TN Commissioner of Education Dr. Penny Schwinn visits with Brittany Freeman’s First and Second Grade Classroom. Submitted photo.

Staff Report
Laurel Elementary School was honored to have Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Penny Schwinn visit on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. This was Commissioner Schwinn’s first visit to Johnson County and was part of her statewide school tour designed to visit every school district within her first year of service. Dr. Schwinn, along with Katie Houghtlin, Assistant Commissioner of Strategic Priorities at the Tennessee Department of Education and Mia Hyde, First District Core Office, visited each classroom and met with local administrators Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, Mrs. Angie Wills, Supervisor of K-6, Curriculum & Instruction/Federal Programs and Dr. Stephen Long, Supervisor of 7-12, Curriculum & Instruction / Transportation and Laurel Elementary Principal, Dr. Brenda Eggers.
While visiting at Laurel Elementary, Dr. Schwinn made it a priority to visit each classroom and to gather input from our students and educators. She spoke at length with the administrators about priorities and needs for our schools. She talked with Owen Taylor, Sixth grade student, about what makes Laurel a great school in his opinion and what she could do for his classroom and school to make it even better.
Following her visit, Commissioner Schwinn stated in an email that “It is evident that you have put in a tremendous effort to differentiate support for your students in your mixed-grade level classrooms. From the phonics support in Ms. Freeman’s room to the connection-to-text activity in Ms. Savory’s classroom, the students are engaged and getting the supports they need. The sense of community your school fosters resonates with your students; I believe we all heard that one of the best things about your school are the teachers. You have a school and community to be proud of, and I am grateful I was able to experience that with you.”