By James Evans
Rutherford County Schools
It’s been nearly two decades since Dr. Theowauna Hatchett walked the halls of LaVergne High School as a student.
She graduated from the school in 2001.
But you may have spotted her on campus over the years. She has visited numerous times to pray over the school, the students and to ponder her future.
“I felt like I was supposed to be there at some point but I wanted to make the right decision,” Hatchett said.
Hatchett has been named the new principal of LaVergne High School, following the recent retirement announcement of Dirk Ash, who served as principal since 2010.
In making the announcement, Director of Schools Bill Spurlock cited Hatchett’s ties to the school and her devotion to serving students.
“It’s evident to anyone who speaks with her that she wants to see the students succeed and will fight to provide opportunities for them,” Director Spurlock said. “She is a strong instructional and community leader and will insist on setting high expectations for the school.”
Hatchett said: “I’m honored and I’m humbled by Mr. Spurlock having the confidence in me, and I want to do a good job. It’s a blessing to be able to serve the community that I grew up in.”
Having been a part of the school as a student, Hatchett has a unique perspective and believes she can make a difference, she said.
“It’s different when you’ve been that population, you’ve been that kid and you’ve sat in that seat,” Hatchett said. “That was on my heart.”
Hatchett most recently served as the principal of Smyrna Middle School for the past year and half. She loves the school and leaving it is the hardest part of the decision to go to LaVergne High, she said.
Previously she was an assistant principal at Stewarts Creek High School. Prior to entering administration, she taught special education and coached girls basketball at Blackman Middle and Smyrna Middle.
Her path to becoming a teacher was a curvy one, but she has always enjoyed serving children.
After graduating LaVergne High School, she went to Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma on a basketball scholarship and later earned another basketball scholarship to Maryville College.
She graduated with a degree in psychology and began working for non-profit agencies such as Youth Villages, where she worked with at-risk students in Sumner County.
It was that experience and the urging of others that convinced her to become a teacher. She worked in Sumner County and Bedford County before being hired as a teacher at Smryna Middle School.
As for her plans at LaVergne High School, she wants to build on the success of the school while looking to add in more rigor and challenge “anywhere I can.”
“High school, those are some lasting memories you will never forget, and it’s awesome to go back and work with some of your old teachers,” Hatchett said. “I think they’re genuinely proud and I’m just excited to see what future leaders we can graduate to come back and do the same thing.”
As for returning to the school and walking the halls as the head administrator as opposed to being a student, Hatchett said it will be surreal.
“It’s full circle,” she said. “It just shows me how God is faithful to bring me back to where I started. That’s where the seeds were planted.”