TDOE Names 2021-22 Principals, District Supervisors of the Year

Thursday, December 02, 2021 | 06:16pm


District and School Leaders Receive Highest Statewide Recognition

Nashville, TN — Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the two 2021-22 Tennessee Principals of the Year and two Tennessee Supervisors of the Year at the annual Excellence in Education celebration. For the first time in recent program history, scoring for the Tennessee Principal of the Year and Tennessee Supervisor of the Year awards was so close that two outstanding educators were selected for each award.

“As a former school principal, I’m continually inspired by the caliber of principals and district supervisors that we have across the great state of Tennessee, and after all that our leaders in our school communities have done to help their students overcome challenges associated with the pandemic, I am honored to recognize these four truly outstanding individuals this year,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The success of our students, educators, and state depends on strong leadership, and I am grateful to all the finalists and awardees for their dedication to providing the best all for all students.”

Dr. Chris Hampton of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport City Schools and Mr. Tyler Salyer of West Collierville Middle School in Collierville Schools were selected as the 2021-22 Tennessee Principals of the Year out of nine Principal of the Year finalists representing Tennessee’s eight CORE regions, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area.

For 10 years, Dr. Hampton has served as the principal of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport City Schools. Before becoming principal at Dobyns-Bennett, Hampton served as a special education teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, and secondary curriculum coordinator. 

Mr. Salyer was named principal of West Collierville Middle School in Collierville Schools at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. Prior to becoming the principal at West Collierville Middle, Salyer served as the principal of Collierville Elementary School in Collierville Schools for four years after beginning his career as a fifth-grade teacher and assistant principal. Well-known for his love of people and can-do attitude, Salyer is dedicated to creating an environment at his school where each child is loved as they grow both academically and socially.

Dr. Hampton and Mr. Salyer follow the 2020-21 Tennessee Principal of the Year, Dr. Leneda Laing. At the time of her award, Dr. Laing served as the principal for Cleveland Middle School in Cleveland City Schools.

"As leaders in Tennessee schools, we have the ability to influence others, from students, parents, teachers and other leaders that can last for generations. The work that we do centers around the students who grow and develop under our leadership,” said 2020-21 Tennessee Principal of the Year, Dr. Leneda Laing. “As Tennessee Principal of the Year, I am humbled to be recognized as an influencer and I share this designation with other principals around the state who are making a difference every day. Together we are all creating an environment for our students to grow and succeed, and I am proud to be a part of this group of leader.”

Of eight Supervisor of the Year finalists representing seven of Tennessee’s eight CORE regions, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area, Mr. Robert (Scott) Langford of Sumner County Schools and Mr. Rory Hinson of Gibson County Special School District were selected as the 2021-22 Tennessee Supervisors of the Year.

Mr. Langford currently serves as the chief academic officer for Sumner County Schools. Langford previously served as the assistant director of schools for instruction, as well as a principal, assistant principal, and classroom educator in Sumner County. In addition to serving as the chief academic officer, Langford also serves as the chairperson of the Mid-Cumberland Supervisors' Study Council and as a mentor in the Tennessee Literacy Implementation Network.

Mr. Hinson currently serves as the high school supervisor, career and technical education director, and high school testing coordinator for Gibson County Special School District. Hinson has been with the district for 25 years and has previously served as a math teacher, assistant principal, and athletic director. 

Mr. Langford and Mr. Hinson follow the 2020-21 Tennessee Supervisor of the Year, Dr. Kay Martin, a secondary education supervisor in Rutherford County Schools.

“I have been honored to be a part of this amazing experience and program. Tennessee has outstanding school administrators and leaders that have moved mountains to continue serving students and teachers by putting their needs first amidst multiple, unprecedented challenges. Being able to support their leadership in a way that provides further opportunities to students is at the heart of all we do as supervisors in education,” said 2020-21 Tennessee Supervisor of the Year, Dr. Kay Martin.

The annual Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year awards recognize administrators who have helped provide educational opportunities for Tennessee students through leadership, programs, and vision. Nominations of one principal and one supervisor were accepted from the state’s school districts. Out of more than 60 applications, up to three regional semifinalists were identified by selection committees in each region, and the region-level finalists for each award were then selected by a state-level selection committee. Overall winners were identified from the finalists following a panel interview.

The winners for the three Tennessee grand divisions were also recognized at the celebration Thursday evening. 

Autumn O’Bryan, principal of Cleveland High School in Cleveland City Schools, was named the East Grand Division Principal of the Year. Nicole Miller Olszewski, principal of KIPP Antioch College Prep Middle of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission, was named the winner for the Middle Grand Division. Shannon Taylor, principal of Bargerton Elementary School in Henderson County Schools, was named the winner for the West Grand Division. 

Millicent Smith, supervisor for Lenoir City Schools, was named the East Grand Division Supervisor of the Year. Bryan Cofer, supervisor for Cannon County Schools, was named the Middle Grand Division winner. Zoe Bozeman, supervisor for Bartlett City Schools, was named the winner for the West Grand Division.

The 2020-21 Excellence in Education event was postponed due to COVID-19. As a result, the 2021-22 Excellence in Education event also honored the 2020-21 Tennessee Principal and Supervisor of the Year finalists and the 2020 and 2021 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) award state finalists.

For information about the 2021-22 Tennessee Principal and Supervisor of the Year finalists, click here. For more information on the Tennessee Principal of the Year award, the Tennessee Supervisor of the Year award, and the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) award, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact