A Shelby County Schools high school principal is Tennessee’s 2016-17 principal of the year.
Docia Generette-Walker, who leads Middle College High School in Memphis, received the honor Monday evening in Nashville at a statewide conference for educators. A popular selective school, Middle College High was recognized as a Tennessee reward school for academic performance and progress in 2015, as well as a National Blue Ribbon School.
“Under her five years of leadership at the school, expectations were raised across the board and now all students participate and succeed in high-level courses,” according to a news release from the State Department of Education.
That leadership also included embracing the push to give teachers in Memphis more frequent feedback. “If you needed a coach, it used to have a negative connotation,” she told Chalkbeat earlier this year. “Now, the teachers are getting used to having someone observing them every week. It’s a break in the isolation. We all need that support.”
The state also announced that a Middle Tennessee educator has been named Tennessee’s supervisor of the year.
Jennifer Brown, assistant director of instruction in Sumner County Schools, has led the district’s teacher leader work. Under her leadership, the school system achieved its highest graduation rate and is among 10 Tennessee districts recognized by the College Board on the National AP Honor Roll.
Generette-Walker and Brown were selected from a field of nine principals and nine district supervisors, respectively, after being nominated by their peers.
“Leaders matter. They have been critical to our children’s success in Tennessee, and both of these women represent excellence in how they lead our schools,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said.
The winners for Tennessee’s three grand divisions were also recognized Monday. In additional to Generette-Walker, principal-of-the-year honors for Middle Tennessee went to Robin Newell of Mitchell-Neilson Schools in Murfreesboro City Schools. For East Tennessee, the winner was Susan Trent of Surgoinsville Elementary School in Hawkins County.
For supervisor of the year, the winner for West Tennessee went to Michelle Elliott in the Trenton Special School District, while Phillip Swanson, supervisor for McMinn County Schools, won for East Tennessee.