75 Principals Will Change Chattanooga: HCDE, PEF, & Community Partners Launch a Leadership Pipeline to Support District Teachers & Leaders

Chattanooga community invests time and money in intensive supports for aspiring, new and veteran principals.  

October 3, 2013- Hamilton County Department of Education, Public Education Foundation,  local foundations, businesses, and individuals have come together to launch a comprehensive Leadership Pipeline to support aspiring, new, and veteran principals.  “The Chattanooga community has rallied around public education to invest time, expertise, and resources to ensure every school in Chattanooga has a strong team helping every student become college and career ready. This is a district priority and a community effort,” states Rick Smith, Superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.

The goal of the pipeline is to significantly change the system of principal selection and support within 5 years, moving the school district from one with principals who work in isolation to a district with 75 outstanding instructional leaders.  These principals will inspire 3,000 teachers who in turn transform the future of 42,000 students, with a potential $620 million impact to the economy.

Almost $1 million has been raised for the launch of the Leadership Pipeline, with pledges totaling over $2 million for the 5 year initiative.  Johnny Smith, Executive Director of the McKenzie Foundation and an early champion of this work states, “The Leadership Pipeline is a true reflection of the “Chattanooga Way”. We had the privilege of working to bring partners to the table around this initiative, including the Benwood Foundation, businesses, and individuals.  This is about harnessing the power of Chattanooga to make sure our principals and teachers get the support they need to educate all students.”

The Leadership Pipeline is created around the vision that every principal in Hamilton County must:

  1. Increase the academic achievement of all students.
  2. Know effective instruction and assessment and use this knowledge to strengthen teaching.
  3. Build honest and effective relationships with students, parents, teachers, and community members.
  4. Fiercely advocate for all students.

“Being a principal is an incredibly difficult yet incredibly important job. That is why it is imperative we are able to offer the best professional development for our school leaders,” explains Dan Challener, President of Public Education Foundation. “The Leadership Pipeline builds off of 15 years of leadership work and will offer on-site executive coaching for new principals, mentorship for third-year principals, monthly training sessions, learning networks for all principals, and peer and outside evaluation.”


75 Principals Will Change Chattanooga

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Gail Huffstutler, principal at East Ridge Elementary, is excited about the initiative. “As a graduate of both Leadership Fellows and the Principal Leadership Academy, I have been lucky to benefit from intensive support. To know the Chattanooga community recognizes the importance of investing in principals throughout our careers so we can give our very best to our students is inspiring.”


Contact: Christa Payne 

cpayne@pefchattanooga.org / 423-648-4449

Robin Derryberry

Robin@Derryberrypr.com / 423-755-7588

About PEF

PEF is transforming public education. We are an advocate for the region and Hamilton County schools and its teachers, leaders, and students. For almost 25 years, we have worked in partnership with Hamilton County schools and provide training, research, and resources to teachers, principals, and schools. Our mission is to increase student achievement so all our students succeed in learning and in life. PEF has helped to bring more than $60 million in supplemental, philanthropic funding to the school system to help achieve that mission. Learn more at pefchattanooga.org

About the Hamilton County Department of Education

The Hamilton County Department of Education is a diverse school system, providing roughly 42,000 students with a world-class education. The system is nationally renowned for urban school success as well as middle school and high school reform. The district offers a variety of educational programs for all students including magnet schools, career academies and gender-based classes, as well as a focus on individual student success and the goal of preparing all students to compete in the global economy. 

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