Slicing the PIE at Knox County Schools

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Partners in Education (PIE) has a new look.

“We would say it’s evolving,” said Adam Wilson, “We’re adding options (to support schools).”

Adam Wilson

Wilson, a former teacher who now sells real estate, is president of the newly formed Partners in Education Foundation, a nonprofit with its own 15-member governing board. He spoke at the Nov. 16 luncheon at the Crowne Plaza for participants in Principal for a Day.

The new PIE membership program offers multiple membership options at varying donation amounts that give businesses benefits for becoming official partners.

“I am most excited about the immediate and far-reaching impact the Partners in Education membership program will produce,” Wilson said. “PIE exists to make a difference and we designed this program to be the best way we can impact every student at every school in KCS.”

PIE 2.0

PIE has been evolving ever since it was formed.

Scott Bacon is the KCS employee most identified with the program. Now retired, Bacon juggled School Coupon Books, PIE, licensing official school logos and probably 10 more things. Under Bacon’s version, school partners (often large businesses) were identified and usually worked directly with principals to support school projects.

But in an interview with Knox TN Today, Wilson said principals in today’s environment are more focused on student testing and graduation rates, along with evaluating teachers and promoting professional development. Being the school’s PIE coordinator can be handed off to a designee.

“We’ve gathered a needs list from each school and put it online,” Wilson said. “We’ve also listed the school coordinator’s name and email. You might say we’ve made it as easy as PIE (to match needs and donors).”

Even more amazing, the PIE Foundation has zero paid staff. Amanda O’Dell from Knoxville Chamber and other volunteers have gathered the information and will monitor the results.

“I want to make a difference,” Wilson said. Through his company, he has supported teachers across the district with gifts of $110 for giving 110%. He’s visited 29 schools so far this year.

He studied chemistry with a minor in history, graduating from Virginia Tech. After a stint in the U.S. Navy, he and wife Jenna moved to Knoxville. He earned his teacher’s license and a master’s degree in science education from the University of Tennessee.

He taught at both Central and Karns high schools, and names school administrator Danny Trent as his inspiration. He started selling real estate to supplement his income, left education in 2015 and opened Adam Wilson Realty in 2018. He and Jenna have three sons.

Knox County Schools welcomed over 150 guest principals for this year’s Principal for a Day event. The guests were community leaders, elected officials and business professionals who spent the morning engaging with administrators and witnessing first-hand the work being done.

What’s next?

Presumably, Classic PIE will continue with the PIE Foundation membership program as a supplement. In addition, the Knox Education Foundation continues to coordinate donations to benefit KCS. We’ll see how it all plays out.

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


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