and provide future-ready graduates prepared for success after graduation. The program was so successful in the first year that the Urban League of Chattanooga awarded the program its Community Impact Award.
Schools in Hamilton County have made great strides in technology under Dr. Johnson’s leadership. Middle schools became 1-to-1 technology schools last school year, providing each student with an electronic device to open a new world of knowledge for children and teachers. High schools are adding -to-1 technology this year. The district developed a comprehensive five-year action plan called Future Ready 2023 to provide a roadmap for continuous improvement in the future. Advancements in the arts led to the community’s selection as a 2019 Best Community for Music Education, and the John F. Kennedy Center designating Hamilton County as an Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child Community.
After earning his Bachelor of Science in business administration from Austin Peay in 2004, Dr. Johnson received a master of teaching degree from Belmont University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also completed studies at Harvard in the school’s Young American Leadership program.
Dr. Johnson began his education career as a teacher and coach. He quickly advanced to a school administrator, director of secondary schools, and chief academic officer all within ten years. Johnson is a former Austin Peay football player, a Tennessee Team member for the ESSA Leadership and Learning Community, served on the board of the National Career Coalition, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga. Leadership Tennessee recently selected Dr. Johnson for its latest class.