The second class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools is getting an inside look at public schools in the community
Posted on 11/15/2019
Deb Socia discusses education in a Leadership HCS sessionThe second class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools is underway with an opportunity for 28 community leaders to get involved in the community’s public schools. Leadership Hamilton County Schools is a six-session program running through April that will allow participants to experience the people and programs in our area schools preparing children for success after graduation. The next session is scheduled to meet at Hixson High School on Tuesday, November 19. The November meeting is the third session for the 2020 Class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools.

“Being a part of Leadership Hamilton County Schools has been an eye-opening experience,” said Deb Socia, CEO of the Enterprise Center. “Because the participants come from varied backgrounds and experiences, the conversations have been insightful and valuable. I have had the opportunity to visit schools, to learn from district leaders, and to improve my understanding of the challenges and celebrations that the district is experiencing.”

Eighteen community leaders were selected for the first class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools. Ten additional slots were added this year to allow more from the community to get a closer look at how the district is preparing our children for success. The most popular session in the first class was the opportunity for participants to become a principal for a day. The community participants shadowed a principal at a school for a morning, and the group came back together to share what they experienced after lunch. January 14, 2020, will be the Principal for a Day session for this class.

“I think people underestimate the amount of work involved in being a school principal,” said Christine Bespalec-Davis, manager of school and teacher programs at the Hunter Museum of American Art, and a 2019 graduate of Leadership Hamilton County Schools, after her experience shadowing Debbie Smith, principal of Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts. “There is never a moment that something isn’t happening.”
The first session this year covered an overview of the Future Ready 2023 five-year district action plan and vision for Hamilton County Schools. Session two covered the process of governance in public education.

The next Leadership Hamilton County Schools session on November 19 will cover the new Future Ready Institutes and how the relatively new award-winning program is helping high schools to produce future-ready students. The session will visit the Future Ready Institutes at Hixson High School. The three programs at Hixson are the Institute of Integrative Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Institute of Health Careers and Medical Advancement, and the Institute of Business Leaders and Owners.

The Leadership Hamilton County Schools 2020 class includes:
• Alex Paul Loza, a multidisciplinary artist, based in Chattanooga
• Angela Favaloro, commercial sales manager, Liberty Brick
• Anna Protano-Biggs, director, Hamilton County Mental Health Court
• Carlos Williams, senior pastor, Orchard Knob Baptist Church
• Celeste Williams, business manager, Hefferlin and Kronenberg Architects
• Corey Hagen, director of education, Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center
• Deardra McGee, coordinator of student recruiting and diversity, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
• Deb Socia, CEO, The Enterprise Center
• Gloria A. Arnold-Fairbanks, paralegal, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.
• Hannah Gunter, donor relations and event coordinator, Children’s Advocacy Center
• Jenny Hill, District 6, Hamilton County Board of Education
• Justin Pinkerton, management, The Read House Hotel
• Keldren Icet, CEO, TKDo Martial Arts, Inc.
• Kerrie Fulkerson, executive assistant, MBI Companies, Inc.
• Lisa Spurlock, Southeast Partnership coordinator, Siskin Children’s Institute
• Mackenzie Steele, community business development manager, Barnes and Noble
• Madyson Foster, program and marketing manager, Junior Achievement of Chattanooga
• Nandini Makrandi, chief curator, Hunter Museum of American Art
• Oliver Richmond, president, Kingdom Partners
• Rachel Hargis, corporate social responsibility specialist, Unum
• Randy Fairbanks, District 1, Hamilton County Commission
• Robin Cayce, assistant professor and Chattanooga TFA liaison, Lipscomb University
• Robyn Carlton, CEO, Lookout Mountain Conservancy
• Roddey Coe, IT manager, Suburban Manufacturing
• Ruben Muriente Delgado, outreach coordinator, Family Justice Center
• Shannon Johnson, director of exhibit development, Creative Discovery Museum
• Smita Donthamsetty, education partnership relations coordinator, United Way of Greater Chattanooga
• Vaughn Berger, director of enrollment management, Bryan College

You can find more about Leadership Hamilton County Schools and the Class of 2020 on the Hamilton County Schools website. Graduation for the Leadership Hamilton County Schools Class of 2020 will be in April.

Photo: Deb Socia, with The Enterprise Center, discusses what she has seen and learned during a session of Leadership Hamilton County Schools.