Blount County Schools started the 2022-23 school year this week with 107 new teachers and 10 new administrators.
With David Murrell leaving his previous position as assistant director director of operations to become director, Courtney Lowe-Whitehead has been named human resources supervisor.
Whitehead had been at Carpenters Elementary School since 2001, the first 14 years as an English teacher. She became assistant principal in 2015 and principal in 2019. She also has been an adjunct professor at Lincoln Memorial University since 2016.
A 2000 graduate of Maryville College with a bachelor’s degree in child development, she earned a master’s and an educational specialist degree from Tennessee Tech University, in 2002 and 2004. She completed a doctorate in administrative leadership in 2016 from Carson-Newman University.
Joining Whitehead at the Central Office is Jon Young, serving as instructional supervisor. Young has worked at three of the four BCS middle schools, serving as principal at two.
He began his career teaching social studies at Heritage Middle School, 2004-10, then moved to Eagleton Middle School as a teacher for one year. He served as EMS assistant principal 2011-14, followed by becoming assistant principal at CMS for a year and then principal from 2015-22.
Young is a 2004 MC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history. His master’s and Ed.S. in administration and supervision came from LMU, in 2007 and 2010.
BCS has a new principal or assistant principal at six schools.
Carpenters ripple effect
Derrick Crabtree has stepped into the principal’s role at CES, after serving as assistant principal there since 2019. Crabtree also was the BCS K-5 virtual learning coordinator during the 2020-21 school year. He began his career as a U.S. history teacher at Heritage Middle School, from 2010-19.
Crabtree earned a bachelor’s in secondary education from Tennessee Tech in 2010, followed by a master’s and Ed.S. in instructional leadership from LMU, in 2016 and 2018. His parents and his wife are BCS educators.
Taking the assistant principal’s position at CES is Jared Walker, who had been an assistant principal at Eagleton College and Career Academy since 2019.
Walker began his career as a social studies teacher at William Blount High School, 2012-19, and he was a virtual teacher for the Samuel Everett School of Innovation, 2018-21.
Walker earned a bachelor’s in history with minors in education and political science from the University of Tennessee in 2011 and stayed there to earn a master’s in teacher education in 2012. He holds two Ed.S. degrees, one in instructional leadership from LMU in 2018 and one in educational leadership from UT in 2020.
Jack Evans is the new assistant principal and athletic director at ECCA, having been a Response To Intervention math teacher there since 2020. Before coming to BCS, he had been a principal at Greeneville Middle School, and Evans had been a teacher, assistant principal and principal at middle and high schools in North Carolina.
Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1987 from Appalachian State University, followed by a master’s in secondary math education from Western Carolina University in 1993. His Master of School Administration degree in leadership and educational development also came from Western Carolina, in 1995.
Succeeding Young at CMS is Jordan Ridenour, who has been assistant principal at the school since 2019. Ridenour started his career with a year in Knox County Schools before joining BCS as a technology teacher at CMS in 2013, followed by being a CMS special education teacher and English teacher before becoming assistant principal.
Ridenour earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in education, followed by a master’s in teacher education in 2012, both at UT. He earned and Ed.S. in instructional leadership from LMU in 2016. His wife is a former BCS elementary teacher.
Molly Lyon is the new CMS assistant principal, after having been a band director and testing coordinator there since 2016. She taught band, choir and general music in Missouri and Pigeon Forge before joining BCS.
Lyon earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Louisiana State University in 2013, followed by a master’s from UT in educational administration in 2020.
Walland, MBE, WB
Jennifer Tipton, a third generation BCS educator, is the new principal at Walland Elementary. She taught second and third grade and held other positions at CES from 2006-21, then became assistant principal of Mary Blount Elementary School last year.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Middle Tennessee State University in 2005 and a master’s in educational leadership from Austin Peay State University last year.
The new assistant principal at Mary Blount is Chris Merritt, who for the past decade has been an assistant principal at William Blount High School. He started his career as a math teacher at the high school, from 2001-12.
Merritt’s 2000 bachelor’s degree in history from UT includes minors in mathematics, geography and secondary education. He earned a master’s in education from UT the following year and an Ed.S. from LMU in administration and supervision in 2004.
Michelle Harris, a science teacher at William Blount for two decades, is the new assistant principal. Before coming to BCS she also taught in North Carolina.
Harris is a 1993 Maryville College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education. She earned a master’s in instructional leadership in 2022 from Tennessee State University.
While BCS filled all of its teaching positions, Whitehead the The Daily Times in an email, “We are almost always seeking great people for substitutes, food service, custodial, and various other classified positions.”