New principal, new position: Culture, anyone?

Sandra ClarkOur Town Kids

Michelle Clayton has been appointed principal of Richard Yoakley School effective July 2019. She replaces Seth Smith, who was named principal at Fulton High School.


Clayton joined Knox County Schools in 2007 as a teacher at Richard Yoakley. She also has served as an administrator and principal in private residential treatment institutions and at the Department of Child Services juvenile correctional facility. She returned to Knox County Schools in 2016 as an administrative assistant at West High School. She was placed at Central High School as an assistant principal and is currently an assistant principal at Austin-East High School.

Clayton holds bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and history from the University of South Alabama, as well as a master’s degree in educational administration and an educational specialist degree in educational leadership, both from the University of Tennessee.

Janice Cook has been appointed director of school culture effective July 2019. She joined Knox County Schools in 1997 as a district-wide intervention consultant.

Cook previously held various positions at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Peninsula Hospital. She began her career in school administration in 2008 when she was appointed principal of Knoxville Adaptive Education Center. In 2016, she was named principal of Paul Kelley Volunteer Academy, where she currently serves.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Scotland and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.

As posted, this position will include development of “a written plan to make sustainable annual progress in school and district accountability measures – chronic absenteeism, disparities in suspension, etc.”

Full job description is here.

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