It is one of the Mt. Juliet Chamber's highest annual accolades.

Director of Wilson County Schools Dr. Donna Wright was named "Wilsonian of the Year," an honor that recognizes an individual who has been instrumental in the chamber's efforts to promote unity, cooperation and collaboration for the betterment of everyone in Wilson County.

"I was stunned," Wright said. "I have attended the Mt. Juliet Chamber Banquet for the last several years and vividly remember attributes of individuals chosen for this esteemed honor. I have been here four years, but I feel like I have lived here my entire life. My husband and I feel so blessed to live in Wilson County and thank God every day."

Wright was also recently recognized by her peers as the Top Director of Schools in Tennessee. Wilson County is home to more than 140,000 residents, of which nearly 20,000 are in the Wilson County School System.

"The challenges and responsibilities that go with leading and guiding those students, our most treasured assets, is tremendous. As CEO of our entire school system, which is recognized as being among the best in the entire state, all can agree this is a deserving honor for Dr. Wright," said Mt. Juliet Chamber President Mark Hinesley.

Wright noted it is also an honor and privilege to be allowed to serve in a job she loves.

"It simply cannot get any better than that, particularly after residing in Knoxville for 40 years and a couple of years in Williamson County," she said. "There is nothing to compare to the quality of life and the community spirit you find here. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the comments of my peers and friends, old and new. I see the acknowledgement as a validation for the good work our teachers and administrators perform everyday on behalf of boys and girls."

Wright was hired to lead the school system in 2014, and her contract was recently extended through 2020.

"This [2020] will be a good year as we see new schools come on line, and hopefully in a much better place in accommodating unprecedented growth as we have seen in the last couple of years," she said.

Wright said over the next two years she will continue to focus on the ACT for high school students.

"This is a national marker to compare student success, and at this time we can say that we are making remarkable gains in each of the high schools in ACT composite scores. We have surpassed our initial goal of 21 with last year's graduating class (21.1), and it appears this year's class will well surpass that number," she said.

She also plans to continue her support for a more rigorous middle school curriculum and has an ambitious goal of 90 percent of third-graders being proficient readers by 2020. Additionally, she plans to be diligent in her push for a digital transformation across the school district.

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