Meet Your Principals


Mrs. Lisa Earby

Phone: (423) 476-1160

Mrs. Lisa Earby currently serving as the Principal of Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School in Cleveland, Tennessee. Mrs. Earby has played a pivotal role in the school's success since its opening in 2019.

Before her position at Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary, Mrs. Earby served as the Principal at E. L. Ross Elementary for eight years. Her extensive experience within Cleveland City Schools spans over 26 years, demonstrating her long-standing commitment to the district and its students.

Mrs. Earby's career in education began as an elementary classroom teacher, where she spent twelve years honing her teaching skills. Her dedication and passion for teaching were recognized through numerous accolades, including being named Teacher of the Year four times, System Level Teacher of the Year twice, and Regional Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2005.

With her wealth of experience and outstanding contributions to the field, Mrs. Earby was recognized as the Principal of the Year for Cleveland City Schools in 2023.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Mrs. Earby is a proud Cleveland native. She has been married to Dean Earby for 28 years, and her daughter and son-in-law, Gabby and Timothy Davis reside in Memphis.


Mrs. Sara Whitener
Assistant Principal

Phone: (423) 476-1160

Mrs. Sara Whitener has served as Assistant Principal of Candy's Creek Cherokee Elementary School since 2019.

She previously served as an Instructional Facilitator at Mayfield Elementary School. A native of Northeast Ohio, Mrs. Whitener has taught at both the elementary and middle school levels in three districts, in addition to serving as an instructional coach for grades Pre-K through 5.

Mrs. Whitener has enjoyed working with all types of students and teachers in rural, magnet, and metropolitan public schools. She is a graduate of the Leadership Fellows program through the Chattanooga Public Education Foundation and is a former WTVC Educator of the Week. Currently, she is working for the Tennessee Department of Education as an Educational Preparation Program Reviewer. This summer, she will serve as a second-time director of a Tennessee Department of Education Read to Be Ready Summer Camp.

She holds an Instructional Leadership License from Bethel University, a Master's Degree in Curriculum and instruction from Tennessee Technological University, and a Bachelor's Degree in Middle Childhood Education from Mount Union University.

Sara is married to Dusty Whitener, manager of Southland Finance, Inc. They have one daughter, Harper.

Candy's Creek Cherokee