Dr. Tony Donen has worked for over 15 years as a high school principal. Originally born in South Africa, Tony grew up in Canada and then the United States, where he graduated from high school in New Jersey. Tony received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Virginia Tech University, a master’s degree in teaching from East Tennessee State University, and his doctorate degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Tony is the founding principal for STEM School Chattanooga and is committed to helping improve STEM education throughout the country. Since the inception of the STEM School, the school has become a nationally leader in STEM education. The school has been recognized by America Achieves as one of thirty schools worldwide denoted as a “World-Leading Learner School”, the Fab Foundation for prominence in digital fabrication STEM education, and the Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner as a model for the rest of the state. Tony has led professional development for innovative leadership throughout Tennessee as one of the lead principals for the Innovative Leaders Institute for school leadership teams. He has also co-authored two books – Grades Don’t Matter: Using Assessment to Measure True Learning and Let Me Try It! Enhancing Maker Education Through Digital Fabrication.

In 2018 Tony was awarded the Tennessee STEM Innovator Award. The Tennessee STEM Innovator Award is the highest STEM recognition in Tennessee and recognizes a Tennessean that has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the support of STEM education and outreach. This awardee is a leader that identifies, supports, and promotes innovative teaching practices. The success of this awardee serves as a catalyst for STEM integration across the state.