Governor’s Academy for School Leadership fellows promoted to new leadership roles

We are proud to announce that the following Governor’s Academy for School Leadership fellows have been promoted to school and district leadership positions. Congratulations to these outstanding leaders!


  • Diana Bowers, Unaka Elementary principal, Carter County
  • Renette Coleman, BEST Academy principal, Jackson-Madison County 
  • Farrah Griffith, White County Middle School principal, White County 
  • Mandy  Lloyd, supervisor of special services, Hamblen County
  • Tim Mason, E.W. Grove School principal, Henry County
  • Beatriz Salgado, Goodlettsville Middle Prep principal, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Tressa Sanders, Jack Anderson Elementary principal, Sumner County
  • Marcus Shead, Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep principal, Achievement School District
  • Josh Simmons, Towne Acres Elementary principal, Johnson City Schools
  • Amanda Smith, Surgoinsville Elementary School principal, Hawkins County
  • Robbie Winters , Michigan Avenue Elementary principal, Bradley County
  • Emma McWeeney, LEAD Southeast Academy principal, LEAD Southeast – Nashville
  • Sandra Paschall, Rhea Elementary principal, Paris Special Schools
  • Melanie Simpson, Piedmont Elementary principal, Jefferson County
  • Lindsay Starnes, Clifton Hills principal, Hamilton County
  • James Wernke, Ross Middle interim principal, Kingsport City Schools
  • Justin Whittenbarger, Stone Elementary School principal, Cumberland County
  • Joann Bost, Whittle Springs Middle School principal, Knox County

The Governor’s Academy for School Leadership (GASL) is a unique partnership between the Tennessee Governor’s Office, Department of Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and local school districts. It consists of a cohort of 20-25 assistant principals from across Tennessee who participate in a one-year leadership development experience aimed at increasing school leadership capacity and supporting individual growth toward becoming a highly effective building principal. The program is anchored in practice-based mentorship, in-depth feedback cycles, and tailored training sessions. The mission of the program is to prepare a cohort of transformational school leaders who will improve school effectiveness/performance and unlock educational opportunities for all students.

You can learn more about GASL here. The application for the next cohort of GASL fellows will launch later this month. If you have questions about GASL, please reach out to