In July, Hightower Trail Middle School will have a new principal. Dr. Hannah Polk, who currently serves as assistant principal at Simpson Middle School, will bring her leadership and education experience to Hightower Trail.

For the last 15 years, Dr. Polk has served as a public school educator in Georgia and South Carolina. Next year will mark her ninth year serving students as part of the Cobb Schools “One Team.”  

In the below question and answer interview, Dr. Polk explains why she loves being an educator, how she defines student success, and what the Hightower Trail community can expect from her.

Question: Why are you excited to serve the Hightower Trail Middle School community as principal? 

Answer: “I am beyond thrilled to join the Hightower Trail community! Hightower Trail Middle School has a long-established tradition of academic excellence. I look forward to working with students, staff, parents, and community partners to continue building on this strong foundation.

The phrase I continuously hear echoed from Hightower Trail students, teachers, and parents is, “HTMS is the place to be!” Nothing impresses me more than listening to teachers openly express the pride they feel for their school or witnessing young people fall in love with learning.”

Question: What can the school community expect to see under your leadership?

Answer: “Embedded in the core values I have developed throughout my career is the belief that teachers are the difference makers in a school. I was fortunate enough throughout my own teaching career to have school leaders and administrators who provided me with the proper support required to be successful. The Hightower Trail community can be assured that I am ready and eager to provide our incredibly talented teaching staff with the resources and support necessary to help all students find success.”

Question: What does student success look like to you?

Answer: “Student success is defined by each student’s individual goals and aspirations. One of the most important aspects of serving at the middle school level is providing students with the necessary skills and strategies to grow academically, socially, and emotionally. I am excited to join the Hightower Trail team and look forward to ensuring that our students continue to be properly equipped and prepared to achieve their own personal and academic goals.”

Question: What do you like most about being an educator?

Answer: “School leaders are privileged on a daily basis to watch people achieve their own personal and academic successes. Whether it is a 6th grader who reached a behavior goal for the month, an 8th-grade student who just received a magnet school acceptance letter or a teacher who just completed his/her gifted certification, milestones are continually being met throughout a school building. Having the opportunity to be a small part of these individual victories (and truly, it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite!) is just one of the many reasons why I love my job!”

Question: Outside school, where might students, parents, or staff members run into you?

Answer: “I enjoy being outside as much as possible and can frequently be found visiting local farmer’s markets and parks on the weekend. I also have a 5-year old son who keeps me very busy. T-ball games have recently become one of our favorite Saturday morning activities.”