Four of five assistant superintendents named

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders, Our Town Youth

Dr. Jon Rysewyk has named four of his five assistant superintendents. Here’s the short version:

Dr. Keith Wilson, assistant superintendent of academics with oversight of learning and literacy, academic supports, college and career readiness and district Regions 1-4. Wilson currently is KCS director of Career and Technical Education.

Jason Myers, assistant superintendent of student success, will oversee functions including English language learning, health services, school culture, special education and Region 5. Myers is currently the district’s executive director of student supports.

Dr. Garfield Adams, assistant superintendent of operations, will oversee security, transportation and maintenance. Adams previously worked for KCS and now is executive principal of Oak Ridge High School.

Dr. Liz Norton, assistant superintendent of strategy, will oversee communications; research, evaluation and assessment (REA); and ESSER programming. Norton currently is senior director of academic support for the Tennessee Department of Education’s Centers of Regional Excellence (CORE).

Adrian Rucker

A fifth “key leader” is Adrian Rucker, who will serve as senior advisor of innovation. His duties will include executing special projects on behalf of the superintendent; providing guidance and analysis on strategy issues; and making recommendations on operational documents and policies. Rucker currently is director of human resources operations.

Dr. Rysewyk’s vision is becoming clear. He likes folks whose names are preceded by Doctor. He checked the diversity boxes on gender and race. And he is not bound by friendships or tradition.


Dr. Keith Wilson joined Knox County Schools in 2001 as a science teacher at Northwest Middle School and later taught at Holston Middle School. He was named assistant principal at Bearden Middle School in 2009. He was Teacher Advanced Program (TAP) director for five years before working as the director of professional learning. In 2017, he was appointed director of Career and Technical Education, a position that he currently holds. His doctorate is from Carson-Newman University.

His key subordinates are:

Shannon Jackson, executive director of college and career. She was a teacher intern in English and Russian at Farragut High and taught English at West High. She was named supervisor of English Language Arts for grades 6-12 in 2012 and later executive director of teaching and learning, a position that she currently holds.

Julie Thompson, former principal at Carter Elementary School, who now serves as executive director of elementary education. She will now be executive director of academic supports.

Not yet appointed are: executive director of learning and literacy and directors of Regions 1-4.


Jason Myers joined KCS in 2008 as a teaching assistant at Fulton High School. His career includes special ed teacher, assistant principal at West High, principal of Knoxville Adaptive Education Center, and principal of Bearden High School for one year.

His key assistants are:

Janice Cook, director of school culture, the job she holds now after serving as principal of Paul Kelley Volunteer Academy and K.A.E.C.

And as-yet unhired directors of student supports, special education and region District 5.


Dr. Garfield Adams is assistant superintendent of operations. He joined KCS in 2001 as a teacher at Central High School and later taught at Oak Ridge H.S., was assistant principal at South-Doyle H.S., and has been executive principal at Oak Ridge H.S. since 2020. His doctorate is from LMU.

His key subordinates are:

Freddie Cox, chief technology officer – the job he currently holds.

Ryan Dillingham, director of transportation and enrollment. He now is director of transportation.

Brett Foster, executive director of child nutrition, a job she has held since 2017. She joined KCS in 2012 after having worked in Loudon County.

Jason Periard, chief of security, a job he’s held since 2021. Periard is a 20-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran who retired with the rank of master sergeant. He was a special agent for NCIS.

Doug Shover, director of facilities and construction, a job he’s held since 2021. He worked as an architect in Ohio for six years and for The Lewis Group Architects in Knoxville for 20 years.

Chris Towe, director of maintenance and operations, a job he’s held since 2017.


Dr. Liz Norton is assistant superintendent of strategy. She joined KCS in 2004 and has worked as a reading interventionist and TAP executive master teacher. In 2016, she joined the state Department of Education. Her doctorate is from UT.

Her team leaders currently work for KCS:

Carly Harrington, chief of communications, had an 18-year career in print media.

Renee Kelly is senior advisor of ESSER. She joined KCS in 1999 as a teacher at Bearden Middle School and later worked for Project GRAD. She has been an assistant principal at Spring Hill Elementary and Bearden Middle. She was principal at West Valley Middle before becoming dean of scholars and then school director at Emerald Academy, a public charter school. In 2019, she was named KCS chief of staff, a position she currently holds.

Steve Rudder is director of research, evaluation and assessment, a job he’s held since 2018. He joined KCS in 2001 as a math teacher.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.


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