JACKSON, Tenn. – Rose Hill School will have a new leader when the 2018-2019 school year begins August 3. Dr. Teresa (McDaniel) McSweeney has returned to the Jackson-Madison County School System to take over the leadership position at the kindergarten through 8th grade school. “My number one goal is to continue the culture of excellence and sense of community that exists at Rose Hill,” explained McSweeney. “I want to build on this foundation to appropriately prepare students for high school and beyond.”
McSweeney, who began her education career as an English teacher at Jackson Central-Merry High School, would later serve as Assistant Principal under current JMCSS superintendent Dr. Eric Jones. She would join Dr. Jones at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville, Ala., then go on to serve as high school principal at 21st Century Cyber Charter School in Downingtown, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia.
The Jackson native said it was an easy decision to return home to work with Dr. Jones again. “Great things are happening in my hometown,” McSweeney said. “I want to be part of something that will have an impact on the future.” Along with moving back to West Tennessee this summer with her husband, McSweeney said she will be busy preparing for her new role. She plans to hold meet-and-greets with faculty, staff, students and families, survey teachers and parents for feedback, then identify strategic goals and actions steps for the next school year.
“Staff, students and parents can expect me to be an honest servant-leader who believes that happy teachers make happy students and happy students are more successful,” McSweeney stated. “I will work hard to ensure that Rose Hill School is a place where students enjoy learning and teachers enjoy teaching.” She also is committed to bringing in the latest technology to prepare students for competition in the digital workforce.
Having spent most of her educational career in high schools, McSweeney said she brings to Rose Hill insight of what skills and knowledge students need to be successful in high school and in postsecondary education. She also understands the impact elementary and middle school educators have on shaping a child’s view of learning. “Students enter elementary school excited to learn, but many students lose that excitement by the time they reach high school,” McSweeney added. “We need to figure out what we educators do to squelch the passion children naturally have for learning new information and change our practices.”
McSweeney said the “light bulb moment” remains her inspiration as an educator, whether it is in students, teachers or parents. She said she is constantly encouraged by her own family, whether her 98 and 93-year-old grandmothers, her own mother or her dad, who recently passed away, to continue learning herself.
A graduate of North Side High School, McSweeney, nee Littrell, also attended Pope Elementary and North Side Junior High. She earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Educational Doctorate from Union University and was named a Leadership Fellow at the University of Memphis. All four of her children are also graduates of JMCSS schools.
McSweeney takes over for Pam Betler, who retired from JMCSS at the end of the 2017-2018 school year after 32 years of service.