Hamilton County Schools Announce New Principals

Thursday, April 22, 2021

As the district looks to the 2021-2022 school year, Hamilton County Schools announced several personnel updates Thursday, including new principals. 

Crystal Sorrells has been named the principal at Brainerd High School. She previously served as principal of East Ridge High School and was named 2021 Principal of the Year for Hamilton County Schools. 

Ms. Sorrells, a Brainerd High School graduate, has been an educator for 22 years and is the daughter of two longtime HCS educators. She first joined Hamilton County Schools in 2009 as assistant principal at Brainerd High School. Since then, she’s served as principal at Orchard Knob Middle, Tyner Middle Academy and East Ridge High School. Ms. Sorrells is a High School Mentor Principal for the Missionary Ridge Learning Community and graduated with the first cohort from the Principal Leadership Academy sponsored by Hamilton County Schools, the Public Education Foundation, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and UTC. Ms. Sorrells is excited to lead her alma mater and will be the first female principal of Brainerd High School. She is thrilled to embark on this new journey and to equip students with the skills necessary to be future ready.

Ms. Sorrells earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and a master’s in School Administration from Gardner Webb University. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Carson Newman University.

Juan Moreno has been named the principal at East Ridge High School. He previously served as principal of East Ridge Elementary School.

Mr. Moreno began his career as a kindergarten teacher at Spring Creek Elementary School in 2009 and was there until 2016, when he was hired as assistant principal of East Ridge Elementary School. In 2018, Mr. Moreno was named the principal of East Ridge Elementary School. He has been part of the East Ridge community for over 12 years and is passionate about connecting with students as well as empowering them for future success. Next year’s graduating class at East Ridge High School will include students from the first class Mr. Moreno taught.

Mr. Moreno is currently pursuing his doctoral degree from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Jasmine Farrow has been named the principal at East Lake Elementary School. She previously served as assistant principal at East Side Elementary School.

Ms. Farrow, a 13-year veteran of the district, is an accomplished professional educator with proven expertise in classroom instruction, professional development, change management, and servant leadership. Prior to her role as assistant principal at East Side, Ms. Farrow was an elementary teacher at East Brainerd Elementary and Woodmore Elementary. She values creating and fostering a positive school culture, developing and supporting strong teachers, and ensuring that every student has a meaningful and impactful educational experience.

Ms. Farrow holds a bachelor’s in Human Ecology, a master’s in Teaching Leadership, and an Ed.S in School Leadership and Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Trevecca Nazarene University.

She is a member of the 2021 class for Aspiring Principal L.E.A.D., a new talent development pipeline program aimed at recruiting, developing, and retaining school leaders already within the district. She also participated in the Principal Leadership Academy of 2018-2019 and Leadership Fellows of 2011-2012.

Ms. Farrow replaces Joyce Lancaster, who is retiring after 37 years of service with Hamilton County Schools.

Breckan Duckworth has been named the new Literacy Officer of Hamilton County Schools. Ms. Duckworth previously served as an English language arts lead for the district. Ms. Duckworth’s literacy work will support the district’s strategic plan. It will also focus on one of the district’s focus five performance targets: to see at least 50 percent of all third grade students scoring proficient or advanced as measured by the TNReady English Language Arts assessment by 2023. The literacy officer position is grant-funded.

Last year, Ms. Duckworth played a key role in the district’s launch of HCS at Home, a remote learning program that works alongside in-person instruction. Prior to that, she developed a district-wide literacy framework as English language arts lead for middle schools in the district. Ms. Duckworth earned a bachelor’s in English and Foreign Language and Literature from the University of Alabama, and has a master’s in Educational Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Sarah Lane has been named the principal at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary School. Previously, she served as assistant principal at Loftis Middle School.

Dr. Lane, who has worked in Hamilton County Schools since 2006, believes in transformation through service and leads through the 4 C’s: Culture, Collaboration, Communication and Consistency. She has previously worked in the district as a lead literacy teacher as well as literacy coach and elementary school teacher at Woodmore Elementary, Rivermont Elementary, Normal Park Museum Magnet, and Clifton Hills Elementary. She is a member of the 2021 class for Aspiring Principal L.E.A.D., a new talent development pipeline program aimed at recruiting, developing, and retaining school leaders already within the district. Dr. Lane has also participated in Leadership Fellows of 2012-2013 and Principal Leadership Academy of 2018-2019. She is a graduate of the Leadership Chattanooga Class of 2017 in partnership with the Chattanooga Chamber.

Dr. Lane holds a bachelor’s in Human Ecology from UTC. She also earned a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and Ed.S in Instructional Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Last year, Dr. Lane completed her doctorate in Leadership and Professional Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. Lane replaces Valerie Brown, who is retiring after 28 years of service with Hamilton County Schools and 37 years in Tennessee public education.

“Hamilton County Schools is focused on recruiting and retaining great teachers and leaders,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Part of that commitment means developing existing talent within our team to best serve the district. These changes within our team show the value of investing in growing your own employees, and we are thrilled to welcome this group into these new roles.”



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