New principals for Halls, Powell, Vine

Sandra ClarkGovernment

New principals are coming to Halls and Powell elementary schools and Vine Middle. Superintendent Bob Thomas announced the administrative assignments at the school board workshop May 5.

Mitchell Cox is the new principal of Halls Elementary, effective July 1, replacing Dr. Chris Henderson who was reassigned as principal at Farragut Intermediate. Cox is principal at Indian Springs Elementary in Sullivan County. 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 also worked as assistant principal at Sullivan Central High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from ETSU, a master’s in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University, and an educational leadership license from Union College.

Denise Blefko, new principal at Powell Elementary

Denise Blefko will become principal of Powell Elementary in July. She has been assistant principal at Copper Ridge Elementary since 2015. Blefko joined Knox County Schools in 1978 upon graduating from UT. She was a teacher here for nine years before working 21 years as an educator and administrator in Georgia and Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UT, a master’s in psychological services from Marymount University, a master’s in educational leadership and a certificate of special education leadership from George Mason University. She replaces Reba Lane who retired.

Desiree Jones, new principal at Vine Middle School

Desiree Jones will become principal of Vine Middle School effective July 1. Jones worked l 5 years as a high school teacher and was part of the Leadership Academy in 2012. She has served as assistant principal at Carter and Fulton high schools and as interim principal at Vine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in curriculum and instruction and an educational specialist degree in educational administration, all from the University of Tennessee. She replaces Cindy White, who was assigned as principal at Gibbs Middle School.

Brett Foster was named executive director of child nutrition programs. She is currently an area supervisor in school nutrition, having joined KCS in 2012. She previously worked in food/health services and transportation for Loudon County Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UT and is credentialed as a school nutrition specialist by the School Nutrition Association.

Thomas said 3,845 students walked across the stage at this spring’s graduations. He had a smile for all and a handshake for most. KCS students were offered scholarships worth $148 million, he said. One hundred graduates joined the military and two were appointed to service academies.

Four Knox County teachers are among 50 statewide chosen for the 2017-18 class of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship, sponsored by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). They are:

Amy Cox, third grade language arts teacher at Halls Elementary and 18-year teacher;

Laura Davis, social studies teacher at West High for four years;

Lindsay Davis, math at Austin-East High for 12 years; and

Amanda Pickett, special education teacher at Holston Middle for four years.

Thomas said seven schools have been selected to pilot the TIGER teacher evaluation model: Farragut and Powell high schools, Halls and West Valley middle schools, Mount Olive and Spring Hill elementary schools and Richard Yoakley Transition School.

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