Leadership Knoxville had a close call when visiting Nashville on Super Tuesday (3/3). Alisha B. Hinton, principal of Sequoyah Elementary School, was on that trip.
After good classes on Monday, she said, “We woke up Tuesday with no power. The Capitol was closed. The state museum was closed.”
A storm had dropped tornadoes on Nashville and Putnam County, leaving 25 dead. Rescue workers were coming into Nashville. Interstate 40 was a mess.
Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler is also a member of the Leadership Knoxville cohort. He worked with LK staff to bring the Knoxville group back home by way of Interstate 24 and Chattanooga.
Hinton’s takeaways from the two-day adventure: Nashville is growing by leaps and bounds and “things can change quickly and are out of our control.”
Hinton has been principal at Sequoyah Elementary twice. She succeeded longtime principal Martha Hill in 2012, left to be K-8 principal at Grace Christian Academy 2015-17, and returned to Sequoyah in 2017.
She’s incredibly proud of the school, which observed its 90th anniversary last fall. “There were 100 students in that first class (1929), and I spoke with one of them who returned for the anniversary.” Hinton was amazed at all the people who came back for the celebration.
Sequoyah Elementary is a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School, one of five public elementary schools in Tennessee to be recognized. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, the award “affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.” Some 9,000 public and private schools have been selected since the program’s inception in 1982.
“It’s about the culture of a school and what teachers do in the classroom,” Hinton said. “It’s about academic growth over a five-year period, about consistently high-performing students.”
The award is “a validation of our staff and supportive community,” Hinton said. “It’s been a great year of celebration.”
Hinton lives in West Knoxville. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee, a master’s in elementary education from UT, an education specialist in administration degree from Lincoln Memorial University, and she was among the initial cohort at the UT Leadership Academy for aspiring principals.