Meet the Inaugural Governor’s Academy for School Leadership Fellows

GASL Color
This week 24 aspiring principals from across the state will begin participating in the inaugural Governor’s Academy for School Leadership (GASL). First announced by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in late 2013, GASL is a partnership between the state of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, and local school districts to build a pipeline of highly-trained school principals and ultimately improve school effectiveness and performance and unlock educational opportunities for all students. Each assistant principal selected for the one-year fellowship has been paired with an experienced principal mentor. In addition to training sessions one weekend a month and a week-long summer institute at Vanderbilt, participants will intern three days a month at his/her mentor’s school and receive six individual coaching sessions with a trained regional coach. Upon completion of the academy, participants will be expected to pursue placement as a school principal in their district or region.
Meet the inaugural class of GASL fellows:


MeetDiana Bowers.

Diana is the assistant principal at Happy Valley High School in Carter County and is currently the youngest administrator in the district. She earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry and her M.A.T. in secondary education from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). She is currently working on her Ed.D. in administration at ETSU and will be graduating in August of 2016. Prior to working in Carter County, Diana worked in Tate County, MS. She was the science curriculum coordinator for the county, and was awarded teacher of the year her last year in the district.         

Cline.KevinMeetKevin Cline.

Kevin is an assistant principal at Jefferson County High School and has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. Currently, Kevin is pursuing an Ed.D. at Carson Newman University. Kevin’s greatest accomplishments are being husband to Mandy, a kindergarten teacher, and father to Brody and Rex. Professionally, the greatest accomplishment is becoming a part of the administrative team at Jefferson County High School, which was named a Reward School in 2013 and 2015. The school has also been named to the AP honor roll and a US News and World Report Bronze High School

Collins.LaneMeet, Dr. Lane Collins.

Lane is an assistant principal at Medina Middle School in the Gibson County Special School District. He began teaching English language arts in Birmingham, AL in 1996 shortly after graduating from the University of Montevallo with a Bachelor of Science in education. He later received a master’s degree in theology from New Orleans Theological Seminary, a doctoral degree in theology from Luther Rice University, and an administrative endorsement from Bethel University.

Currently in his third year as an administrator, Lane recently finished the two-year TASL program and is both honored and excited to be chosen as a fellow for the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership.

Davenport.JanettaMeet, Dr. Janetta Davenport.

Janetta is the assistant principal at Liberty Elementary School in the Franklin Special School District and an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University. She received a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University, and completed her doctoral work at Lipscomb University. Her dissertation, entitled Impact of Parent University on Parent Engagement and Student Achievement, was published in 2013.

Dawson.KevinMeet, Kevin Dawson.

Kevin is an assistant principal at Wilson Central High School in Wilson County. He is a graduate of Union University with a B.S. in liberal studies, University of Memphis with an M.S. in educational psychology and research, and Tennessee State University with an Ed.S. in educational administration & leadership. Professionally, Kevin is most proud of being accepted into the inaugural cohort of the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership.

Glover.MelissaMeet, Melissa Glover.

Melissa is currently serving as the curriculum principal at Austin East Magnet High School in Knox County. Melissa is a proud alumna of the University of Tennessee where she earned her bachelor’s degree in history, master’s degree in education, and education specialist degree in instructional leadership. During her tenure as an educator she was recognized as a teacher of the year at Farragut High School and served on the administrative team that restructured Powell High School to achieve APEX Reward School status.

Griffith.FarrahMeet, Farrah Griffith.

Farrah is the assistant principal at Warren County Middle School in McMinnville, TN. She has a B.S. in secondary education, history, and government and an M.A. in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University. Farrah has been an educator and coach in Warren County for 17 years. Prior to becoming an assistant principal, she spent twelve years as a classroom teacher and four years as instructional coordinator. She has been recognized as the Warren County teacher of the year three times and has also been selected as the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools teacher of the year.

Farrah is credited with the design and implementation of a successful RTI2 program at Warren County Middle School which is now in its third year. She serves as the RTI2 coordinator for her school and is a member of the district RTI2 committee.

Horton.AmyMeet, Amy Horton.

Amy is in her first year as the assistant principal at Unicoi County Middle School and in her first year in Unicoi County Schools. For the past 15 years she taught middle grades social studies at the University School at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Tusculum College, master’s degree in administration from Union College, and an education specialist in classroom leadership from ETSU. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in administration from ETSU. Amy has held National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Social Studies for the past ten years and has served as a TN CORE Coach in 6-12 social studies for the past two years.

Lloyd.MandyMeet, Mandy Lloyd.

Mandy is in her second year as assistant principal at Lincoln Heights Middle School in Hamblen County. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision. A recent accomplishment she is most proud of is being appointed as an assistant principal.

Mason.TimMeet, Tim Mason.

Tim is currently an assistant principal at Henry County High School in Paris, TN. His education career spans 19 years and includes a variety of leadership positions from classroom history teacher, dean of students, at-risk coordinator, and assistant principal. Tim demonstrates passion for the education and leadership of his students and teachers. Some of his recent accomplishments include serving as head of the instructional leadership team at Henry County High School, helping develop a plan to improve ACT scores, and selection as a GASL fellow. Tim holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Trevecca Nazarene University and an M.Ed. in administration from Bethel University.

McBride.BradMeet, Brad McBride.

Brad has been employed with Alcoa City Schools for 23 years in several capacities and is currently the assistant principal at Alcoa Intermediate School. Brad holds a B.S. in elementary education and an M.S. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Tennessee. He also holds an Ed.S. in administration and supervision from Tennessee Tech University and is in process of completing a doctorate in instructional leadership at Lincoln Memorial University. Brad has had the honor and privilege of working with Mrs. Michelle Knight and the incredible staff to open Alcoa Intermediate School as a brand new school within Alcoa City Schools. It has been both challenging and incredibly rewarding.

Page.LanaMeet, Lana Page.

Lana is an assistant principal at Greeneville High School in First Tennessee. Prior to becoming an administrator, she taught math, chemistry, and physics for 13 years. Lana received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Florida, Master of Education in secondary education from Milligan College, and Doctor of Education in school leadership from East Tennessee State University.

Lana also served as a teaching missionary in Haiti in the summer of 2015 to over 150 Haitian teachers. While there she delivered instruction in math pedagogy, as well as ways to differentiate instruction and classroom management.

Pritchard.BobMeet, Bob Pritchard.

Bob is a lifetime resident of Cleveland, TN. He graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He later completed a master’s degree in educational leadership and supervision and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University. He is now the assistant principal at Mayfield Elementary School in Cleveland City Schools. Bob has served as a math CORE Coach for the department for three years and serves as a facilitator for the integrated leadership courses. He also served on the Teacher Leader Council for the state representing Cleveland City schools in 2014-15 as well as an invited facilitator at the LEAD Conference and State Superintendents’ Conference. His professional goals include becoming a principal at the secondary level.

Ruiz.MichaelMeet, Michael Ruiz.

Michael graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in media arts. He then went on to the University of Memphis and earned a Master of Arts in education. Michael began his teaching career at Germantown Elementary where he taught fifth grade English language arts and social studies for seven years. In 2010, he graduated from Union University with an education specialist degree in curriculum and instructional leadership. This is his second year as an assistant principal at Houston Middle School with the Germantown Municipal School District.

Salgado.BeatrizMeet, Beatriz Salgado.

Beatriz is an assistant principal at Overton High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Prior to becoming an assistant principal, she was a school counselor for MNPS and a classroom teacher in El Paso, TX. Beatriz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, a master’s degree in school counseling from Middle Tennessee State University, and most recently completed the administrative licensure program at Lipscomb University. One of her recent accomplishments is the addition of a new pathway to the Engineering Academy that will be available to students in fall 2017. In addition, through her leadership, programs such as Pioneros, ESCALERA, and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee have partnered with Overton and are providing leadership development and academic support for students.

Beatriz is actively involved with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition to bring tuition equality to Tennessee. She is also part of the Latino Education Coalition to ensure rigorous and high quality instruction for Latino students in Nashville.

Sanders.TressaMeet, Tressa Sanders.

Tressa is the assistant principal at Jack Anderson Elementary School in Sumner County. With a master’s degree in educational leadership, Tressa graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University in 1999. She has been an educator for 19 years and has taught grades 1-8 in both private and public school settings and served two years as an instructional coach prior to entering administration. Tressa was chosen teacher of the year at Nannie Berry Elementary in 2012. She has been a district math and reading trainer and most recently presented at the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, FL.

Scarlett.DeborahMeet, Deborah Scarlett.

Deborah is in her third year as assistant principal of West Greene High School. She was previously a teacher at Morristown Hamblen High School West (MHHSW) where she served five years as department chair in language arts, in addition to holding the titles of 504 coordinator, S-team chair, and writing/instructional coach, among other curriculum and leadership duties. Highlights of her career include being selected for Tennessee’s inaugural Governor’s Academy for School Leadership; recognition in The Washington Post, Newsweek, and U.S. News for MHHSW; 2011 Blue Ribbon School Award for Excellence; and teacher of the year award (2007). Before she began her career in secondary education, Deborah held faculty positions at Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Tennessee, and Carson-Newman University.

Scott-Coleman.RenetteMeet, Renette Scott-Coleman.

Renette currently serves as an assistant principal at both East Elementary and Isaac Lane Elementary in Jackson-Madison County Schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Shaw University and was a BASE TN participant receiving her special education certification from Lambuth University. She also holds a master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Bethel University. In 2014, Renette was awarded an Ed.S. from Union University and is currently a doctoral candidate at Union University.

Renette describes herself as person committed to providing the best education to the children of Jackson-Madison County Schools, which begins with the development of teachers and administrators. As an educator and an administrator, she hopes to provide what is in the best interest of children by being the best instructional leader she can become through learning opportunities such as GASL.

Shead.MarcusMeet, Marcus Shead.

Marcus currently works at Martin Luther King, Jr. College Preparatory High School in Memphis, TN within the Frayser Community School District and under the Achievement Schools District umbrella. He graduated from Lane College with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and received a master’s degree from Strayer University in educational leadership. Last year, he completed the fellows program with RELAY Graduate Institute in New York City and in that same year he was selected to be a part of the Orange Mound Housing Community Board.

Simmons.JoshMeet, Josh Simmons.

Josh currently serves as the assistant principal at both Fairmont Elementary and Mountain View Elementary in the Johnson City School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree and education specialist in educational administration and supervision, and is currently completing a doctorate in educational leadership. One of his most recent accomplishments includes being the assistant principal at two Level 5 schools. It was very rewarding for him to see the teachers, students, and other stakeholders recognized for all of their hard work and commitment to teaching and learning. Another highlight was his involvement in developing and presenting sessions for parents regarding changes to testing and curriculum.  A third accomplishment has been the development of a reading mentorship at Fairmont Elementary, pairing reluctant readers with different faculty, staff, and outside agencies to foster relationships and help meet the needs of students. Seeing students and mentors selecting books together, reading them around the school, and talking about those books has been a positive experience.

Smith.AmandaMeet, Amanda Smith.

Amanda is a first year assistant principal at Surgoinsville Middle School in Hawkins County. She received her Ed.S. in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in 2010 following her master’s degree from Tusculum College and bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. Before becoming assistant principal she taught fourth grade for 12 years, served as RTI facilitator for one year, as well as Title I coordinator, family engagement coordinator, and teacher leader at her school. In 2006, she was awarded a national Toyota TAPESTRY grant and in 2013, she was honored as Hawkins County’s elementary teacher of the year. She has presented at the East Tennessee Title I Conference for the last six years, in addition to the STEA Conference, TEA Conference, Niswonger Symposium, and multiple workshops within Hawkins County.

Smith.MichaelMeet, Dr. Michael Smith.

Michael is currently an assistant principal and athletic director for Hixson High School in Hamilton County. He has been employed with the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) for over a decade. During his tenure, he has taught mathematics at the elementary and middle school levels, in addition to serving as an assistant principal at the middle and high school levels. He earned a doctoral degree in administrative leadership for teaching and learning with Walden University, an educational specialist and master’s degree in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University, and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In 2014, Michael completed a principal leadership academy sponsored by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, HCDE, Public Education Foundation, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Furthermore in 2014, he also fulfilled the two year obligation requirements for the Tennessee Academy for School Leaders Cohort for assistant principals.

Winters.RobbieMeet, Robbie Winters.

William Roberson (Robbie) is a first year assistant principal at Ocoee Middle School in Bradley County Schools. He earned his undergraduate degree from Lee University and has also earned two master’s degrees, one in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University and one in education from Lee University.

Yarbrough.JohnMeet, John W. Yarbrough, Jr.

John W. is the assistant principal at Ripley Elementary School in the Lauderdale County School District. John W. has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee at Martin with credentials to teach human learning (1-8) and special education (K-12). He also obtained a master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. John W.’s most recent accomplishments include completing graduate school, becoming assistant principal, and being selected into the inaugural GASL academy.