Jarnigan to leave Maryville High School

Dr. Ken Jarnagin, Maryville High School principal for five years, announced his retirement to teachers and administrators Thursday morning, May 17.

Jarnagin, 53, said his last day will be June 30, and he plans to pursue some professional activities such as real estate or contract educational opportunities. Jarnagin said he had always considered throughout this career that he would "call it quits" after 30 years, "but each year changes."

The principal said the staff, faculty and students the school have enjoyed success. "I feel good about the staff and administrators we have in place and that they are going to carry on," he said.
Jarnagin said he and his wife, Phyllis, have some options that have opened up for them professionally. "I do a little work in real estate privately," he said. The principal said he also has an idea for some private educational opportunities he may explore.

Jarnagin said the staff has taken the news well, although many expressed that they wished he would stay. When asked what he would remember most about his tenure with Maryville High School, he said, "the relationships with the kids, with the parents and families and especially with the professionals at the school."

Dr. Mike Dalton, director of Maryville City Schools, said Jarnagin’s strengths are in his ability to listen and communicate. "That’s the trick to good leadership – get people who know what they’re talking about and listen to them," he said. "Ken’s one of those guys."

"Ken Jarnagin’s leadership style has always been to make everyone feel welcome, included and important. Faculty, students and staff have benefited from his openness and desire to communicate at all levels of the organization," Dalton said. "The culture of collaboration now functioning so well at Maryville High School will certainly be his legacy."

Dalton said the high school has benefited from many new or enhanced programs under Jarnagin’s leadership. "In addition to the Health Science Program, Media Concepts, Criminal Justice and an expanded drama and math programs, Jarnagin pushed very hard to secure an administrative position at the high school to manage curriculum and instruction, which has been a great success," Dalton said. "His work in the community and at the state level has been exemplary, but his unique ability to encourage student leadership and give support to students with vision is an example we should all learn from."

Dalton said he has spoken with Jarnagin over the past three years about goals and interests and in that time Jarnagin has looked at other opportunities. "I’m not surprised by him taking this step, but I regret seeing him leave. He’s been very effective."

Jarnagin worked in the Knox County system for 18 years, started out as a band director and had worked his way up to assistant principal at Bearden before Maryville City Schools director Mike Dalton picked him as the Maryville High School principal.

Dalton said he would send out an announcement to all high schools in East Tennessee and to graduate schools that train administrators to recruit prospects. "Hopefully, we’ll generate a good list," he said.

Persons interested in applying for the position of principal at Maryville High School should forward a resume to Mike Dalton, director of Maryville City Schools, 833 Lawrence Ave., Maryville, Tenn., 37803 or via fax at 865-977-5055 or via email at MCS@ci.maryville.tn.us. Resumes must be received by 4 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2007.

Qualifications for the position include appropriate licensure, experience as a secondary administrator (five or more years preferred), knowledge of effective schools research and the ability to lead a comprehensive high school program with high expectations for all students.

Jarnagin and his wife, Phyllis, have four children: 26-year-old Chris Jarnagin, 23-year-old Brandon Jarnagin, 21-year-old Sara Jarnagin and 18-year-old Caitlin Jarnagin.

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