Former HVA dean, FHS administrator ‘reacquainting’ as BHS principal

Bearden High School will have a new leader this fall as Debbie Sayers — with previous ties to BHS, Farragut High School and Hardin Valley Academy — steps up as principal.

Her duties began Tuesday, July 2.

“I am excited, humbled and honored,” said Sayers, most recently an assistant principal at Knoxville Central High School. “It really came as a surprise to me.

“Bearden High School was not even on my radar in terms of a possible option or advancement step for me,” she added.

In her new role, Sayers said she first wants to get acquainted with the people at BHS.

“Even though my daughter (Leslie) attended Bearden, loved Bearden, got a wonderful educational preparation at Bearden, she graduated in 2010. So, I have not been actively involved in the Bearden community for the last nine years,” she said.

“I think one of the most important things I can do, starting off, is to just get to know the faculty and staff,” she added. “Bearden really prepared my daughter there, and they have a great tradition of excellence, so that’s something I definitely want to build on.”

An educator for 32 years, Sayers started in 1987 teaching basic biology, chemistry and physiology while coaching volleyball, boys and girls cross country and track at an inner-city high school in Jackson, Michigan.

She and her husband, Kendall Sayers, a Knoxville native, later moved to Knoxville, where she took a two-year break to raise their two children. In addition to Leslie is son, Tyler, a 2009 West High School graduate.

Sayers joined Knox County Schools as a biology teacher at West in 2002 and later taught chemistry there.

She was promoted in August 2008 to newly-opened HVA as STEM dean while teaching honors physical world concepts, honors chemistry and AP chemistry.

Sayers also mentored senior portfolio students at HVA, was a lead teacher, facilitated the chemistry and AP honors Professional Learning Communities program, was a test item reviewer and writer — which she also did at West High School — and an Advanced Placement reader for chemistry.

Sayers was at Hardin Valley for five years before she went to FHS as curriculum principal in the fall of 2013.

She was transferred to Knoxville Central in the fall of 2015.

Sayers holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Spring Arbor College, Michigan, and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.

Four promoted at FHS

Knox County Schools also

promoted Brad White to new assistant administrator (training program for assistant principals) at FHS, where he previously was a business teacher. Also promoted to positions at FHS were Laicee Hatfield, to curriculum principal, and Ryan Milani and Karey Lowdermilk as assistant principals.