Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, January 20, 2023

Newsmakers: Stewart named to Chiefs for Change cohort

Hamilton County Schools deputy superintendent Sonia Stewart has been selected as part of the seventh cohort of Future Chiefs by the national organization Chiefs for Change.

Chiefs for Change operates on the premise that bold, sustained leadership is critical in order to have a highly effective education system that meets the needs of all students. Members of the organization lead state and district education systems that together include approximately 7 million students, 410,000 teachers and 11,500 schools.

The Future Chiefs program is building a pipeline of talented and diverse educators who are ready to lead state and large district systems. These emerging leaders participate in an 18-month program of collective learning about issues that are central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from Chiefs for Change members.

“Dr. Stewart’s selection for the Future Chiefs program is a great honor for her and for Hamilton County Schools,” said HCS Superintendent Justin Robertson. “Dr. Stewart is already a recognized leader in the field of education, and her participation with Chiefs for Change will give her the opportunity to interact with other leaders across the country to learn, craft, and implement effective strategies that will benefit the students of Hamilton County. As a lifelong learner and teacher, her experiences will only serve to strengthen our district’s teaching and learning programs.”

“I am honored to be invited to join the 2023 Cohort of Future Chiefs,” Stewart says. “The core beliefs of the Chiefs for Change organization align very closely with those of Hamilton County Schools, and I look forward to learning from and collaborating with those in our cohort and the ones that preceded us.

“Throughout the upcoming 18-month journey, I will be looking at best practices and new ideas from my colleagues that can be brought back to Hamilton County for the benefit of all our students.”

Stewart was named deputy superintendent for Hamilton County Schools in December 2021. In that role, she oversees the Teaching and Learning, Opportunities and Access, Social Emotional Academic Development and School Supervision Departments.

Stewart has a doctorate in education, leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University, a master’s in educational leadership from Trevecca University and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Biola University.

Thompson joins Clínica Médicos

The Medicos Mission Fund, the nonprofit fundraising partner of Clínica Médicos, has hired Candice Thompson to serve as its first Advancement Coordinator.

Thompson will be responsible for growing the nonprofit’s base of individual, foundation, and corporate supporters to ensure the continued success of Clínica Médicos’ mission.

“We exited 2022 with more momentum than ever and believe that the year ahead will see even more growth,” says Dr. Kelly Rodney Arnold, founder and medical director of Clínica Médicos. “Every week, we are finding new ways to meet the complex health care needs of this community. We know this must include new behavioral health and dentistry care, in addition to the full range of family medicine services we have been providing for seven years. Candice will be invaluable in helping us grow by making sure we have the resources we need to thrive.”

“Dr. Arnold’s team is delivering critically important health care to tens of thousands of Chattanooga families every year, many of whom have nowhere else to turn,” Thompson says. “It’s an honor to support their mission and ensure that more supporters have an opportunity to participate in their work.”

In November, Arnold and her team announced that construction would soon begin on a new medical center at 1148 East 23rd Street, which will serve as the permanent home for its new Clínica Sonrisas (Dental Health) and Renuevo (Mental Health) services, as well as additional meeting and administrative space for the clinic’s growing staff.

Thompson brings years of nonprofit management, marketing and community engagement, along with development expertise to this new role, having previously served as the Manager of Educational Outreach for the Memphis Museum of Science & History and Director of Middle School Programming for BRIDGES, USA, a Memphis-based youth development organization.

Thompson earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both corporate communications and management and childhood development from Christian Brothers University. Thompson and her family have resided in the Chattanooga area since 2009.

Cooper wins Kiwanis distinguished service award

The Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga will present its 2022 Distinguished Service Award, honoring Peter T. Cooper, at a ceremony and luncheon Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m., at the Chattanoogan Hotel.

Since 1922, the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga has annually presented the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of an individual’s outstanding leadership and service to the Chattanooga community. At the event, Cooper will join the ranks of exceptional volunteer leaders who have been honored by the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga over the last century.

“Pete has served as an adviser to countless leaders and nonprofits across the community over the last 30 years, providing advice, knowledge and kind, constructive criticism,” says Sandy Dittus, DSA committee member and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Chattanooga. “He has been generous with his time and expertise for decades, and his life’s work, in professional, personal and volunteer roles alike, exemplifies the legacy of service the Distinguished Service Award recognizes.”

A graduate of City High School, Cooper went on to graduate from Ohio State University and started a career in banking before creating a private foundation and beginning his work in the nonprofit world.

For 25 years, through his work at the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, he has quietly helped countless nonprofits receive funding in support of their missions, and he was also instrumental in the launch of organizations including Read 20, Together We Can and the Center for Non-profits. In 2014, Cooper was recognized as the Non-Profit Professional of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, given only one time in the history of the organization.

He has been active in the Episcopal Church for decades, recently receiving an Education for Ministry certificate, a four-year certification in theological education from Sewanee, The University of the South.