Hamilton County Schools Names New Principals, Learning Community Superintendents, Leadership Team Members

  • Monday, May 16, 2022

As the district looks to the 2022-2023 school year, Hamilton County Schools announced several personnel updates Monday. 

The 17 announcements made today include school principals, learning community superintendents, and members of the superintendent’s Senior Leadership team.

Deputy Superintendent Sr. Sonia Stewart says the appointment of principals fulfills one of the district’s greatest obligations. “Every school deserves a great leader,” Ms. Stewart said. “Our principals are responsible to manage the balance between academic press and a culture of care, and we believe that we have a well-prepared and excellent cohort of leaders to lead our school communities during this next season to ensure that all of our students thrive and experience a future without limits.”

Principal Assignments

Dr. Ginger Frady has been named the principal of Red Bank Middle School. An educator for 26 years, she has served as assistant principal at Nolan Elementary School for the past year. Prior to coming to Hamilton County Schools in 2021, Dr. Frady spent 18 years as a K-6 Response to Intervention coach and teacher, four years as an elementary and junior high assistant principal, and three years as an elementary school principal in Fullerton, Ca. She earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from California State University at Fullerton, a Master of Science degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human
Development from California State University at Long Beach. During her time as principal in California, Dr. Frady’s school received a National Schools to Watch Award in 2018, and she was the recipient of the Teach Rock Trailblazer Award from the Rock & Roll Forever Foundation in 2020 for innovative arts integration. 

Dr. Aleisha McCallie has been named as the principal at Tyner Middle Academy. She has served as an assistant principal at Clifton Hills Elementary School since 2020. Dr. McCallie has a 15 year tenure in the field of education. In Hamilton County Schools, she has served as a teacher of mathematics, science, and general subjects in grades K-8. She has served as a Mathematics Instructional Coach at Orchard Knob Middle School and East Brainerd Elementary School. Dr. McCallie is an accomplished professional educator with proven expertise in change management, professional development, and servant leadership. She values creating and fostering a diverse, equitable, positive school culture where strong instructional practices and inclusive pedagogy ensures every student has a meaningful and impactful educational experience. She earned a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University, a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from Milligan College, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology (Biomedical) from East Tennessee State University. She earned a Middle Grades endorsement and a Certificate of School Leadership from the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga. She completed the Public Education Foundation Leadership Fellows program in 2020-21, received a Tennessee Educator Fellowship from SCORE in 2018-19, and received a Butterfield Fellowship from UT Chattanooga in 2018-19.

Travis Miller has been named the principal of Soddy Daisy Middle School. He has served as an assistant principal at Orchard Knob Middle School since 2017. Prior to moving to Orchard Knob, Mr. Miller served as assistant principal at Soddy Daisy High School in 2016-17 and Tyner Middle Academy from 2013-16. From 2004-13, he served in various roles at the 21st Century Academy/CSLA, including health and physical education teacher, Dean of Students, Athletic Director, and Related Arts Team Chair. Mr. Miller earned a Master of Arts in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee. Tech University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Mr. Miller utilizes his talents as a servant leader to create an environment of continuous improvement that focuses on academic press through the lens of a culture of care.

Michael Carson has been named as principal at Signal Mountain Middle/High School, where he has served as an assistant principal since 2018. Mr. Carson began his career with Hamilton County Schools in 2014 at East Ridge High School, where he served as a teacher from 2014-17 and Dean of Students for the 2017-18 school year. Before coming to Hamilton County, he spent 9 years as a teacher in Knoxville and Kentucky. Mr. Carson holds a Post Master’s Certificate in School Leadership from UT Chattanooga, a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Kentucky, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education, also from the University of Kentucky. He was a member of Cohort 17 (2015-16) in the Public Education Foundation Leadership Fellows program and a member of the 2020-21 Cohort of the Aspiring Principal LEAD program. Mr. Carson strives to build a culture of enthusiastic learners in a safe school environment where all stakeholders adopt the mindset “Learn Together, Learn Forever!”

Tersheia Hayes has been named the principal at DuPont Elementary School. She has served as an assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary School since 2018. A 17-year educator, Ms. Hayes was a classroom teacher at the Chattanooga School for the Arts & Sciences from 2005-16, serving students in grades K-4. From 2016-18, she was an Instructional Coach at Woodmore Elementary School. During that time, she authored, received, and managed Read to be Ready state grants totaling $92,000 to reduce reading summer slide and increase and sustain student reading abilities. Ms. Hayes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, a Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership and an Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University. Ms. Hayes is a change agent that believes in the true collective strengths of all to create a learning environment built on a shared vision that all students can and will learn. 

Kristin Childs has been named the principal at East Hamilton Middle School. She has served as assistant principal at Soddy Daisy High School for the past year. A teacher since 2005, Ms. Childs was a teacher at the 21st Century Academy from 2005-09, during which she also served as an Instructional Coach. From 2011-18, she served as an Assistant Principal at Soddy Daisy High School, East Hamilton Middle/High School, Hunter Middle School, and Red Bank High School. She served as Associate Principal at Tyner Academy from 2018-21. Ms. Childs holds a Post Master’s Certificate, a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Ms. Childs is committed to a learning environment where all children can learn and feel a sense of belonging. She strives to build a community of teachers and parents that supports the whole child.

Dr. Kelley Weiss has been named the principal of Wallace A. Smith Elementary School. Dr. Weiss was previously the principal at DuPont Elementary School. During her time in Hamilton County, Dr. Weiss has served as principal at Alpine Crest Elementary School and director of HCS at Home and Summer Reach. Prior to coming to HCS, she was an assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum development and teacher evaluation in LaGrange, Maine. Dr. Weiss was the principal at Enfield Station School from 2012 to 2017. She also spent two years as principal and assistant principal at Millinocket, Maine. As a classroom teacher, Dr. Weiss taught biology, chemistry, forensic sciences, and physics. Dr. Weiss holds a bachelor’s degree from Coastal  Carolina University, a master’s from the University of Maine, and a doctorate from Liberty University.

Learning Community/District Announcements

As Hamilton County Schools begins the final year of its Future Ready 2023 strategic plan, Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson says the learning community and district-level announcements made today are crucial to continued growth over the next five years. 

“Throughout Hamilton County Schools, we understand that leadership matters,” Dr. Robertson said. “The announcements we are making today confirm our commitment to make sure our students have great teachers who are supported by great leaders at all levels of our District. These assignments position us to take advantage of our forward momentum to continue advancing our cause to make sure all students thrive.”

Community Superintendents Named

Dr. Timothy “Chip” Dale has been named the Harrison Bay Community Superintendent for Hamilton County Schools. Dr. Dale comes to Hamilton County after spending the past nine years as a Regional Superintendent for Denver Public Schools in Colorado. Dr. Dale has devoted his life to creating access and opportunity for all students. As a middle school and elementary school teacher working in diverse communities in Houston, he created extraordinary social, emotional, and academic supports for children that helped launch them on lifelong journeys of learning. He went on to be a building leader in San Diego, helping to successfully turn around a local elementary school as well as leading one of the highest performing magnet schools in California. For the past 9 years, Dr. Dale has worked in Denver as a Regional Superintendent, working side-by-side with school leaders and their communities to support and assist in creating amazing learning experiences for children. He holds a Doctorate of Education
from the University of Southern California, a Master of Education Degree from Harvard, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College. Personally, Dr. Dale is a proud “girl dad,” devoted husband, pizza connoisseur, and avid tennis player. He is "over the moon" excited to be joining Hamilton County Schools and serving the wonderful community of Harrison Bay.

Dr. Watechia Lawless Mitchell has been named the MidTown Community Superintendent for Hamilton County Schools . Dr. Lawless Mitchell is a Nashville native who has spent the past 25 years working to improve the quality of public school education, higher education and small business development in Nashville. She most recently served as the executive principal at Napier Elementary School. She led and supported a school environment that transformed from being the lowest performing school in the state to being recognized as a TN Reward School in 2019. She began her professional career at Vanderbilt University creating their vendor diversity program and working as an Office Manager for Chancellor Gordon Gee. This is her 17th year as a public school educator and she has worked at Napier Elementary School for the past 14 years. She has a BA in Economics from Spelman College, a MBA from Belmont University, a M.ED from Vanderbilt University and Ed.D from Lipscomb University. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her husband, Mario, and her children Akile’ (24), Reginald (16), Alayna (16), and Amari (13), her friends, and her sorority sisters.

Dr. Shane Harwood has been named the Rock Point Community Superintendent for Hamilton County Schools. A graduate of Lookout Valley High School, Dr. Harwood has served as the executive principal at Signal Mountain Middle/High School since 2018. Dr. Harwood began his career in Hamilton County as a teacher at Hardy Elementary and North Hamilton County Elementary, where he served for 8 years before being named the assistant principal at Snow Hill
Elementary in 2006. Dr. Harwood then served as principal at Snow Hill from 2008-10 before serving as principal at Nolan Elementary for 8 years. During his 24-year tenure with Hamilton County Schools, Dr. Harwood has served on numerous district and state committees and most recently served on the HCS COVID Task Force. His leadership training includes completion of the Public Education Foundation’s Leadership Fellows Program, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce Leadership Chattanooga Program, and most recently the SCORE Complete Leadership Institute Program. Dr. Harwood completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, his Master’s degree at Tennessee Technological University, and he earned his Doctorate of Education in School Leadership at Walden University. Dr. Harwood’s wife, Kate, is a HCS teacher, and their three children attend HCS schools.

Senior Leadership Team Announcements

Dr. Neelie Parker has been named the Chief of Opportunity and Access for Hamilton County Schools She previously served as Chief of Schools for the District. A native of Hamilton County and a graduate of Tyner High School, Dr. Parker has been a teacher, school administrator, and district-level administrator for HCS. She helped to learning communities in the district and served as the first North River Learning Community executive director. Dr. Parker began as Chief of Schools in January of 2020, serving in this role during the global pandemic. She served as director of elementary schools from 2015-20, was principal at Big Ridge Elementary for six years, and spent seven years as principal of East Lake Elementary before leaving the school level to work with all elementary schools in the district. Dr. Parker also served as assistant principal at Calvin Donaldson Elementary and taught at East Brainerd Elementary. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and earned her master’s and a doctorate from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. Dr. Parker works daily to make sure all kids, especially those who are not performing where we would like them to be, are thriving within our community. In her words, “when we serve all kids well, our entire community can thrive.” 

Dr. Robert Sharpe has been named Chief Operations Officer for Hamilton County Schools. Dr. Robert Sharpe is an experienced educational leader who most recently served the district as the Rock Point Community Superintendent. Dr. Sharpe joined Hamilton County Schools in 1995 as a  special education teacher at Red Bank High School following stops at DeKalb County Georgia and the Richard Hardy Memorial School. He was an assistant principal at Brainerd High School and principal at Central High School before serving in various leadership roles at the district level. Dr. Sharpe is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also holds a specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial and a doctorate from Trevecca Nazarene University. Dr. Sharpe is excited to serve the district in a larger capacity to focus on key elements such as long-term planning around improved school facilities and continuing support to provide safe learning environments for all students.

Shannon Moody has been named Chief Strategy Officer for Hamilton County Schools. Shannon joined HCS in 2017 as the Director of Accountability and Research, leading the district work around assessment and data use. Before joining Hamilton County, Ms. Moody worked at the Tennessee Department of Education as a regional data analyst, where she supported local area school districts in assessment and data use. She started her career as a teacher in Atlanta Public Schools, where she taught elementary special education in both inclusion and self-contained settings. As Chief Strategy Officer, Ms. Moody supports the development of systems and structures that help drive the vision of our school system. She oversees data and information systems, research, family and community engagement, and school health. The strategy team works alongside leaders in supporting students, family, and community while measuring outcomes across the organization.

Blake Freeman has been named Executive Director of Learning for Hamilton County Schools. Mr. Freeman began his career in education with Hamilton County Schools in 2002. From 2002-2008, he served as an English teacher at Loftis Middle School and Soddy Daisy High School. From 2008-2016, Mr. Freeman served as a school-based administrator. He was assistant principal at Orchard Knob Middle School from 2008-11 and Normal Park Museum Magnet School from 2011-12. He held the role of principal at Soddy Daisy Middle School from 2012-16 and Normal Park Museum Magnet School in 2016-17. In November 2017, Mr. Freeman transitioned into the role of Director of Future Ready Institutes, where he worked closely with HCS Principals and the Chattanooga Business Community to develop 20 career focused high school institutes in 13 different high school locations. From 2019-20, he served in the role of Executive Director of Early Postsecondary, overseeing Future Ready Institutes, Career and Technical Education, and College and Career Advisors. In the fall of 2020, Mr. Freeman moved to oversee K-12 learning as Academic Officer during the COVID pandemic. Mr. Freeman has a Bachelor Degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Master of Arts Degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Tech University. His wife, Alisha, is an interventionist for Hamilton County Schools, and they have three children who attend HCS schools. Mr. Freeman says it is his hope to continue to provide high-quality instructional resources and approaches for all students while supporting teachers and school leaders towards innovative instructional approaches to learning.

Patricia Russell has been named Executive Director of Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. A native of Chattanooga, Ms. Russell started her career with Hamilton County Schools in 1999 as a teacher at Red Bank Elementary School. After teaching for a decade, she transitioned to school counseling, where she discovered her passion for closing academic and non-academic opportunity gaps for students. In this role, she was responsible for leading RTI, 504 planning, and school leadership teams as well as supporting her students holistically. In 2015, she co-founded the Student Leadership Academy of Chattanooga, a non-profit student leadership program, to help students throughout the district develop essential personal and social skills for life success. Ms. Russell is a graduate of Public Education Foundation, Leadership Fellows; Chattanooga Chamber, Leadership Chattanooga; and Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, Inclusion By Design Executive Leadership Program. She also earned an ED.S in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. As the Executive Director of Social, Emotional, and Academic Development for HCS, Ms. Russell oversees school counseling, social work, student success planning, college and career advising, 504’s, and positive school wide behavior support for all schools. In her role, she works across district teams to support the implementation of a whole-child approach and the execution of post-secondary goals.

Sarah Evans has been named Executive Director of Exceptional Education for Hamilton County Schools. Ms. Evans comes to Hamilton County Schools with a wealth of special education experience. She began her career as a high school special education teacher in the South Bronx, in New York City. She spent 14 years in New York City, eight of which were spent in the Special Education Office leading professional development, strategic planning, and capacity building for more than 1,500 public schools in the NYCDOE as a director, senior director, and senior advisor. Prior to coming to Hamilton County Schools in January, Sarah was a lead regional access coach supporting a state professional development grant across Middle Tennessee supporting schools and districts with access for all students. Ms. Evans is pursuing her Ed.D. in K-12 Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University, with an expected completion in 2023. She has earned an Advanced Certificate for School District Leader from the City College of New York, a Master of Science in Education from Fordham University, a Master of Science in Urban Education from Mercy College, and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Economics from Brandeis University.

Dr. Larrie Reynolds has been named Strategic Projects Manager for the Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Reynolds has spent the past four years as the Harrison Bay Community Superintendent. Dr. Reynolds came to Hamilton County from New Jersey, where he was Superintendent of Schools for 13 years in the Mount Olive school system. Before that he founded and then led what was the nation’s leading extended learning firm, Newton Learning, serving 900 school districts in 36 states. Dr. Reynolds previously served as Assistant Superintendent for the San Angelo, Texas schools and was principal for 17 years in Oklahoma and Kansas. He opened the first Edison school in the United States in 1995. He attended Oklahoma State University where he earned his doctoral degree in 1991. He began his educational career as a music teacher in Yukon, Oklahoma.

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