Dr. Hank Staggs

Director of Accelerating Character Education Development (ACED)


Dr. Hank Staggs joined NIET in August 2020 as director of Accelerating Character Education Development (ACED). In this role, he leads work to expand NIET's suite of high-quality trainings to support principals and district-level principal supervisors in successfully integrating character development into the instruction and culture of their schools.

Hank joined NIET with 27 years in education including service as a senior director at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), director and assistant professor of educational leadership in higher education, executive school principal, assistant principal, and high school math teacher. Hank's school leadership experience includes both public and private K-12 schools in Tennessee. Following 14 years as a building-level principal, Hank transitioned into higher education as a director and assistant professor of educational leadership. He led the design and implementation of a fellowship program for aspiring school administrators tailored to specific needs of local school district partners. Hank later joined the TDOE and helped develop and lead the Governor's Academy for School Leadership in partnership with the Office of Governor Bill Haslam and Vanderbilt University. Hank also helped create and direct the Tennessee Transformational Leadership Alliance to incubate and support nine regional principal pipelines with school district and higher education partners across the state.

Hank holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Freed-Hardeman University, and a doctorate of education in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University. He has extensive experience and training in leadership coaching and previously held certification with the International Coach Federation as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC). He regularly serves as an adjunct professor for Vanderbilt University’s online Ed.D. program.

Dr. Hank  Staggs

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

Every child deserves the opportunity for success, and I believe that a high-quality education is the best way to provide this opportunity. I also believe that providing a high-quality education means that every child is taught by an excellent teacher and in a school led by an excellent principal. I am passionate about working with NIET to support a daily vision and mission that directly seeks to build excellence in the two most powerful levers for educational change, teachers and leaders, for the ultimate purpose of student success.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

My favorite subject in school was always math. I had several excellent math teachers that made learning fun, made it practical, and made me think I could do it.

What do you do in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my family. We like to be outdoors hiking, fishing, traveling, working in the yard, going to ball games, or just relaxing with a book.