Run for the Panthers to fund incentives for PHS

Sandra ClarkOur Town Teens, Powell

Great things are happening at Powell High School. That’s the message principal Dr. Chad Smith brought Tuesday to the Powell Business & Professional Association.

Powell High has the 2018 teacher of the year for Knox County and a principal in contention for state honors, and it was ranked third of 14 Knox County high schools on the state report card. Let that sink in, and we’ll circle back later.

Smith came to talk about kids.

First, there’s the excitement around Powell’s softball team – the AAA defending state champions. “We lost 10 inches of dirt off the softball field during recent rains,” he said. Replacement dirt was expected to cost over $5,000, but South Knoxville’s loss became Powell’s gain.

Mayor Glenn Jacobs will send dirt from South-Doyle Middle School (hauled to the former South-Young High football field, which was slated to become a BMX track) over to Powell since his decision to cancel construction of the track. Smith said most softball players are back and the team launched the ’19 season by beating Karns High on Monday.

Second, Powell High has brought back a program launched by former principal and later superintendent Allen Morgan. The Renaissance Program rewards students for academic excellence, good attendance and behavior. “Kids are facing more challenges than ever before. We want to create a school where kids want to come every day,” Smith said.

The incentives are varied and range from incentive cards to schoolwide events to helping send students to a national conference in Orlando. “I might take two dozen donuts down the hall and give them to the first class with perfect attendance,” Smith said.

Explaining the Run for the Panthers 5k are Julie Liford, student Abby Mooney and Beth Mooney. Liford and Mooney teach science at Powell High School.

Run for the Panthers: To fund the incentives, Powell High is sponsoring a 5k road race on the Emory Road greenway/sidewalk on Saturday, May 4. The race will finish on the football field with T-shirts and swag to participants from business sponsors.

Coordinators are science teachers Julie Liford and Beth Mooney who can be reached at or or 865-938-2171, ext. 74654 or 74671. April 10 is the deadline for sponsors’ payment and artwork. Register to run here.

Teacher of the Year: Knox County Schools honored nearly 200 teachers during its 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year celebration at the Knoxville Convention Center. The event was sponsored by Lifetouch and Partners in Education.

School-level nominees were chosen by their colleagues, based on the number of faculty at the school. From these nominees, a single countywide winner was selected for elementary, middle and high school.

Powell High had four school-level winners: Beth Mooney, science; Jennifer Doubleday, English; Susan Martin, CTE; and Alice Carson, math. Knox County winners were:

Alice Carson

Alice Carson from Powell High School, who teaches geometry and statistics and has been an educator for more than 30 years. She emphasizes collaboration among her students and has helped implement Focus Review Sessions that enable students to receive tutoring on specific objectives.

Janet Smith from Karns Middle School, an eighth-grade ELA teacher who has never forgotten the importance of empowering individual students, including those who are struggling. During her time at Karns, she has helped create a peer-tutoring program and has led the National Junior Honor Society.

Crystal Dougan from Brickey-McCloud Elementary, a K-5 library media specialist who began a reading incentive program at her school library two years ago. She has seen a significant increase in students who achieve their AR goals and in ELA scores on the TCAP.

Principal of the Year: In introducing Dr. Smith, Clyde Wood said he is slated to be the state’s high school principal of the year. But Smith said an official announcement on that won’t come until May. Wood, CEO of Tennova North, chairs the education committee of the PBPA.

State Report Card: Powell High ranked third of 14 Knox County public high school on statewide criteria, Smith said.

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