The mission of the Tennessee Principals Association is to support, empower, and connect Tennessee Principals.

Congratulations to James "Bo" Griffin, Principal of Bolton High School (Memphis) and TSSAA Principal of the Year!

Pictured here at the 2017 Tennessee Principals Conference with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Candice McQueen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education


Candidate for 2018 Vice President

Principal of Cordova Elementary School in Cordova, Tennessee

Candidate Goal Statement

Letter of Support

Candidate Statement:

What an unprecedented time to be a principal! As school leaders, we face an ever-changing academic environment that, for me, offers hope and opportunity to foster extraordinary resilience in our students and staff. I am honored to serve on the NAESP Board of Directors during this time and to be able to work with each of you, side by side in the field, in professional learning and through thought-processes.

As an NAESP member for the last 11 years, I have been quite fortunate to learn from each of you. There are no better resources for enriching schools for our students and teachers than principal colleagues who share our goals of excellence and persistence. As you inspire your school families and me, we develop a network and ability to develop resources to address accelerations in school expectations and growing diversity of student needs, cultural backgrounds and poverty levels.

All elementary and middle school principals must strategically address challenges in our learning environments and cities. I am reminded of W.E.B. Dubois's belief, "Education must not simply teach work. It must teach life." Schools are reflections of our communities. As a principal in a high needs community, I must prepare my teachers and staff to understand how to support students in poverty, with emotional concerns and who lack what are considered prerequisite skills for success.  I am committed to preparing all students through a balanced approach of meeting their basic and most fundamental needs with learning at high levels as they become equipped to be leaders.

NAESP continues to develop and target ways to support principals in these crucial endeavors through leadership and advocacy.  Our organization embodies the theme selected for our 2018 National Conference, "Lead. Learn. Rethink."  Our chosen profession and what I consider a true calling, requires that we rethink how we "do" principalship.  As diverse leaders, partnered together through NAESP's initiative, I strongly believe that we are equipped for this monumental time of addressing the diverse needs of our students, teachers and communities.

I am honored to serve as an elementary school principal in a community in which learners rise above poverty and lack of privilege through educational opportunity.  It has been my privilege to serve as your representative on the NAESP Board of Directors and I would be humbled to continue to serve you as NAESP Vice President in 2018.

Professional Preparation:

B.A.-Rhodes College, May 1995Teachers Certification (Emphasis Elementary Education)-Rhodes College, December 1998Master of Education (Emphasis Curriculum and Instruction)-Union University, August 2000Education Specialist (Emphasis Supervision and Administration)-Union University, August 2002Urban Education Center Program Graduate-Memphis City Schools, August 2011Principals Institute- Harvard University, July 2012

Professional Experience:

Principal, Cordova Elementary School, July 2014 – PresentPrincipal, Raleigh – Bartlett Meadows Elementary School, January 2011 – June 2014Assistant Principal – Richland Elementary, July 2006 – December 2010Curriculum Coordinator – Keystone Elementary, August 2005 – July 2006Teacher – Memphis City Schools, March 1999 – August 2005Assistant Vice President – First American National Bank, April 1996 – August 1998Management Associate – National Bank of Commerce, July 1995 – April 1996

Professional Affiliations:

National Association of Elementary School Principals, Director-At-Large, Minority Level 2015 – 2018  Diversity Task Force ChairP3–3 Elementary Committee MemberTennessee Principals' Association, Vice President, 2014 – 15, Secretary 2013, Ambassador 2013Nominating Committee Member 2012 – 13Conference Presenter 2013Conference Planning Committee Member 2012, 2013Conference Chair, 2014 & 2016Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, Advisory Board Member, 2014 – Present

Other Positions:

Bethany Christian Services, West TN – Board of DirectorsNew Direction Christian Church – Children's Ministry Team MemberFeed the Need Ministry Team MemberProgramming Team MemberEducation Ministry Team MemberCurriculum and Instruction Team LeaderBaptism Team LeaderDisciples Bible Study FacilitatorAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Phi Lambda Omega ChapterDestination Imagination AppraiserGermantown Performing Arts (GPAC) Young Mendelssohn's Parent SupportMemphis Youth Symphony Program (MYSP) Parent SupportUnited Way Supporter

Professional Accomplishments:

Selected for & Graduated from MCS Urban Education Center in 2012Led Raleigh-Bartlett Meadows Elementary from High Priority School to TN Reward School Status for Growth in 2012Raleigh-Bartlett Meadows Recognized as School of the Month by Businesses United to Recognize Educators in October 2012Northeast Region Principal Cluster Leader, 2012 – 14Selected SCS Think Tank Member, 2014 – 16Designated SCS Leader to Learn From, 2017

Distinctive Qualities:

Cordova Elementary Optional School is an urban, PreK–5th grade, Title I school nestled in Shelby County, TN. Characterized by being on the line between Memphis and affluent areas, Cordova Elementary's theme under our collaborative leadership model is "Developing Global Leaders and Learners." Cordova has grown from 725 students to over 860 students during my four school years as principal. In addition, we redesigned our optional (magnet) school program to meet programming and learning needs of our students. In spring 2017, we secured funding to enhance our schoolwide technology, equipping every classroom with Promethean boards for interactive instruction. Students participate in programming, coding, and research in the learning lab and through our award winning Robotics teams. We also support student social and emotional growth and building community through Restorative Practice and Responsive Classroom. As a collaborative leadership school, our teachers form Instructional Leadership Teams to share in instructional decision-making. They guide instructional practice reflection through Professional Learning Communities and Collaborative planning sessions that take place weekly.

During my tenure at Raleigh Bartlett Meadows Elementary, I implemented a school wide math lab that contributed to dramatic growth on the state assessment. I created the RBM Character Kids Program in conjunction with the United States Navy First Class Petty Officers Association (Millington, TN) based on Naval principals. Raleigh Bartlett Meadows was recognized as a TN Rewards School for highest growth in the state in 2012.

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The mission of the Tennessee Principals Association is to support, empower, and connect Tennessee Principals.


  • SUPPORT Tennessee Principals to enhance professional skill level
  • EMPOWER Tennessee Principals to build leadership capacity
  • CONNECT Tennessee Principals to expand professional networks
  • DEVELOP long-term financial infrastructure to enable TPA to become the premier education leadership association for Tennessee Principals


  • Professional Membership
  • Professional Liability Coverage ($2 million)
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Advocacy in Washington
  • TPA Publications: TN Principal Journal & TNPRIN News
  • NAESP Publications: Principal Magazine, Communicator e-newsletter, Principal Insights
  • Professional Networks
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