- I saw first hand excellent schools, administrators, educators, support staff, students, parents, and communities.
- I saw very diverse communities, but they all share a common pride in their heritage and commitment to the students they serve.
- Our county is far reaching. It borders Jefferson County to the east, Loudon County to the west, Blount County to the south, Anderson County to the north. Many of the districts in Knox County are as large as other outlying school systems.
- Each school is unique in multiple ways because every administration, school staff, and community is different.
- Knox County Schools greatest resource is its people--administrators, teachers, food service workers, custodians, and security personnel.
- Knox County Schools has multiple pathways (defined by programming based on an individual student's academic interest and unique needs) with the Career Magnet Academy, International Baccalaureate, the Paul Kelly Academy, and Magnet Schools with different concentrations.
- Our facilities vary. This was most obvious in my visit to District 8 with back to back visits to Gibbs Elementary (one of our newest schools) and Corryton Elementary (one of our oldest schools.) This is also true in District 5 with Blue Grass Elementary and Northshore Elementary. In each school great learning is taking place. Facilities do not dictate good teaching.
- All communities value the past...especially District 9. Visiting Gap Creek, New Hopewell, and Bonny Kate, I learned that these schools have multiple generations. Many kids attend the school their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents attended. Some of these schools have staff members who have worked 30 years at the school they attended as a child. In another district a teacher was teaching in the same classroom and the same grade level he was in as a student.
As I approach the 2017-2018 school year (my fourth year of my four-year term) in just a few short weeks, I believe I have a better understanding of the entire system I serve as well as District 7 (the district that elected me.) I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity and the responsibility that comes with it.
Partnering together and looking forward to this next school year,