New leadership: Many schools will see new faces at the top

Brian Bell is settling in to lead the Alcoa school system as the new director of schools.

Brian Bell is settling in to lead the Alcoa school system as the new director of schools.

There is always a chance for new things to happen when there are changes in leadership.

The new schools director at Alcoa City Schools says it’s also a time of optimism. Brian Bell took over for Tom Shamblin at the end of the academic school year last year, moving from assistant schools director at Blount County Schools to his new position.

Bell is the only new administrator in the Alcoa City School System.

“Alcoa has no changes in administrative leadership other than Brian Bell,” he quipped in answer to a request for a list of changes in personnel.

Bell says things have been good as Alcoa has already started their school year. “So far, so good,” Bell says. “We’ve had a really good first few days with no major issues. Things seem to running fairly smoothly.”

At Blount County, schools director Rob Britt says picking the right person for an administrative position is all about finding the right fit, and he feels good about the changes in the county schools, both at central office and at the schools.

“I’m confident they’re going to do an outstanding job,” he said.

On the Central Office level, Dr. John Dalton, will take half the responsibilities of Dr. Brian Bell. Dalton, who was formerly principal at Townsend Elementary School, will be responsible for all the instructional supervision responsibilities for pre-k through fifth grade and all of the technology. He’ll also oversee textbooks and libraries for the school system and several other responsibilities, Britt said.

Gary Farmer, formerly a building trades and construction teacher at Heritage High School, will be the coordinator of facilities and maintenance. David Murrell, who was already at Central Office, will be assistant director for personnel.

“I think the first thing you try to determine is what this system needs with regard to a central office-level administrative position and where we need to build infrastructure to support administrators and teachers,” Britt said. “After you build those criteria, you begin to look for people who you believe have the experience, work ethic, knowledge and skill-set to carry out those roles and responsibilities.”

Britt said that at the schools level, he tries to determine what each school needs in a principal or assistant principal.

“I try to seek out what is going to be important to that school in filling that role and match that up with the skill-set, talent and experience of the folks available to fill that position,” Britt says. “I think we’ve successful.”

William Blount High School -- The interim head principal at William Blount High School is Rob Clark. “He came from an assistant principal position at William Blount High School. Taking his place is interim assistant Scott Cupp, who was a William Blount math teacher.

Townsend Elementary School -- Steve Stout, former assistant at Heritage High School, is the new interim principal at Townsend.

Heritage High School - The new assistant principal at Heritage High School is Jeff Sherman. He comes from Eagleton Middle School where he was a part-time assistant principal.

Eagleton Middle School - New assistant principal at Eagleton Middle School in John Young, who was previously a social studies teacher at Eagleton Middle School.

Union Grove and Lanier elementary schools - Steve Lafon, former principal at William Blount High School, will be assistant principal at Union Grove Elementary and Lanier Elementary.

At Maryville City Schools, there are several changes, including a new principal at the high school. Greg Roach has already been leading in-service training with his staff at Maryville High School. He came to Maryville from West High School where he served as principal from 2007 to 2011.

“It has been great. We’ve been looking at results from last year. It has been a celebration of achievement of things they’ve been doing,” he said. “We’re doing school, trying to get ready for kids to come back.”

Other changes in the Maryville system include:

n Maryville High School - Tracy Polson is the new assistant principal at the high school. Polson came from Knox County where she was principal at the system’s alternative school.

n Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School -- One of the big changes at the intermediate school is a new name. Maryville Intermediate School has been renamed Montgomery Ridge Intermediate School. Carol Ann Scarlett is the new assistant principal, taking over for Beth Fain, who retired.

n Coulter Grove Intermediate School -- Ramona Best, currently principal at Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning, which will close, will serve as principal. The assistant principal will be Dena Bishop, who is now academic coordinator at Sam Houston Elementary.

At the Central Office, Jerry Thompson, who retired after the 2010-11 school year, is returning in a part-time capacity as transportation director. He replaces Archie Anderson, who retired at end of the 2010-11 school year and who also was working in the position on a part-time basis.

Etta Caldwell, who retired following the 2010-11 school year, is returning on a part-time basis to continue to operate the Maryville City Schools Family Resource Center.

Maryville Middle School will also revert back to its former name and become Maryville Junior High School.

Maryville City Schools director of communications Sharon Anglim said the school was formerly a junior high school and will return to that name with the new grade configuration at Maryville schools.

“It becomes a different school when you add the ninth grade and put the seventh grade back in the intermediate school,” Anglim said.

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