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June 15, 2015




Contact: John Crooks

(865) 637-3227 ext. 119




KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Dr. Jon Rysewyk, Emerald Academy School Director, announced leadership for Knoxville’s first public charter school, Emerald Academy.


“In order to do really big things and to make transformational change, you have to hire great people,” said Rysewyk. “We searched all over the country to find the very best leadership for Emerald Academy, and I could not be more excited about the experienced team we have assembled to lead our scholars.”


The individuals listed below are also joined by teachers assembled from area neighborhoods and across the nation who are all motivated by the belief that every child can achieve at high levels.


School leadership for Emerald Academy includes the following:


Sherra Robinson, Family and Community Engagement Specialist, is a Knoxville native who grew up in the heart of East Knoxville, where she was raised by her grandmother. She graduated from Austin-East High School in 1992 with hopes of furthering her education to become a math teacher. Her love of math stemmed from the encouragement of her freshman high-school teacher at Austin-East. But due to altering life events, Robinson dropped out of college and earned her registration for Dental Assisting while working as a community outreach coordinator for Western Heights Dental. Robinson has a heart to serve children in inner-city Knoxville and has built and maintained solid relationships with community leaders, agencies, and families in many underserved communities in Knoxville and surrounding counties. She graduated from Johnson University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Management of a Nonprofit and a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies. Robinson has one son and an adorable granddaughter that keeps her on her toes at all times. She also loves coffee!


Sarah Shaver, Dean of Specialized Services, moved to Tennessee from Port Huron, Michigan, to attend UT and was a member of the University of Tennessee Women’s Track and Field Team. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s of education. Prior to joining Emerald Academy, Shaver worked with Knox County Schools for 12 years, working in various settings of Special Education, as a Co-Teaching coach from 2009-2011, and as a TAP Master Teacher for four years. She previously worked for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. Shaver lives in Fountain City with her husband Darren and their children Drew and Allie and dogs, Beau and Duke.


Jamie Snyder, Dean of Academics, previously served as a principal with Knox County Schools. Most recently, she was principal of Corryton Elementary School, and also served in leadership positions at East Knox County Elementary School and Inskip Elementary School. A member of the inaugural Leadership Academy Cohort, she also served as assistant principal at Ritta Elementary School for her administrative residency internship. Her passion for leadership and mentoring began at Inskip Elementary School where she served as a Literacy Leader for Reading First in Tennessee. Her teaching career began at Mount Olive Elementary School where she taught kindergarten, fourth and first grades. Additionally, Snyder serves as an expert reviewer and trainer for projects at the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) and also for the TPRI Early Reading Assessment. Recently she was interviewed about the role of differentiated instruction for the spring 2011 edition of Instructor magazine. Snyder earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Ed.S. from Lincoln Memorial University. She enjoys reading, jogging and being a mother of two active children.


This group will lead the school in its efforts to achieve its three primary goals, which are as follows:

  • Scholars will read at or above grade level.

  • Every scholar will be ready for high school and on their way to a four-year college.

  • Emerald Academy will rank in the top 5 percent of schools in Tennessee within the first 10 years of operation.


The school is currently under renovation and will be located at the historic Moses School Building, located at 220 Carrick Street in Mechanicsville. School will start July 27, and supporting opportunities are available.


For more information about the school and how to become involved, please visit


About Emerald Academy

Emerald Academy is a free, independently-operated, K-8 college preparatory school which is being launched by Emerald Charter Schools.  The school’s mission is to grow scholars into leaders by creating the best learning culture for city students to develop the skills, habits, and values for success in high school, college and life.



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