KCS has made 5 regions

Having all Knox County Schools grouped into five regional teams for administrative purposes is a positive move, two local high school principals said.

“I’m very excited about it because I think some of the strengths that we have in our community, we will be more collaborative about them,” said Dr. Rob Speas, Hardin Valley Academy principal, about region alignment plans released Saturday, June 4, by new KCS superintendent Dr. John Rysewyk.

Currently, “we don’t always know what each other are doing even though the campuses are right next door to us,” Speas added, “so I think having one person seeing all of them in the feeder patterns will be a benefit to our students.

“At the end of the day, it provides more precise support to the school feeder pattern,” said Dr. John Bartlett, Farragut High School principal.

“Instead of all the high schools overseen by a supervisor, the idea is for one supervisor to oversee schools K-12 in one area of town,” Speas said. “Because the needs of different schools are unique in Knox County, this (plan) allows someone to dive deeper into the community, where there’s more conversation between Hardin Valley Elementary, Hardin Valley Middle and Hardin Valley Academy, as well as Cedar Bluff Middle and Ball Camp Elementary and Cedar Bluff Elementary, so all the kids who end up coming to Hardin Valley Academy, one person is overseeing their education K-through-12.

“This allows for greater alignment and greater collaboration through feeder schools,” he added.

Bartlett said the focus is on the feeder pattern, where an elementary school feeds into a middle school and that middle school feeds into a high school.

“If anything, it would provide more support and collaboration and minimal impact on the schools,” Bartlett added.

• Region One, in which all Farragut public schools are located, is led by director Danny Trent, who currently serves as executive director of secondary education — and is a former Farragut Middle School principal — and supervisor Shelly Maddux, who currently serves as Amherst Elementary School principal.

Also in Region One are Bearden High School, West Valley Middle School, A.L. Lotts Elementary, Blue Grass Elementary, Northshore Elementary, Bearden Elementary, Pond Gap Elementary, Rocky Hill Elementary, Sequoyah Elementary, West Hills Elementary, West View Elementary, Bearden Middle and Knoxville West High

• Region Two, in which all Hardin Valley public schools are located, is led by director Nathan Langlois, who currently serves as director of advancement and diversity, and supervisor Christy Dowell, who currently serves as supervisor of elementary education.

Also located within Region Two are Amherst Elementary, Ball Camp Elementary, Cedar Bluff Elementary, Karns Elementary, Norwood Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Elementary, Powell Elementary, West Haven Elementary, Cedar Bluff Middle, Karns Middle, Northwest Middle, Powell Middle, Ridgedale Middle and Karns and Powell high schools.

“I believe that regional teams will help us foster community engagement and ownership in the educational process and will shift the educational focus away from the Central Office back to individual schools, where the most important work happens,” Rysewyk said about the five new teams.

“It is important for district leaders to clearly understand the unique needs of school communities across Knox County,” he added. “I believe that regional teams will allow us to act quickly and effectively in pursuing the priorities of excellence in foundational skills, great educators in every school, career empowerment and preparation and success for every student.”