The Central Office is organized around eight chief officers. These chiefs lead all the functional areas of the district with a focus on ensuring both student safety and learning. The chief officers form the Superintendent's executive cabinet and an additional eight senior members of administration (along with the cabinet) comprise the Senior Leadership Team.

Dr. Sonia StewartDr. Sonia Stewart
Deputy Superintendent 

Office: (423) 498-6715

Room #: 129

Dr. Sonia Stewart is the deputy superintendent at the Hamilton County Department of Education in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In her current role, Dr. Stewart provides leadership and support to the Superintendent’s executive cabinet to ensure that the district’s strategic goals and objectives are met. She oversees communications, external relations, accountability, strategic planning, and federal programs. She coordinates across all departments in the district towards continuously improving academic achievement and postsecondary opportunities for students.

Executive Assistant:

MaryEllen Heuton
Mary Ellen Heuton, CPA 
Chief Financial Officer

Office: (423) 498-7026

Room #: 216

As the Chief Financial Officer for Hamilton County Schools, Mary Ellen Heuton leads teams responsible for all aspects of accounting, finance, budgeting, procurement, and risk management.

Assistant: Taniia Hymer

Dr. Neelie ParkerDr. Neelie Parker
Chief Schools Officer

Office: (423) 498-7111

Room #: 312



As the Chief Schools Officer, Dr. Neelie Parker works alongside School Leadership and Teaching & Learning to support teachers & leaders at the building level as we collectively focus on improving student learning. Also, she works with College and Career Readiness to ensure that students have opportunities within their time in High School that will encourage them to aspire towards success after leaving Hamilton County Schools.

Assistant: Merideth Adams

Dr. Marsha DrakeDr. Marsha Drake
Chief Equity Officer

Office: (423) 498-7104

Room #: 173

Dr. Marsha J. Drake is the Chief Equity Officer of Hamilton County Schools. She joined the field of education in Hamilton County Schools in 1999. She is responsible in serving as the head of the Departments of Attendance, Social Workers, Homebound, Homeless (Family in Transition), English Language Learners, Guidance, SEL, Exceptional Education and School Health. The focus of these departments is to ensure equity for all students in Hamilton County Schools.

Assistant: Alyssa Teal

Penny MurrayPenny Murray
Chief of Talent

Office: (423) 498-7048

Room #: 129

As the Chief of Talent, Penny Murray leads the Human Resources and Benefits team that is committed to supporting student achievement by recruiting, retaining and developing high quality leaders, teachers, and support staff for our Hamilton County Schools. The team works alongside school leaders to build and support a talented workforce for our students and our community.

Assistant:  Crystal Kirk