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Polk Innovative Learning Academy

Polk Innovative Learning Academy is a nontraditional K-12 public school within Polk County School district with classes taught by highly qualified, certified Tennessee teachers. All courses are aligned with the district’s instructional goals and Tennessee’s academic standards, curriculum frameworks, and assessments. At PILA, we strive to focus on the individual student and personal academic growth.

Meet Our Principal

Kanissa Hardwick

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Polk Innovative Learning Academy


Learning Center North

216 Schoolhouse Hill

Benton, TN 37307

Learning Center South

964 Old Federal Rd

Old Fort, TN 37362

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To be in education is to have an opportunity to mold the future. The future is what our world depends upon. My name is Kanissa Hardwick and I am the principal at PILA. I began my calling in education when I pursued my masters degree in 2010. I have attended and graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan, University of Phoenix, and Carson Newman University. I began a career in virtual education in 2013. From 2013-2022 I served the community of K12 powered schools now known as Stride. I served the students as a teacher, master teacher, principal, post-secondary advisor, and district trainer.  I am blessed to be part of the Polk County School system and serve as your principal for PILA.


I truly believe in the PILA model and what it stands for. All students can achieve greatness. However, greatness looks different for every student. While virtual education is not the option for every student, for some students it is truly the only option. This type of education allows flexibility, your child may need a lot of guidance in the beginning. Help your child develop a routine, a schedule, then allow them to make changes as they need.


Our students learn to be proud of who they are and know their worth. Our senior class from 2022, heard our self-proclaimed statement of “Be PILA Proud.”


We value our students, their education, their beliefs, and their life goals. At PILA we believe achievement starts with the desire to be successful. PILA is here to push your student to their personal best! I am thankful for the chance to serve you and your children.

Our Mission

     Our mission is to provide students in Polk County with a high quality education in a flexible, online learning environment that will impart the knowledge, skills, and characteristics necessary for college and career readiness.

Digital Learning
Our Vision

We believe:

  • Building solid relationships will enhance the learning experience.

  • Students can develop a love of learning by taking ownership for the learning


  • Students, parents, and teachers should be active partners in the educational process.

  • The student experience in online and blended learning will prepare them for post

    secondary education and future employment.


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