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Wilson County Schools director named superintendent of the year

The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) met in Gatlinburg on Sept. 8 for their annual Awards Banquet, where they also announced Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright as the 2020 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. Wright represented the Mid-Cumberland region of Tennessee.

Wright was selected for the honor out of a distinguished group of eight Regional Superintendents of the Year, which included Jeanne Barker (Lenoir City), East; Manney Moore (Cocke County), First; Mark Florence (Benton County), Northwest; Jacob Sorrells (Marshall County), South Central; Russell Dyer (Cleveland City), Southeast; Joey Hassell (Haywood County), Southwest; and Jerry Boyd (Putnam County), Upper Cumberland Tennessee.

Wright has been a dedicated public school educator for nearly 40 years.  She served as a teacher, principal, administrator, and assistant superintendent before her appointment to superintendent of Wilson County Schools in 2014.  Under her leadership, the school system has seen tremendous growth and improvement.  This year, Wilson County was named an Exemplary school district with 12 reward schools and 10 schools with a Level 5 TVAAS status.

“Congratulations to Dr. Donna Wright for being selected as the 2020 TN Superintendent of the Year,” said Dale Lynch, TOSS executive director. “All eight regional winners were chosen by their peers which is the highest honor one can receive.  Dr. Wright has been a trailblazer in the field of public education for decades. She is recognized in our state and across the country for growing the Women in Leadership program.  Her past leadership experiences and continued efforts on improving public education will make her a leading candidate for AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year.”

“I am honored and humbled by my colleagues’ support in recognizing me as the State Superintendent of the Year,” said Wright. “As a whole, we are a close, collaborative group and the recognition by this extraordinary group of professionals make this award so very special to me.”

Wright will now submit her application for the National Superintendent of the Year sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and she will represent the state of Tennessee at the 2020 AASA National Conference on Education in San Diego.

“This is an honor, well deserved, not only for Dr. Wright, but for our district which has performed to the highest standards under her leadership; so a thank you goes out to all those who played a role in helping her achieve this honor,” said Larry Tomlinson, School Board Chairman for Wilson County.

In addition, TOSS presented the George “Kip” Reel Award for Leadership in Education to Lyle Ailshie, retired Superintendent and former Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, and the Friend of TOSS Award to State Representative Gary Hicks of Rogersville.

The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) is the leading advocate organization for public education in the state of Tennessee. Since 1975, TOSS has been progressing public education and addressing the needs of its administrators. TOSS provides advocacy at the state level for education issues that are high priorities for Tennessee schools, and is comprised of district leaders who are committed to lifelong learning, best practice sharing, and continuous improvement.

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