First class graduates from Leadership Hamilton County Schools
Posted on 04/16/2019
First Row – Rachel DeVore, Amber Hoyle, Gina Stafford, Kristen Pavlik McCallie, and Christine Bespalec-Davis Second Row – Miles Huff, Chad Jaynes, Sabrena Smedley, Jeanette Omarkhail, Troy Brand, Molly Blankenship, Strat Parrott, Joshua Sneideman, Geoff Ramsey and Demetrus CoonrodThe first class of Leadership Hamilton County Schools completed their year of work and graduated today with a better understanding of the schools in our community and the challenges faced as the district prepares graduates for success after high school. Leadership Hamilton County Schools was a new opportunity for the community to get involved in our public schools this year. The first class included 16 community leaders representing businesses, non-profits, government, and faith-based organizations. The program involved six-sessions during the school year that allowed participants to experience the people and programs in our area schools preparing our children for success.

“Leadership Hamilton County has shown me the dedication, effort, and commitment the current leadership team has to excellence,” said Joshua Sneideman, vice president of Learning Blade. “I am excited that I was able to be a part of this group and more excited that my daughters are in Hamilton County Schools.”

The sessions in the program provided the participants with an in-depth look at our community schools including education governance, an overview of the Future Ready 2023 five-year district action plan, communications, Future Ready Institutes, budgeting, transportation, school facilities, and future-ready students. The group was even able to be “principal for a day” in a local school during the year to get a close look at what it takes to lead a school.
“I commend these community leaders for taking time out of their busy schedules to better understand our school system and to make a difference for the children of our community,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Working together, we can reach our community goal of becoming the smartest city in the South and prepare our children for success in life after graduation.”

“I now have an appreciation of what is happening at all levels of our schools from the administrative level down to the individual classrooms,” said Molly Blankenship, vice president of Talent Initiatives at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “The ability to see the pockets of innovation that are present throughout the district was just great.”
“We have been able to see all of the amazing things that the educators in Hamilton County Schools are doing to change the trajectory for our students,” commented Miles Huff, in community relations for Unum. “I am really grateful for the experience.”

The Leadership Hamilton County Schools class will be recognized at the Hamilton County Board of Education meeting Thursday, April 18 at 5:30 p.m.

The Leadership Hamilton County Schools first class included:
• Joshua Sneideman, vice president at Learning Blade
• Miles Huff, community relations specialist, Unum
• Tag Thompson, an entrepreneur in investment and strategic consulting
• Chad Jaynes, solutions development manager, Chattanooga State College, Economic, and Workforce Development Division
• Sabrena Smedley, broker/owner of Sabrena Realty Associates, LLC in East Brainerd and Hamilton County Commissioner, District 7
• Molly Blankenship, vice president of talent initiatives at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
• Kristen Pavlik McCallie, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center: The Emmy Haney House
• Troy Brand, senior pastor of the Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church and an adjunct theology instructor at Southern Adventist University
• Amber Hoyle, director of Site-Based Programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga
• Geoff Ramsey, 2018 president, Greater Chattanooga REALTORS®’ Board of Directors
• Jeanette Omarkhail, president of the Hamilton County Education Association
• Rachel DeVore, director of education at the Bethlehem Center
• Strat Parrott, president and chief creative/technology strategist for Juncture
• Demetrus Coonrod, District 9 Councilwoman of the City of Chattanooga
• Christine Bespalec-Davis, manager of school and teacher programs at the Hunter Museum of American Art
• Gina Stafford, assistant v