By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools
After spending several years as assistant principal at a nearby school, Vanessa Ritter has been promoted to principal of Smyrna Elementary School, Director of Schools Bill Spurlock announced today.
“Ms. Ritter has vast experience as a school administrator and a knowledge of the community that will be a benefit to the students and families at Smyrna Elementary,” Director Spurlock said. “She has a clear vision for the school and understands how to empower students and teachers to motivate achievement.”
Ritter has served as an assistant principal at Stewartsboro Elementary School for the past six years. Previously, she served as an assistant principal splitting her time between Barfield and Blackman elementary schools.
“My plans are to go in and build on the strengths that are already at that school,” Ritter said. “I do want to focus on literacy because I know that with the population of ESL, they have great growth scores but when you look at proficiency, they are about 10 points below the state average. So that is totally a focus.”
Smyrna Elementary School has a high population of ESL students, and the strategy has been to immerse students into an English environment to help them develop their language skills quickly. Watching those students’ growth within such an environment is amazing, Ritter said.
“There are so many great things (happening) at the school that I can build on, and I want to further develop relationships with the teachers, the community and students.”
Ritter succeeds former principal Amy Patton, who recently took a job with another school district.