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Miranda Manley named ACS Principal of the Year

Principal Manley

Arlington Community Schools is proud to announce that Donelson Elementary’s Miranda Manley has been named the district’s Principal of the Year! Mrs. Manley is in her second year as Donelson’s leader, and she has already made significant contributions to the school community.

“When I selected Mrs. Manley to lead DES, I tasked her with focusing on enhancing morale in the building for employees, students and families, and she has far exceeded my expectations in seeing that vision through,” said Superintendent Jeff Mayo. “She’s brought a combination of being approachable and positive while keeping high expectations for structure, organization and a sound instructional program. She often seeks input from others before implementing strategies and is receptive to change by listening to others, and it has enhanced her ability to lead the school.”  

Prior to joining Donelson, Manley spent more than a decade in school-level administration as an assistant principal at Bailey Station Elementary in Collierville City Schools. She also briefly worked in the ACS District Office in the Accountability Department before taking on her role at Donelson.

Since becoming DES principal, Manley has implemented several initiatives to improve the school, including more structured and goal-oriented teacher PLC meetings and positive and encouraging leadership team meetings. One of the first changes she put into place was making sure that all grade-level teachers had a common planning time every day, which has given teachers a greater ability to collaborate and plan lessons together. She, along with Assistant Principals Dr. Krista Heller and Dr. Kelly Lofton, also meets with the grade-level PLCs once a week to focus on student achievement and to review data. 

Manley has also prioritized and supported events that promote family-centered education programs, such as DES STEM Night, which attracted nearly 3,000 people this past fall, and Coffee with the Counselors. She has also encouraged more extra-curricular club offerings, including the Technology Club and Bulldog Best Buddies. Ms. Manley is known to be highly visible throughout the school day and makes it a point to know many of her students by name.

“She has been a great resource for me as I have learned to navigate a school leadership role,” said one colleague who nominated Ms. Manley for ACS Principal of the Year. “She is always willing to help me talk through situations involving students, parents or staff members. I appreciate having a colleague to reach out to who is willing to assist with an open mind and sound advice. Mrs. Manley is a wonderful leader and a valued friend.”

“I’m just honestly speechless,” Manley said about the award. “Being nominated by your peers is truly an honor. My goal coming into Donelson was to just be a familiar and positive face to all those who interacted with the school, and I think I’ve done a good job of being visible to teachers and employees but also to students and families.

"It sounds cliché but serving as principal has been a life-long dream of mine," Manley continued. "I love kids and all the hugs and high fives that come along with it. But I’m also very goal-oriented, and being principal allows me to see big picture the things that we, as a school, can celebrate and also improve upon. Serving and giving back to my community is a blessing, and I’m so thankful for the incredible assistant principals, teachers and employees that make Donelson so great."

In addition to representing ACS as the district’s Principal of the Year, Manley will also be submitted for the TN Principal of the Year competition.

Congratulations, Mrs. Manley!