Andrew Jackson Elementary School
Metro Nashville Public Schools
Old Hickory, Tennessee
Tara Bell became a principal a decade ago, following 16 years in the classroom. In her eight-year tenure leading Andrew Jackson Elementary School (AJES), Bell says her most significant achievement has been growing and maintaining a positive school culture. By establishing a clear mission and reinforcing shared expectations, the school has observed decreased referrals, positive climate survey results, and improved safety. Bell has also adopted a restorative approach to behavioral intervention at AJES, responding to conflict and disruption by modeling healthy coping skills, effective communication, and collaborative problem-solving. An instructional leader and a mentor at heart, Bell provides high-quality, data-driven professional development to expose teachers to pedagogical strategies that will impact student achievement. She plays a direct role in monitoring implementation through classroom visits, data analysis, and ongoing feedback, all practices that improved differentiation and produced positive momentum in student achievement. Keen to support the development of new teachers, current teachers, and aspiring administrators, Bell recently launched a two-year mentorship program that pairs incoming teachers with senior educators who offer guidance and a trusted space to grow. Bell holds an Ed.D. from Lipscomb University and an M.Ed. in Administration, Supervision, and Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix. She is a graduate of the Principals Leadership Academy at Vanderbilt University.