During the War of 1812, Tennessee sent more soldiers per capita than any other state, earning our state the nickname “The Volunteer State” which many local organizations link to their brand because of their mission of good deeds.
Adam Wilson wasn’t raised in Tennessee but he says, “I got here as fast as I could! I love Knoxville,” and he epitomizes the heart of the volunteer spirit.
Wilson owns Adam Wilson Realty, but his path to real estate came through a career as a high school chemistry teacher, a childhood dream realized but met with the current disillusionment that is causing the lack of teacher retention across our country.
Adam found success in the field of real estate but couldn’t resolve the guilt he felt for leaving his calling to education, so he has found a way to intertwine the two. As he puts it, “If I couldn’t be beside them, I had to get behind them.”
At Adam Wilson Realty, the mission is called the 4 E’s: Encourage, Equip and Empower Educators. As a company, they have invested over $200,000 in this effort because Wilson believes that classroom teachers are the linchpin of student success. To that end, he has provided 110% Awards to hundreds of staff members in our schools, $10,000 in professional development scholarships and two $24,000 individual teacher donations.
Beginning in 2016, Wilson began catering meals to the full staffs of local schools, beginning with Central and Karns High School. He saw some of the stress of the jobs melting away as the groups enjoyed the food and fellowship so he continued to add schools the following years. He says his goal for the past two years has been to cater a lunch at every Knox County school and that goal for the future remains unchanged.
Then in 2019, he added the 110% Award which is given to a staff member who goes above and beyond. They give their school 110% so he arrives with a $110 check and a hand-written, personalized note about what makes them so awesome. The award can go to a teacher, custodian, secretary or any staff member.
In 2023, Adam Wilson Realty provided 65 staff people with 110% Awards throughout the district.
In 2021, prompted by the Covid restrictions that had made being an educator even more difficult, Wilson decided to go into as many schools as his group could schedule so that all those educators could be entered into a drawing for $24,000. No strings attached, he simply wanted to do something life-changing. “I knew I could cover their mortgage or rent for one year. If there was any money left over, I wanted to help get them out of debt so that they could finally get ahead in their financial life. Most educators chuckle when I mention this, but if they happen to be debt free when they win, they can spend the money on a trip, clothes, candy or whatever else brings them joy!”
Two of these $24,000 awards have been made. In 2021-22 school year, Hardin Valley Elementary’s 4th grade teacher Lindy McCollum received a check for $24,000.
This year, Wilson’s team surprised Kristi Jeffers, a social studies teacher at Powell High School, with $24,000 during the Teacher Appreciation Week staff luncheon. Kristi plans to use the money to pay off student loans, take a trip to Europe and put the remainder in savings.
Besides the time he donates to provide the awards to staff members and cater the meals in schools, he is now stepping into the role of president of Partners In Education. PIE’s goal is to generate long term partnerships between businesses and schools as well as to fund the unbudgeted items on our school’s need’s list PIE
Adam Wilson believes his mission to be summed up, “The best way I can thank the past citizens for the present I enjoy is to invest in the future so that East Tennessee remains the best place in the country to raise a family and to live a fulfilling life.”
The Volunteer State has certainly gained an exceptional member to its number!
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