Blasting state tests: ex-FIS principal

A well-known Farragut grade school administrator/educator is giving a Christian conservative voice to what she observes as epidemic abuse toward women and children locally and nationally — and barbaric cultural rituals ending in death and permanent injury internationally.

Kay Wellons, assistant principal at Knoxville Christian School and former principal at Farragut Intermediate School, also spoke recently on how public school elementary-age children in Farragut, for example, were being short-changed educationally thanks to a state push for “data.”

Stepping down at FIS following the 2012-13 school year, “It was mostly because the focus had so gotten off of students — the focus was on everything else,” said Wellons, featured speaker during the monthly meeting of ACT For America, Thursday evening, Feb. 27, in Petros Stopping Center, 722 N. Watt Road.

Saying she recently was asked by her husband, David Wellons, about “‘just one of the most ludicrous things’” that was happening at FIS beyond her control, Wellons said she gave him a quick answer.

“‘That would be kindergartners and first-graders having to sit and take tests — they were not developmentally ready to sit and take tests,’” she said.

Saying she was “reading to my third-graders,” Wellons gave an example of how basic elementary skills were eroding a few years ago.

“About every fourth word, and I mean these were bright children, they would go, ‘what does that mean?’” she recalled. “And yet their answer when they were judging something was supposed to be valid when they didn’t even understand the vocabulary?”

Emphasizing she “believes in high expectations” for elementary level students, being “raised on a farm here in West Knox (County) off of Campbell Station Road and taught to work,” Wellons added, “… Even though I believe in hard work, you should be working on the right things.”

With the wrong thing being “making the data look good” through the required special testing, “We had lost the fact that behind those little numbers is a heartbeat,” she added.

“Working in after-care at Knoxville Christian School” soon after retirement from FIS, Wellons also was a substitute teacher at KCS before becoming vice principal during the current school year.

“I know God has called me to do this job,” she said.

Overall at KCS, “What a blessing for me,” she said, specifically pointing out enjoyable elements at her new school to include “chapel, reading the Bible and being with other Conservatives.”

Reflecting back to FIS, “They may say there’s not prayer in (public) schools, but let me assure you there is,” Wellons said. “I would walk around those halls going, ‘Lord help me, Jesus help me,’ because when you have 1,200 students entrusted to you, it is quite the responsibility — and one I took very seriously. … Every one of those 1,200 was like my own.”