Hamilton County (Press Release) – Brent Eller, principal of East Hamilton School, is the 2020 Principal of the Year for Hamilton County Schools. The school year has been challenging for East Hamilton, home to sixth through twelfth-grade students in the east area of the community, dealing with both the COVID-19 pandemic and a tornado. Still, Eller has also continued to lead the school and help bring along the new middle school scheduled to complete construction this summer.
“I am very humbled by this recognition,” said Eller. “We have so many outstanding principals in Hamilton County Schools that are deserving of this recognition, so I am very appreciative of the honor.”
Eller came to East Hamilton School to lead the Hurricanes in the fall of 2018 after spending six very successful years at Loftis Middle School. He was also principal of Ooltewah Middle School and an assistant principal at East Ridge Middle, Brown Middle, and Loftis Middle. Eller’s experience as a teacher was at The Howard School and Hixson Middle School.
In Eller’s two years at East Hamilton, the school has earned Level 5 school designation for academic growth. The school is also a Tennessee Reward school, the highest honor for academic excellence in the state. The middle grades at East Hamilton achieved their highest academic ranking by reaching #23 out of 574 middle schools in Tennessee. East Hamilton High School earned AP Capstone School status, which is a diploma program from the College Board. AP Capstone offers two yearlong Advanced Placement (AP) courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. Rather than teaching subject-specific content, these courses develop a student’s skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting.
The school has also added two Future Ready Institutes over the last two years. The Bryan College Institute of Business and Marketing and the Institute of Innovative Engineering are two schools within the school, providing unique opportunities for students to prepare for success in an exciting career after high school.
“The faculty and staff at East Hamilton are some of the most dedicated people that constantly put what is best for students at the forefront of every decision,” Eller commented. “The students are also incredible and have continued to challenge themselves to explore their untapped potential.”
Eller attributes the success of East Hamilton School to the culture and climate of success as the school tailors instruction to the individual student in its academic focus. Administration and faculty also increase opportunities for students to have a voice in the direction of the school.
Eller understands the need for community involvement and influence to make a school program strong. He started East Hamilton Community Days each fall to benefit the Forgotten Child Fund. The school also recently organized a disaster relief donation center at the campus for East Brainerd tornado victims.
“The East Hamilton community has been so supportive of the school, and all of us work together, with the same focus and intent, to be the best school possible for the children of our community,” said Eller. “The future is very bright at East Hamilton.”
Individualized scheduling to focus on the goals, strengths, and academic needs of each student is a priority at both the middle school and high school level. Personal attention for each student is the goal as they devise the best schedule for each student. The high school schedule allows for sunrise and sunset opportunities at East Hamilton School. The focus on each student has led to an increase in scholarship dollars for graduates.
“I do want to reference the Class of 2020 because my heart goes out to our seniors during this time,” said Eller. “These amazing young people have missed so many rich experiences of a high school senior year because of the pandemic. They deserve all the recognition they can get for their contributions to East Hamilton. I love them, I have missed them this spring, and our school will miss them as they move on to the next exciting chapter in their lives!”
Eller will advance in the Tennessee principal of the year program in the search for the best principal in the state. Three principals from Hamilton County Schools have won the state award in recent years. Dr. LeAndrea Ware, principal of The Howard School, was named Tennessee’s top principal last year. Robin Copp, former principal of Ooltewah High, earned the recognition in 2018 and Ronald Hughes, principal at Apison Elementary, who will retire at the end of this school year, taking the top honor in 2015. The announcement of finalists for the state honor is scheduled for July with the winner selected in the fall.
The success of Hamilton County Schools in the state competition shows the district’s commitment to providing great teachers and leaders for the children of the community. The roadmap for having Great Teachers and Leaders in Hamilton County Schools is Action Area #3 in the district’s five-year strategic plan, Future Ready 2023.
“Great teachers and leaders working with students is the very foundation of the excellent school experience in Hamilton County Schools that provides future-ready students prepared for success,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Brent Eller is one of our great school leaders making a difference in the lives of children each day.”