Farragut High School principal Dr. John Bartlett recently was honored by Tennessee Association for Secondary School Principals as regional Principal of the Year for his outstanding work.
Bartlett joins Cedar Bluff
Middle School assistant principal Jeff Castleberry in being honored, as Castleberry was named regional Assistant Principal of the Year.
They will advance to the state awards, which are scheduled to be announced later this month. Those winners then will advance for the national award, which will be announced in October.
“Obviously it’s an honor and very humbling,” Bartlett said about receiving the award; but he was quick to credit the work of his assistant principals, teachers and support staff.
“So while this is an honor for me, this is a school award,” he added. “It’s for the whole school. It’s for the achievements everyone has done.
“The assistant principals do a lot of the heavy lifting as far as the school goes. They work really hard.
“I’ll readily admit I’m a hard person to keep up with … they’ve kind of gotten used to me and can keep up with my crazy ideas. We’re still working on those crazy ideas,” Bartlett said.
“And, the teaching staff has just been unbelievable,” he added.
FHS ninth-grade principal Steve Killian has seen the atmosphere change since Bartlett’s arrival.
“I think just the general climate of the school is more welcoming,” said Killian, an educator for 36 years, an administrator for 20 and in his second year as assistant principal at FHS.
“Students feel like they have a voice,” Killian added. “Students are more aware they have a voice.
“Administratively, our whole team — and teachers — want to help students succeed.”
Likewise, Killian said teachers feel they are being listened to and “our (administrative) team wants to provide teachers with tools for them to be successful.”
While Bartlett hadn’t been told why he was nominated, he is aware several different people nominated him for the award.
When he learned of the nomination, he “asked them to find somebody else to honor because, in 2016, I won the state award, and I wanted to make sure other people who did great work were honored.”
In addition to winning the 2016 state Principal of the Year award from TASSP, he also won the Tennessee Association of Student Council Administrator of the Year Award in 2014.
However, he noted, “It’s not my job to seek awards; it’s my job to make sure people around me receive awards and to promote them.”
While reflecting on his administrative role, Bartlett said, “Obviously we want student achievement, student learning for everyone to maximize their potential with learning, but at the same time it’s about building the whole student — not just academics, but emotionally, mentally, physically — every aspect of the student’s life and make sure (he or she is) taken care of.
“What we’re doing is raising adults,” he added. “It’s not just our job to teach them.”
Before becoming an administrator, Bartlett, who also serves as Knox County Schools’ director of Leadership Development, spent 12 years in the U.S Marine Reserves. Of those 12 years, two were on active duty. He earned the rank of staff sergeant.
He then pursued a career as an educator, first as a teacher and a coach. Before joining Knox County Schools, Bartlett taught at Unicoi County High School in Erwin, Tennessee, served as principal of Loudon County High School and as a teacher and sports coach in Bledsoe County.
He joined Knox County Schools in 2000 as a Powell Middle School teacher. Bartlett switched gears to administration in 2007, when he became administrative assistant at Fulton High School, then assistant principal at Knoxville West High School.
He also was part of the 2010 Leadership Academy, was Austin-East High School curriculum principal and Carter High School principal before he was Bearden High School principal, where he served for 10 years, and subsequently the school system’s supervisor of secondary education. Wanting to get back into the schools, he accepted the principal position at FHS.