Ask Alvin Hord to point out the accomplishment he’ll remember most about his tenure as Blount County director of schools, and he’s quick to answer…reading.
In his time as director of schools, Hord has stressed the importance of the reading program.
“My emphasis was on reading,” Hord said. “I think we’ll see benefits from that. I look for it to blossom.”
Hord said he was humbled by the turnout during the May 7 reception at the Blount County School Board office. Many of the people he has worked with throughout the years showed up to congratulate him. “I appreciate the respect and support they’ve given me. I’m grateful,” he said.
Hord, 61, graduated Everett High School in 1965 and was in the school system 39 years. He started out as a counselor and ended his career as director of schools. “It’s gone by quick. I’ve had many, many pleasant experiences and gotten to know many people. This is a great place, Blount County.”
Hord said the part of the job he will miss most is the people he works with day-to-day and those in the community he sees. When asked what advice he had for his successor, Rob Britt, Hord said his advice centered on working with people. “You’ve got to have people’s support to make it,” he said. “This is not something you can do by yourself. That’s how we’ve been successful.”
In retirement, Hord said he hopes to spend more time with his family and his grandchildren. Hord said he also hopes to have time to do more volunteer work in the community.
People from throughout the community stopped by the reception to wish Hord well. Blount County commissioner chair Steve Samples said Hord is an “absolute” excellent example of a public servant.
“He has the love and respect of children and teachers in this community,” Hord said. “He’s been an excellent public servant to the school system and the people of Blount County.”
County school board member Mike Treadway said he’s served on the board six and a half years, and Hord was director when he came on the school board. “I was a big supporter of Mr. Hord’s and encouraged the previous board to put him in. He has done the job right. The citizens of Blount County can be proud of the job he’s done. He has brought good things to the system.”
Treadway said the reading program has become stronger under Hord’s watch. “That was his pet project. We’ve seen test scores go up in reading,” he said. “I think as reading goes, so goes your other subjects.”
Blount County General Sessions Judge William Brewer praised Hord’s commitment to the community. “I’ve always found him to be honorable. He was dedicated to the schools,” the judge said. “He’s chartered a great course for the schools over the years and he’ll be missed.”
School board member Charles Finley said Hord has been a good schools director. “Anytime I’ve needed him, he was always there,” Finley said.
Finley said Hord has the ability to bring people together. “I think that’s very important. If you don’t get everyone going in the same direction, it’s hard,” he said.
School board chair Chris Cantrell said Hord loves the students. “He loves the school system. I’ve gained a lot of respect for him as director of schools for the job he has to do,” Cantrell said.
Blount County commissioner Gary Farmer, a Heritage High School teacher, said he has worked with and for Hord. “He’s always been an upstanding gentleman. From my standpoint working for the system and with him on the commission, if he told you something, you could take it to the bank,” Farmer said. “That’s the best thing you could ask for in a public servant.”