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Hillcrest's New Principal

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Dr. Paula Davis, with an extensive checklist of educational experience ranging from being an effective fifth grade teacher to district-level professional academic coaching to serving as a college-level adjunct professor, is the new principal of Hillcrest Elementary School.  She replaces the retiring Martha Kelly.

 Since 2013, Davis has served as assistant principal at Lincoln Heights Elementary School. Her legacy as a skilled and respected school leader includes establishing and maintaining positive relationships of integrity, responsibility, confidence, fairness, and trust with staff, students, staff, and the community. 

 “My days at Lincoln have been some of the happiest, most rewarding in my professional career.  I could never fully thank Dr. Janet Dalton for the opportunity to be her assistant,” Dr. Davis said. “The staff there is an amazing, selfless, committed group of educators.  Because of them, I am a better leader, a better person.”

 Along with team-building and creating a positive learning environment, Davis brings a tool box of curriculum development, proven practices, teaching strategies, and rigorous instruction, the result of which will be enhanced student achievement and teacher effectiveness at Hillcrest. She will reinforce the school’s focus of “Inspiring and Empowering Every Child, Every Day.”

 “Davis’s vision, willingness to embrace new concepts, data-driven decision-making skills, extensive training, and tech-savvy approach, will strengthen the academic success at Hillcrest,” said Hugh Clement, interim director of Hamblen County Schools.

 “To say I’m excited to be at Hillcrest would be a great understatement,” she said.  “I am most humbled and beyond blessed to receive such an honor to return to my elementary alma mater - to serve in the school where I spent the first five years of my education and the community in which I grew up. 

 “My goal is to continue to build upon the great legacy left by the former administrators for whom I have utmost admiration and respect.  Throughout the summer, I have met with my staff with whom I’m greatly impressed and can’t wait to meet the students and their parents/guardians.  I look forward to building new relationships and helping each student and staff member reach their full potential,” she added.    

 Davis begin her career in Hamblen County as fifth grade teacher at Whitesburg Elementary School.  “I will always be grateful for the opportunity Mr. Bill Southern gave me when he hired and entrusted me with his 1992-1993 fifth grade class.  From the 17 memorable years I spent at Whitesburg have come cherished friendships with the staff, parents, former students, and the community.  I have been privileged to see former students become doctors, nurses, ministers, service men and women in our armed forces, engineers, teachers, and more.  I have had the opportunity to hire two former students as teachers.”   

Having served as District Instructional Coach, she worked with and guided Hamblen County teachers. She is a demonstrated leader in research-based classroom instructional strategies that meet the needs of all learners and is a respected professional development facilitator and designer.

 Davis, a member of the district reading, math, science, and social studies textbook committees, also was a curriculum map and pacing guide committee member and worked on interactive curriculum map development.  She was a developer of the HCDOE Essential Strategies Handbook.

 Davis earned her Ed.D in educational leadership from East Tennessee State University, an Ed.S in educational administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University, a MAT in Education from Tusculum and a B.S. in elementary, with a minor in math, from Carson-Newman University.

 Her expansive professional training history includes Tennessee Academy of School Leaders, Educators Evaluating Quality Instructional, Assessing Academic Rigor to Ensure Grade-Level Proficiency and College Readiness, Differentiated Instruction, Thoughtful Classroom, Value-Added Leadership, Writing to Command Attention, 6-Trait Writing, and a magnitude of technology training.  

 On the state level, she was Common Core Math Coach, a developer of Tennessee Achievement Program Standards, a member of the Tennessee Education Advisory Committee, and worked on New Standards Training and Formative Instructional Practice for the state Department of Education.  

 Davis has presented on both the state, regional and national levels on a variety of subjects. She serves as adjunct professor at ETSU and is a dissertation committee member at CNU.

 Davis, married to Sonny Davis, owner of Sonny’s Auto Repair and pastor of Fernwood Baptist Church is the mother of two daughters; Natasha, first grade teacher at Russellville Primary and Erika, a nurse with Amedisys. They have five Grandchildren: Taylor, Hayden, Cole, Cade, and Calli Grace.

Davis loves spending time with my family and watching my grandchildren play basketball, football, baseball, and soccer.  She and husband, Sonny, enjoy golfing when time allows.

She is an active member of Fernwood Baptist Church where her husband is pastor.   She is a the Youth Choir leader and officer in the Women’s Missionary Union. 

Davis enjoys participating in foreign missions trips.  This summer, she and her granddaughter, Taylor, enjoyed a mission trip to Belize with Hearts of Christ Ministries.