If we want to become the fastest improving school district in the state, we cannot continue to do things the same way we have always done them and expect a different outcome.
Chattanooga needs leaders who are willing to think outside the box and take best practices from thought leaders across all sectors to effectively improve our education system.
Restructuring from the top down, Hamilton County’s new Superintendent, Dr. Bryan Johnson, came to Hamilton County with a vision and has assembled a new team that shares the same mindset.
Dr. Johnson wasted no time setting his sights on how to improve the district’s top education leadership by recruiting a well-versed and knowledgeable transition team.
The team brings diverse insights and experiences from the private sector, and taps into the know-how of change agents at the state level, within the district, and other successful school districts from across the country.
Johnson’s new “C-suite” is comprised of a chief of staff, chief of schools, chief of operations, chief of the opportunity zone, chief business officer, chief equity officer and a chief talent officer. This new model moves away from the previous assistant superintendent structure and gives each member of the team independence in their specific area to improve upon and implement new ideas.
Specifically, Jill Levine is a familiar name you’ve most likely heard, from her time serving as the Hamilton County Department of Education chief academic officer. Her new role is chief of the Opportunity Zone, which is comprised of the district’s 12 lowest performing schools.
A name not quite as well known is Don Hall, who is serving as the new chief business officer. He comes to us from Florida, where he helped develop a fiscal recovery plan for a suffering school district.
Keith Fogleman, who is the new chief talent officer, is also a new name for Hamilton County. He is a seasoned human relations and labor relations operative with over 35 years of experience under his belt.
This team will help Chattanooga schools improve in ways that lead to the betterment of our community.
The Chattanooga 2.0 Initiative set out 10 urgent strategies for our city to bridge the workforce gap that so many of our companies are already facing—to connect our workforce with our jobs—and to become a community where all our residents have opportunities to succeed in school, in work, and in life.
That process starts in early childhood and in our classrooms.
It takes this kind of vision and leadership to turn things around and bring about real change.
With the deep experience the new leadership team brings to the table, the Hamilton County Department of Education will be able to streamline resources in a more effective way to have the greatest impact for our students and teachers.
We will be able to better invest in our students and expand opportunity for all our residents— in every neighborhood and for every family in Hamilton County.
And together, we can and will build the smartest community in the South.
Tim Kelly is a Chattanooga area entrepreneur who grew up in a family automotive business, now known as Kelly Subaru, and serves on the Chattanooga 2.0 Steering Committee. Kelly also founded Southern Honda Powersports, Zipflip and Socialbot. Kelly also serves as chairman and co-founder of the Chattanooga Football Club. The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.
Updated at 5:23 p.m. on March 12 to add more biographical information about Kelly.