#BacktoMNPS: Our New School Leaders for the 2019-20 School Year.

 

Have you met your student’s principal yet?

Metro Nashville Public Schools is proud to announce a dynamic group of new school principals for the 2019-20 school year. Click below to read each principal’s bio and follow along with #BacktoMNPS for everything you need to know about the 2019-20 school year.

 
 

Elementary School Principals

STEPHANIE GOFF, CASA AZAFRAN EARLY LEARNING CENTER

Stephanie Goff is the new interim principal of Casa Azafran Early Learning Center. Goff’s tenure with MNPS started in 1987 as a special education teacher. Since then, she has served as a 2nd-grade teacher, a 4th-grade teacher and an assistant principal. Goff is also an adjunct professor at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Carlos Comer, Cockrill Elementary (former interim)

Dr. Carlos Comer is the new principal of Cockrill Elementary School, after having served as the interim principal. He has served MNPS since 1997 as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and an executive principal. He also serves as an adjunct professor for two local universities. Comer has a doctorate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University and a master’s degree and a bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

Chad Hedgepath, Cole Elementary 

Chad Hedgepath is the new principal at Cole Elementary. Hedgepath was most recently the assistant principal at Thomas Edison Elementary School for the last three years. He attended Lipscomb University for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He started his journey in education at Cole in 2009. From there, he went on to serve at Granbery Elementary School as the dean of students.

Jeresther Thorpe-Page, Cumberland Elementary (interim)

Jeresther Thorpe-Page has been named the interim principal of Cumberland Elementary. Most recently, she was the principal of an elementary school in Ohio. Since the start of her career in 1997, she has served as a  teacher, instructional and curriculum specialist, district coordinator, assistant principal and principal. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Butler University and a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

Dana Eckman, Davis Early Learning Center (previous interim) 

Dr. Dana Eckman has been named the principal at Ivanetta H. Davis Early Learning Center, after serving as the interim principal since December 2018. Eckman joined MNPS in 2015 as the director and principal of the Bordeaux Early Learning center (now Davis) and later as the director of early learning centers. Eckman has a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University, a master's degree and teaching certificates from National University, and a doctorate from Trevecca Nazarene University. 

Chris Holmes, Hickman Elementary

Chris Holmes is the new principal at Hickman Elementary. Holmes has served as an assistant principal at Tusculum Elementary since 2014. Prior to his position as an assistant principal, he was a district data coach, an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) program facilitator and data analyst, numeracy coach and classroom teacher.

Ashley Croft, Inglewood Elementary

Ashley Croft is the new principal at Inglewood Elementary. She is returning to MNPS after serving as an elementary school assistant principal with the District of Columbia Public Schools. Croft spent several years as a teacher at Isaac Litton Middle School. In addition, Croft served as an assistant principal at DuPont Tyler Middle School and a teacher at Two Rivers Middle School. She holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Vanderbilt University and obtained her master's degree from Harvard University. 

Victoria Shields, Jones Paideia Elementary School

Dr. Victoria Shields is the new principal of Jones Paideia Elementary School. Dr. Shields was most recently the assistant principal at Haynes Middle School where she demonstrated strong leadership and also served as a Dean of Instruction the previous school year. Prior to serving in MNPS, she served as a teacher, instructional facilitator, assistant principal and principal in Memphis, Tenn. She served the Memphis community for more than 18 years. Shields received her doctoral and education specialist degrees from Union University. She also holds a master’s degree from the University of Memphis and a bachelor's degree from LeMoyne-Owen College.

Rae Covey, McGavock Elementary

Rae Covey is the new principal at McGavock Elementary. Covey was most recently an elementary principal in Alexandria, Virginia, a role she has held since 2013. Prior to her position as a principal, Covey served as a school improvement coach, an educational consultant, a grant and staff coordinator, an instructional technology specialist, an instructional support specialist and a classroom teacher.

Polly Cauthen, Robert E. Lillard Elementary (interim)

Polly Cauthen has been named the interim principal of Robert E. Lillard Elementary. Cauthen's tenure with MNPS started in 1997. Most recently, she served as an assistant principal for McKissack Middle School. Prior to that, she was at Neely’s Bend Middle and Bailey STEM Magnet School. She received her bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University and her master's degree from Cumberland University.

Donna Gill, Shayne Elementary School

Donna Gill's tenure with MNPS started in 1998 at Ross Elementary School. She has served as a teacher, instructional coach and assistant principal, most recently at Tusculum Elementary. Gill has a bachelor's degree, a master's degree and an English learner endorsement from Lipscomb University. She also has a teacher certification from Fisk and Tennessee State Universities.

Cheryl Bowman, Shawb Elementary (interim)

Dr. Cheryl Bowman has been named the interim principal of Shawb Elementary. Most recently, Bowman served as the assistant principal at Shwab Elementary for the past four years. Bowman has been a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, director of extended day programs, a district reading specialist and an executive principal. Bowman earned her doctorate degree from Alabama A&M University, a master’s degree and administration and supervision certificate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a reading specialist certification from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Reading Recovery certification from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University.

Cherish Piche, Smith Springs Elementary (interim)

Cherish Piche is the new principal of Smith Springs Elementary, after having served in the interim role. She has served in Metro Schools since 2004 as an assistant principal and principal. Prior to that, she was a classroom teacher. She has a doctorate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University, a master’s degree from Austin Peay State University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton. 

Elizabeth Goetz, Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center Elementary School

Elizabeth Goetz is the new principal of Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center Elementary School. Most recently, she was the assistant principal at Gower Elementary. She has served MNPS since 2005 as a special education teacher and as an assistant principal. She has an educational specialist degree in educational administration from West Lafayette, Ind., a law degree from Nashville School of Law, a master’s degree in special education, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

Sonya Whitmore, Thomas Edison Elementary 

Sonya Whitmore is the new principal of Thomas Edison Elementary School. For the past five years, she served as the assistant principal at Whitsitt Elementary School. Her educational career began in Memphis City Schools (now Shelby County Schools) before coming to MNPS to serve as second grade teacher at Napier Enhanced Option School. Over the course of 10 years, she has served as a teacher leader at Thomas Edison Elementary School and Napier Enhanced Option School. She received her undergraduate degree from Tennessee State University, master’s degree from the University of Memphis, Ed.S. from Middle Tennessee State University and is slated to complete her doctoral work at Trevecca Nazarene University this summer.

Ricki Gibbs, Warner Elementary (former interim) 

Having served as the school’s interim principal, Ricki Gibbs is the new principal of Warner Elementary. Gibbs brings 13 years of experience to Warner. In fact, he has only worked in MNPS elementary schools, starting in 2006 as a teacher at Paragon Mills and then serving as an assistant principal at three different schools and as principal at Glengarry and interim principal at Warner. He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee State University and a doctorate degree from Lipscomb University.


Middle School Principals

Seth Swihart, Bellevue Middle School

Seth Swihart is the new principal of Bellevue Middle School. Swihart was most recently the assistant principal at John Trotwood Middle School. He has served in MNPS since 2003 as a social studies and reading teacher at W.A. Bass, an IB social studies teacher at Hillsboro High School and an assistant principal at J.T. Moore Middle School. Swihart is currently enrolled in a doctorate of education program at Peabody College, after earning an administrative certification at Lipscomb University, a master’s degree from Peabody University and a bachelor's degree from Kenyon College.

Fred Hewitt, DuPont Tyler Middle School

Fred Hewitt is the new principal of DuPont Tyler Middle School. Hewitt comes to DuPont Tyler from DuPont Hadley Middle, where he served as assistant principal since 2015. Hewitt brings more than 15 years of experience in education, having also worked in New York and Williamson County prior to joining MNPS. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey and a master’s degree from Excelsior College.

LarCulia Woods, Gra-Mar Middle School (interim)

LarCulia Woods has been named the interim principal of Gra-Mar Middle School. Woods has more than 18 years of education experience and has been with MNPS since 2011, serving as an assistant principal and, most recently, as an interim principal at McMurray Middle School. Woods has bachelor's and master's degrees from Tennessee State University and an educational specialist and doctorate degree from Argosy University. 

Michelle Demps, Goodlettsville Middle School

Dr. Michelle Demps is the new principal at Goodlettsville Middle School. She has served in the Nashville community for more than 15 years. Demps  completed her doctorate and educational specialist degrees in educational leadership at Trevecca Nazarene University. She also holds master's and bachelor's degrees from Tennessee State University.

Kisha Cox, Jere Baxter Middle School

Kisha Cox has been named the new principal of Jere Baxter Middle School. Cox has served MNPS since 1998 as a Title I coordinator, teacher and assistant principal, most recently as the principal at Margaret Allen Middle School. Cox has a master's degree from Tennessee State University and a bachelor's degree from Fisk University. Cox was the 2019 Middle School Principal of the Year.

Roderick Webb, Joelton Middle School

Roderick Webb is the new principal of Joelton Middle School. Webb brings years of middle school teaching and administrative experience, having served as assistant principal and principal at Thurgood Marshall since 2007 and as a teacher at Bailey Middle School from 2001-2007. He holds a doctorate from Lipscomb University and a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University.

Shavon Davis-Louis, John F. Kennedy Middle School

Dr. Shavon Davis-Louis is the new principal of John F. Kennedy Middle School, bringing more than 18 years of experience in education to her new post. Davis-Louis most recently served as the principal of Cason Lane Academy. Prior to that role, Davis-Louis served Murfreesboro City Schools as the coordinator for instructional effectiveness and professional development, an assistant principal, instructional technologist and a teacher. Davis-Louis has also worked for the Tennessee New Teacher Project as a middle school teacher, high school teacher and adjunct instructor. She received a bachelor’s degree from Alcorn State University, a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and her doctorate from Middle Tennessee State University.

Monica Bryant, Margaret Allen Middle School

Monica Bryant is the new principal of Margaret Allen Middle School. Bryant began her career 23 years ago. Most recently, Bryant was the assistant principal at Margaret Allen. Bryant received her undergraduate degree from Alabama A&M University and master's degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. She is currently completing her doctorate in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca.

Joseph Gilkes, Thurgood Marshall Middle School 

Joseph Gilkes is the new principal of Thurgood Marshall Middle School. Throughout his 15-year tenure with MNPS, Gilkes has served as a teacher and an assistant principal at Wright Middle School and an assistant principal at both Meigs Academic Magnet School and John Early Museum Magnet Middle School. This year, Gilkes was a member of the MNPS Principal Residency Program. Gilkes holds both a bachelor's and master's degree from The Ohio State University, as well as an administrative endorsement from Trevecca Nazarene University.


High School Principals

Julie Travis, Academy at Old Cockrill (former interim) 

Julie Travis has been named the principal of The Academy at Old Cockrill, after serving as the interim principal for the previous year. Prior to that, she was the freshman academy principal at Maplewood High School, where she was a 2018 finalist for the Academies’ of Nashville Assistant Principal of the Year award. She has served MNPS since 2004 as a middle school teacher, high school literacy coach and in multiple roles with the Nashville Teaching Fellows. She has a master's degree from Tennessee State University and a bachelor's degree from Ohio Northern University. 

Myron Franklin, Johnson ALC (former interim) 

Myron Franklin is the new principal at Johnson Alternative Learning Center, where he has been serving as the interim principal. He has been an educator since 2005, working in Tennessee, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Connecticut. He has a master’s degree from Lipscomb University and a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University. 

Sonya Brooks, Maplewood High School

Sonya Brooks has been named the new principal of Maplewood High School. Most recently, Brooks was the principal at Gra-Mar Middle School, a position she has held since 2014. Brooks has served MNPS schools since 1997 as an assistant/academy principal at Antioch High School, an academy principal/instructional leader at Glencliff High School and a teacher/lead teacher at many MNPS schools. Brooks has a bachelor's degree from Alabama A&M University, a master's degree and administrative licensure from Tennessee State University and a doctorate degree from Union University. 

Kelby Garner, MNPS Virtual School (interim)

Dr. Kelby Garner has been named the interim principal of MNPS Virtual School. Garner is a Tennessee native and graduate of John Overton Comprehensive High School. Most recently, Garner served as the assistant principal of MNPS Virtual School. Garner earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from Tennessee State University and a doctorate degree from Carson-Newman University.