Hardin Valley Academy gets new principal

Sandra ClarkKarns/Hardin Valley

Mitchell Cox has been appointed principal of Hardin Valley Academy effective July 2023. Michael Reynolds, a retired principal, closed out the school year after principal Rob Speas was placed on paid leave in early April following an outcry from parents and students.

Mitchell Cox

Complaints came when Speas delayed dismissing students following a gas leak. Knox TN Today linked to a student-written post that no one (to our knowledge) ever refuted.

Another group has formed at #freespeas. And Donna Dillon, a parent of two HVA students, rallied support for Speas with a Change.org petition to reinstate the principal. She has 680 signatures.

A rival group has 320 signatures on a petition called Fire Rob Speas

The community is split and a fresh start is in order, but it would have been nice had Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk released the results of his investigation into Speas’ conduct. Instead, the community got a Friday afternoon post announcing Mitchell Cox and no mention of Speas. And, oops, everybody’s gone until Monday.

Cox joined Knox County Schools in 2017 as principal of Halls Elementary. He moved to Cedar Bluff Elementary as principal in 2019 and currently works as a supervisor of employee relations for Knox County Schools.

His high school experience is further back. He taught seven years at Sullivan North High School before becoming a teacher and administrative assistant at Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee in 2012. He began his career in administration the following year as an assistant principal at Sullivan Central High School and served as principal of Indian Springs Elementary School.

Cox holds a bachelor’s degree in history from East Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University and an educational leadership license from Union College.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *