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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, September 11, 2020

HCS’s Johnson named a ‘Superintendent to Watch’




The National School Public Relations Association has named Bryan Johnson a "Superintendent to Watch" for his effective use of communication technology. - Photograph provided

The National School Public Relations Association has named Bryan Johnson, Ph.D., superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, a ‘Superintendent to Watch.’ The organization chose 24 school leaders from across the country for their effective use of communication technology.

Selection criteria required those selected to have less than five years of experience as a school district superintendent and to be providing “dynamic leadership with strong communication at its core,” Hamilton County Schools says in a news release.

Now in his fourth year as superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, Johnson has been recognized for district accomplishments locally, statewide and nationally.

Education Week named him one of its Leaders to Learn From for 2020. The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents recognized Johnson as the 2020 Southeast Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. Also, Johnson is one of eight finalists for Tennessee Superintendent of the Year.

Under Johnson’s leadership, Hamilton County Schools had 32 Reward Schools – the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee – in 2019. The district also had 45 Level 5 schools for student academic growth. Twenty-one schools earned Level 5 in all categories and 66 schools were at or above the state’s expectations for growth.

To give a voice to staff, parents, students and the community, Johnson started an annual State of the System address, formed advisory groups for teachers, students and parents, and surveys teachers and parents when new school leadership is selected.

Johnson also has “Sit-downs with the Superintendent” with teachers to hear how district policies are impacting the classroom and what he can do to help teachers effectively reach children. Johnson also has a Teachers Cabinet that shares ideas with him to improve results for children.

At the student level, a student advisory council provides Johnson with insight into how students view their school experience. He also looked to the students to help plan for graduation during the pandemic using the student council and surveys.

A parent advisory committee is also a part of Johnson’s listening program.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson found new ways to reach out to staff, students and parents, including Zoom forums with a larger attendance than the face-to-face meetings held before the pandemic.

Johnson also worked with the Hamilton County Board of Education and the community to develop Future Ready 2023, a five-year strategic plan to direct the work of the district. The areas of focus include accelerating student achievement, preparing students for the future, offering superior teaching, operating the schools in an efficient and effective manner and engaging the community.

Source: Hamilton County Schools