Varissa Richardson
Munford Elementary Principal Varissa Richardson was named the West Grand Division Principal of the Year Tuesday.

Munford Elementary School Principal Varissa Richardson was named the West Grand Division Principal of the Year Tuesday.

The award is given annually to a school leader for outstanding service in education and exceptional leadership that drives overall improvements in his or her school.

“We’re really excited,” said Tipton County Schools Superintendent John Combs. “I’ve worked with her for awhile and she’s a great person, was a great teacher, a great assistant principal, a great coach and is a great principal.”

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Combs said Richardson’s honor, as well as Vicki Shipley’s Principal of the Year honor last year, show how great Tipton County’s administrators are.

“It’s nice to see the state department of education recognize the strong leadership in our rural schools. We have really great leaders and we’re proud to see them honored.”

Strong leadership is vital to the success of students, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said.

“I’ve traveled the state and have seen first-hand how leaders positively impact our students on a daily basis. These are the people who go above and beyond for our kids and educators. It is my pleasure to recognize and celebrate these dedicated leaders who support education across the state.”

She was named a finalist for Tennessee Principal of the Year in September and was one of the top three principals in the state.

To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of three years’ experience as a principal and a minimum of five years’ experience in Tennessee public schools. In addition, all nominees must have a proven track record of exceptional gains in student learning.

Richardson was Tipton County’s Principal of the Year this year and MES was one of five Rewards Schools in Tipton County. She is a graduate of Humboldt High School, the University of Memphis and Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. LeAndrea Ware, principal of the Howard School in Hamilton County Schools, was named Tennessee’s 2019-20 Principal of the Year and the East Grand Division Principal of the Year.

Sara Cope, principal of BonDeCroft Elementary School in White County Schools, was named the winner for the Middle Grand Division.