Leadership Announcements 23-24
Posted on 05/19/2023
/UserFiles/Servers/Server_350194/Image/Newsroom/2023/LA2324.pngCHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (May 19, 2023) - Hamilton County Schools (HCS) today announced three leadership assignments for the 2023-24 school year. The announcements include the principal for the district’s new University High, an elementary school principal, and one district office position.

“As the current school year comes to a close, it is important that our leadership team across the district is in place for the coming year,” said HCS Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson. “The announcements we are making today move us a step closer to beginning the summer with our key players in place and ready to begin the work of having a successful launch for the 2023-24 school year. All three of these individuals have strong track records of working to meet the district’s core commitments: Every Student Learns, Every Student Belongs, Every School Equipped, Every Employee Valued, and Every Community Served. I look forward to working with each of these leaders in the months ahead.”

District Office
Penny Murray has been named Executive Director of Human Capital and Financial Solutions for Hamilton County Schools, where she will work with the district’s Talent and Finance Departments on issues involving the district’s workforce. Murray returns to HCS after serving as director of human resources for Chambliss Law since August 2022. She had previously served in several human resources positions for HCS, most recently as chief talent officer.

“I am thrilled to be returning home to Hamilton County Schools,” Murray said. “I find great joy working with educators and love seeing our employees' positive impact on students. I am excited to help lead and support the great work to ensure every employee is valued and that Hamilton County Schools remains an employer of choice.”

Murray first joined HCS as a human resources operations coordinator in 2011, a position she held until 2017. She served as the district’s interim assistant superintendent for human resources from November 2017 until February 2018, when she was named director of human resources operations. She held that position until being named chief talent officer in March 2020.

“We are excited to welcome Penny back to the HCS family,” said Superintendent Robertson. “Her knowledge of the district and her experience will allow us to put a new focus on our workforce as we continue to make sure every HCS employee is valued.”

Murray holds a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Tech University and an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“As a first-generation college graduate, public education was transformational for me,” Murray said. “As a result of that experience, my personal mission is to help provide the best opportunities possible for future generations to thrive and experience a future without limits.”

Alpine Crest Elementary School
Shelly Jackson has been named the new principal at Alpine Crest Elementary School. Jackson has served as an assistant principal at Big Ridge Elementary School since 2018.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve and lead Alpine Crest Elementary,” Jackson said. “I believe in creating a student-centered environment that fosters engagement and allows students to achieve success. Within this environment, I want students to feel safe and nurtured. I hope to continue to build on the community involvement Alpine Crest has established over the years. Together, we can make a positive difference for our students, school, and community.”

Prior to her time at Big Ridge Elementary, Jackson served as a teacher on special assignment at Spring Creek Elementary from 2016-18. She previously served as a second and third grade teacher at Spring Creek from 2007-16.

“Shelly has a heart for students and their success, and she has a history of working with teachers and staff to bring out their best,” said HCS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Sonia Stewart. “I am looking forward to working with Shelly as she steps into her new role and facilitates new connections between students, staff, and the community.”

Jackson holds a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an M.A. Degree in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.

“I believe in serving our community and being a lifelong learner, which is why I have chosen the education profession,” Jackson said. “I love to see the looks on students’ faces when they gain the knowledge of something new or build on what they already know. It is absolutely rewarding to be given the opportunity to be a part of the lives of children in their elementary years because it sets the foundation for their future success.”

University High
Arielle Garcia Hayes has been named principal of the newly created University High, a collaboration between Hamilton County Schools and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that will be based on the UTC campus. She has served as an assistant principal at Center for Creative Arts since 2021.

“The biggest change we can make as a community is to support efforts and actions towards equity for all students and families,” Hayes said. “University High will be the beacon for equity in action, in collaboration with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. As an educator, there are few things more exciting than providing a whole student approach to curriculum and instruction. University High’s foundation is built upon recruiting local untapped talent and nurturing those students through community involvement and partnership. I am honored to be the inaugural principal and to implement the vision of University High.”

According to HCS Director of Innovation and Fine Arts Grant Knowles, Hayes brings the right skillset to lead the new program.

“Ms. Hayes has a history of building relationships with students and stakeholders while designing innovative approaches to make learning personally relevant for all students,” Knowles said. “She is a great fit to launch and lead University High. She believes in empowering students, and we look forward to supporting her as she establishes a student-centered culture for this new program.”

Prior to arriving at CCA, Hayes served as the district’s school choice charter coordinator in 2021. She was an assistant principal at East Hamilton Middle School for 2020-21, and she served as principal of Dalewood Middle School from 2016-20. Hayes was an assistant principal at Orchard Knob Middle School in 2015-16, and the lower school site principal at Normal Park Museum Magnet from 2013-15. Before becoming an administrator, she taught middle school social studies and history from 2008-13.

Hayes holds a B.S. Degree in Secondary Education History and an M.Ed. Degree in Educational Leadership, both from Tennessee Technological University.