HC*EXCELL’s “Cradle through Career Initiative” started SUCCESS, an acronym for “Strategically Utilizing Community Creativity Empowering Student Success.” Through community outreach and support, we have been able to successfully manage programs and initiatives to strengthen our children’s skills to prepare them for what’s ahead. To learn more about SUCCESS, continue reading or contact us.

Ready by 6 - Our Work

Ready by 6

This strategic plan focuses on facilitating early childhood learning through community support and engagement and providing children with the tools and to needed for success. We believe all children should have equal access to resources to develop the cognitive, creative, language, physical and social/emotional skills needed to succeed. Through this initiative, we offer a wide range of resources for families who are our children’s first teachers. We utilize the VMOSA (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) planning method, which was designed with meaningful community change in mind, allowing for the completion of short-term goals while maintaining the long-term vision. Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything

Art Build Skills - Our Work

Arts Build Skills

Through this plan, we aim to broaden student critical thinking and problem-solving skills by integrating arts training in elementary and middle school curriculums. In 2012, we launched The ABS pilot program which consisted of a five-week session of two afterschool classes each week of Math, Art and Readers Theater for 2nd-grade students attending West Elementary School. The goal was to demonstrate the positive impact of teaching through the arts on student academic and social performance. The results were so encouraging that it was later adopted by both West and Hillcrest Elementary schools. Because teachers saw the positive results with the integration of arts in the curriculum, the program has blossomed. All eleven elementary schools are now making efforts to include art programming in the regular school curriculum. HC*EXCELL is continuing to support training for teachers in these efforts as well as sponsoring the Day of the Arts.

Workforce & Leadership Development

Workforce & Leadership Development

This strategic plan focuses on improving the alignment of academic instruction, workforce skills, and access to hands-on learning. In 2008, Don Rogers approached the HC*EXCELL Board of Directors and Hamblen County School System with a vision of strengthening Hamblen County’s future workforce through expanding Junior Achievement (JA) programming in the Hamblen County elementary schools. JA Worldwide® is the world’s largest non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching young people about business, economics, and free enterprise. At the time only 3 to 4 Hamblen County elementary classes were participating in Junior Achievement. Since then, the program has expanded to all Hamblen County elementary schools with over 800 student participants.

Post Secondary Readiness & Completion

Through this plan, we help prepare students for post-secondary education and successful completion through our affiliation with various organizations including TN Achieves, Tennessee Promise, Complete Tennessee and Tennessee Reconnect.

Senator Herbert S. Walters Fund

Senator Herbert S. Walters Educator Fund

The Herbert S. Walters Fund solicits and provides funds for teacher professional development, recognition and appreciation.

Awards & Grants

We offer teacher grants and sponsor awards for the Teachers of the Year,  National Board Certified Teachers, the Don Rogers BizTown Volunteer of the Year, and the JTEKT Educational Leadership Award.


Karen Lawson and Walters State Community College

JTEKT Educational Leadership Award

Hamblen Teachers of the Year

Hannah Lane, Sarah Cooper, Natasha Henson

Hamblen County District Teachers of the Year


Jean Shadow, Russellville Elementary

Don Rogers JA BizTown Volunteer of the Year Award

Certified Teachers

Suzanne Mills, Dr. Rebecca Drinnon, Katherine Dallemagne

Hamblen County National Board Certified Teachers

About Us

HC*EXCELL is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit education foundation, governed by an appointed board of directors for the purpose of promoting excellence in education and achievement in Hamblen County.

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