July 11, 2019
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
With the upcoming opening of two new schools and because of retirements and promotions, there are eight principal changes in place for the 2019-2020 school year.
Those principals are busy preparing for the arrival of teachers, students and another school year, which begins Aug. 6, 2019.
STEVE LUKERwas selected as the first principal of the new Rockvale High School, which will open in August. He has worked as an educator in every grade band and has led successfully as a principal at the elementary and middle school levels. Luker is a veteran educator of 29 years.
DR. THEOWAUNA HATCHETTwas named principal of Smyrna Middle School. She succeeded Steve Luker. Hatchett was serving as an assistant principal at Stewarts Creek High School, a position she held since 2015. She has been an educator since 2007 and, last fall, was selected as a fellow in the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership.
SCOTT BOLDENwas selected as the first principal of Rocky Fork Elementary School, which will open in August. Bolden, a native of Eagleville, was serving as the principal of David Youree Elementary School, a position he held the past four years. The new elementary school is being constructed on the same campus as Rocky Fork Middle School.
MONICA WILKERSONwas named principal of David Youree Elementary School. For the past five years, Wilkerson has served as the assistant principal at Rock Springs Elementary School in La Vergne. Wilkerson has been an educator 17 years, including 11 years at Barfield Elementary School, where she taught fourth-grade.
JENNIFER CLARKwas named the principal of Rocky Fork Middle School. She replaces Dr. Jimmy Sullivan, who was promoted to Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the school district. Clark served multiple schools in Rutherford County and her experience will be an asset for the Rocky Fork community.
APRIL SNEEDwas selected as the new principal of Whitworth-Buchanan Middle School. She replaced Avy Seymore who retired at the end of the school year. Her exceptional work as a longtime assistant principal at Rockvale Middle School, where she had been since 2011, was cited by Director of Schools Bill Spurlock.
VANESSA RITTERwas named the new principal of Smyrna Elementary School.A long-time administrator, Ritter plans to focus on the school’s past accomplishments to bolster proficiency rates. She served as an assistant principal at Stewartsboro Elementary for the past six years and previously split her time between Barfield and Blackman elementary schools.
PHOTO COLLAGE / JAMES EVANS