Moore takes the reins at Emerald Academy

Sandra ClarkInside 640, Our Town Kids

Renee Kelly, who has been school director of Emerald Academy, a public charter school, has replaced Dr. Clifford Davis as chief of staff for Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas. Dr. Davis retired this spring.


Lauren Moore is the interim director at Emerald. In a statement on social media, Emerald Charter Schools president Steve Diggs said: “Renee (Kelly) is a dynamic, results-oriented leader, and the district knows great talent when they see it.

“In the short term, I have asked Lauren Moore to serve as the interim school director until a formal search process is complete for a new, permanent director. Lauren has been with the school from the beginning, and I am confident that she will provide excellent, steady leadership through the transition.”

Renee Kelly

Kelly joined KCS in 1999 as a teacher at Bearden Middle School and later worked for Project GRAD. She began her career in administration in 2009 as assistant principal at Spring Hill Elementary. She was named dean of scholars at Emerald Academy in 2016 and school director in 2017.

Lauren Moore is a Knoxville native. She has been a member of Emerald Academy since the school’s inaugural year. She led the first-grade team, taught second grade and was an instructional coach. In 2018, she became the dean of curriculum and instruction for third and fourth grades.

Moore previously taught in Knox County for seven years, first at Fair Garden Center and then at Ritta Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Carson-Newman and a master’s as a literacy specialist from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She was recently married to Thomas Moore.

Diggs said, “Parents and families should know that I have never been more encouraged about the talent that we have on board than I am today. I am totally confident that Emerald Academy is changing the trajectory for children and families in our city, and, moving forward, we will continue to achieve high outcomes.”

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