Haslam Announces 2019 Governor's Academy for School Leadership Participants

Assistant principals from across Tennessee selected to increase leadership skills to better support teachers and improve student performance
Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 04:25pm

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the participants selected for the 2019 Governor’s Academy for School Leadership (GASL), a one-year fellowship program to cultivate and develop future school leaders across Tennessee and improve school effectiveness and student performance.

This marks the fourth year of the academy, a unique partnership between the state of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and local school districts, providing an opportunity for exceptional assistant principals to increase their leadership skills.

“The success of our students and our schools starts at the top, so it’s critical to identify and build future school leaders ready to guide our students and teachers to greatness in the classroom,” Haslam said. “We've made record investments in K-12 education, raised our standards, and increased accountability, and, while our students and teachers are rising to the challenge, we must have strong principals to support them and continue the momentum.”

The performance of Tennessee’s students in math and reading remains among the fastest improving in the nation, and they have demonstrated historic gains in science, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card. Additionally, for the fifth year in a row, Tennessee had a record high school graduation rate – 89.1% in the 2017-18 school year.

A total of 29 participants from the first three cohorts have been promoted to principal. The academy’s goal is for all participants to be promoted to principal within three years of completion. The program has impacted 32 partnering school districts representing all regions of the state.

Each assistant principal selected for the 2019 GASL class will be paired with an experienced principal mentor, will attend monthly group training sessions and a week-long summer institute at Vanderbilt, and will intern three days a month at his or her mentor’s school. Upon completion of the academy, participants will be expected to pursue placement as a school principal in their districts or regions.

Participants were nominated by their district’s director of schools and selected through an application and interview process conducted by representatives from Gov. Haslam’s office, the Tennessee Department of Education and Vanderbilt University.

A list of the fourth class of GASL participants and mentors is below:




Aaron Christian

Boones Creek Elementary School

Washington County

Ben Foust

Campbell County High School

Campbell County

Trina Bruns

Pond Gap Elementary School

Knox County

Trae Weiss

Dickson County High School

Dickson County

Trikelle Salvant

Germanshire Elementary School

Shelby County

Christopher Enix

Lake City Elementary School

Anderson County

Matthew Cowan

Aspire Hanley Middle School

Achievement School District

Brandye Williams

Downtown Elementary School

Shelby County

Jessica Rittenhouse

Cherokee Middle School

Roane County

Nancy Parker

Sullivan South High School

Sullivan County

Shannon Bryant

Montgomery Central Middle School

Montgomery County

Kyle Craighead

White House High School

Sumner County

Theowauna Hatchett

Stewarts Creek High School

Rutherford County

Michelle Howell

Bolivar Elementary School

Hardeman County

Amber Ryan

Dorothy and Noble Harrelson School

Henry County

Mark Gonyea

Smyrna Primary School

Rutherford County

Meghan Stowe

Neely's Bend College Prep

Achievement School District

Farrah Cope

Austin Peay Elementary School

Tipton County

Kyle Loudermilk

John Sevier Middle School

Kingsport City

Meghen Sanders

Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet

High School

Davidson County

Rachel Cook

West Elementary School

Wilson County

Jamelie Johns

Nolan Elementary School

Hamilton County

Jessica Bigham

Mayfield Elementary School

Cleveland City

Kaytee Jones

Fairmont Elementary School

Johnson City

Lain Hinson

Summertown Elementary School

Lawrence County

Derica Griggs

Napier Elementary School

Davidson County

Tera Brooks

Northeast Elementary School

Putnam Count

Jed West

Heritage High School

Blount County