Jim David
Principal, 2023-Current

Jim David Principal

“Stepping into the Principal role at STEM School Chattanooga is both exhilarating and humbling.I look forward to continuing to have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our students, teachers, and families. Having worked alongside the fantastic staff at STEM School as a teacher and then as the school’s Assistant Principal, I know that as I go forward, we will continue to make a positive impact for academic excellence embedded with STEM tenets to allow students to reach their full potential. I believe each student is unique, and my vision for next school year is to create an environment to develop students into leaders who are self-sufficient learners. With a focus on Innovation,
Collaboration, and Critical Thinking, I am confident that students will have an
exceptional educational experience at our school.”

Jim David previously served as Lead Teacher and Principal Designee at STEM School Chattanooga from 2013-16 and as a Teacher at Cleveland Middle School (2007-13), Lake Forest Middle School (2005-07), and Athens Junior High School (2004-05). He holds a B.A. Degree in History, an M.A. Degree in Teaching, and an Ed.S Degree in
Leadership, all from Lee University.

“Education is a calling and, therefore, more than a job,” David said. “As an educator, I have the ability to shape future generations by making daily positive impacts on the lives of my students. Being part of the education profession means I get to foster an environment that allows students to thrive in their learning within safe and supportive
school climates. I am part of this distinguished profession because education can change lives and positively transform our community.”

Tony Donen
Founding Principal, 2012-2023

Tony Donen

Dr. Tony Donen is currently the Executive Principal for the Workforce Development and College Schools Network in Hamilton County Schools. This network includes programs and schools across Hamilton County that promote innovative and relevant experiences for high school students. STEM School Chattanooga is one of the model schools within this network.

Dr. Donen was the founding principal for STEM School Chattanooga. He led the development of the school and was acting principal for the school from 2012 through 2023. Over this timeline, the school became the longest standing academic performance reward high school in Hamilton County, the school was one of the first to achieve STEM designation in the state and was recognized as the highest rated STEM school in the state, MIT recognized the school as one of only two schools in the country as a leadership school in STEM digital fabrication, and America Achieves designated the school as one of the thirty best in the world for innovative education. Under his leadership, STEM School Chattanooga became a national leader in STEM education, a Fab Lab (digital fabrication) model for education worldwide, and a platform school for educational innovation.

Dr. Donen’s background in school administration included working as a high school principal from 2003 until 2023. Dr. Donen received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Virginia Tech University, a master's degree in teaching from East Tennessee State University, and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. Dr. Donen has led and continues to lead professional development for innovative leadership. He has also co-authored two books - Grades Don''t Matter: Using Assessment to Measure True Learning and Let Me Try It! Enhancing Maker Education Through Digital Fabrication. Dr. Donen has also been awarded the Tennessee STEM Innovator Award which is the highest STEM recognition in Tennessee and exemplifies a Tennessean that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the support of STEM education and outreach.

Tony Donen


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