Dr. Bryan Johnson named Tennessee Superintendent of the Year for 2021
Posted on 09/21/2020
Photo: Dr. Bryan Johnson, Tennessee Superintendent of the Year for 2021The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) today announced Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, as the 2021 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. The announcement was made during the TOSS annual awards banquet that was held virtually this year. Dr. Johnson was one of eight finalists across the state for the top state school leader award after being selected as the S.E. Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. The announcement by TOSS was the latest in state and national recognitions coming Dr. Johnson's way in 2020. The national publication, Education Week, named Dr. Johnson one of their Leaders to Learn From for 2020 in February, and the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) selected him as one of their 25 Superintendents To Watch from across the nation earlier this month.

Other finalists for the honor were Dr. Bruce Brochers, Oak Ridge City Schools; Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County Schools, Kris McAskill, Houston County Schools; Jonathan Criswell, Milan Special School District; Michelle Gilbert, Hickman County Schools; Jason Manuel, Germantown Municipal Schools; and Kurt Dronebarger, White County Schools.

Dr. Johnson has brought excellence to Hamilton County Schools. As he begins his fourth year as superintendent, the district has experienced historic academic growth and achievement in the last three years. The district had 32 Reward Schools in 2019 – the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. HCS also had 45 Level 5 schools for student academic growth, 21 schools earned Level 5 in all categories, and sixty-six schools were at or above state expectations for growth. The academic progress has made Hamilton County Schools the fastest improving school district in Tennessee.

Dr. Johnson launched Future Ready Institutes in the district's high schools to make learning more meaningful for today's teens and provide future-ready graduates prepared for success after graduation. He has made advancements in the arts that have led to the community's selection as a 2019 Best Community for Music Education. The John F. Kennedy Center also tabbed Hamilton County as an Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child community. He also worked with the Hamilton County Board of Education to make investments in technology to provide electronic learning devices for students in middle and high school that helped the district weather the pandemic and the challenges of remote learning.

Dr. Johnson worked with the Hamilton County Board of Education and the community to develop a five-year strategic plan to direct the work of the district. The plan is Future Ready 2023 and includes five main areas of focus, Accelerate Student Achievement, Future Ready Students, Great Teachers and Leaders, Efficient and Effective Operations, and Engaged Community.

"There is no doubt that Dr. Johnson is among the best of the best in educational leadership, not only in Tennessee but nationally," said Dr. Dale Lynch, executive director of TOSS. "The support he has from his school board, his system, and his community is a testament to his success as a district leader. Dr. Johnson has built a culture in Hamilton County that is focused on doing what is best for students. I'm honored to have the opportunity to work with him and to present him this award."

Dr. Johnson will now represent Tennessee in the National Superintendent of the Year program sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) at its National Conference on Education.