HCS Named in Forbes Best Places to Work
Posted on 10/05/2023
HCS Named in Forbes Best Places to WorkChattanooga, Tenn. - According to Forbes, Hamilton County Schools (HCS) has been named a top workplace in Tennessee.

HCS, in addition to three other Chattanooga companies (BlueCross BlueShield of TN, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Erlanger Health System), has made Forbes ranking of Top 76 Places to Work in TN. The district shares this achievement with only two other K-12 public education systems (Metro Nashville and Knox County) in the state. Forbes surveyed a total of 70,000 employees across the nation about their companies and other companies in their state and industry (Companies must have employed 500 or more employees). The survey polled workplace benefits such as working conditions, diversity, compensation, company image, opportunities for advancement, and whether the employee would recommend the company to friends and family.

Dr. Zac Brown, HCS Chief of Talent, commented on this outstanding achievement, “HCS is honored to be recognized by Forbes as an employer of choice in Tennessee. Our commitment to our valued employees is that we will continue this work to and through 2030 by increasing employee satisfaction, investing in employee development, and enhancing HCS’s reputation as an employer of choice. This milestone is meaningful, and we look forward to furthering our commitment to Every Employee Valued through strategic engagement with HCS employees and continuous improvement.“

Hamilton County Schools has been vocal about its commitment to a continuous review of employee compensation and benefits. The district has pledged to review all job descriptions and compensation on a three year cycle while working to provide opportunities for additional earnings through programs such as Differentiated Compensation. HCS is taking steps to address gaps in educator wages as they work to reach a starting salary of $50,000 for educators, in alignment with Governor Lee’s bill. In addition to increasing starting wages, the district has addressed pay compression for veteran teachers by increasing all salaries in alignment with years of service. Additionally, Hamilton County Schools provides an excellent benefits package with multiple options for healthcare coverage in addition to employee and family clinics and pharmacies, which provide little to no cost services. The district is focused on full service health programs offering nutritional coaching and behavioral health services free to all employees- even those not covered by the organization’s healthcare plans.

“I enjoy the flexibility and accessibility of our employee clinics,” said Dr. Lakesha Carson, Opportunity High Principal. “The providers at our clinics always work to be available and take their time to listen to your needs. I have always felt comfortable at the clinics, and leave knowing exactly how to use the medications and treatments they provide.”

HCS is also committed to providing employees with opportunities for professional development and upward mobility. The district provides multiple pathways for learning and career development such as Grow Your Own; Leadership, Exploration, and Development (LEAD); and more. Grow Your Own offers personal support and financial assistance for staff members looking to continue their education and career by obtaining teaching licensures and certifications. LEAD provides a development track for teachers interested in administrative roles such as Principal, Assistant Principal, and Mentor Teacher.

Cora Fisher, East Side Elementary Assistant Principal, reflected on her time in HCS since 2017, discussing the opportunities for mentorship and leadership within the district.

Fisher stated, “Because HCS values shared leadership, as a teacher, I was given a seat at the table alongside my colleagues when making decisions that affect students and staff. I was encouraged to join school-based action teams and learning community cohorts that broadened my level of influence and empowered me to take ownership of the success of both my school and learning community…I was regularly encouraged to attend differentiated professional learning opportunities both inside and outside of HCS…Participation in the LEAD program and Hamilton County’s continued investment in my professional development has provided me with the confidence to lead in the best interest of Hamilton County students."

Hamilton County Schools has been and remains committed to improving employee satisfaction through continued exploration of benefits, opportunities, and compensation. For more information on employee benefits and programs, click here.