New Heritage Middle School Principal Amber Williams

New Heritage Middle School Principal Amber Williams dances with students and teachers during a Renaissance Fair in May. Williams has worked at HMS since it opened and been assistant principal since 2009.

Blount County Schools will have four new principals for the 2019-20 school year, at Heritage Middle, Eagleton Middle, Carpenters Elementary and Porter Elementary schools.

The HMS administration will be familiar to students and families. Amber Williams is moving from her role as assistant principal for the past decade to become principal, with the retirement of Steve Moser. Jared Smith, previously an assistant principal at HMS with Williams, will return to that role after being principal at Porter Elementary.

Mark Dowlen is moving from assistant principal to principal at Eagleton Middle School, as Summer Russell moves after one year in that role to teaching at the Samuel Everett School of Innovation.

Judy Pearson, former assistant principal at Carpenter Elementary will fill the principal’s spot at Porter Elementary, with Smith’s move back to HMS.

Courtney Whitehead, an assistant principal at Carpenters Middle School, will become principal at Carpenters Elementary. Katrina Gravitte is leaving that position to become the district’s coordinator for Response To Intervention programs.

Williams has been at HMS since it opened in 2000, as an English teacher before becoming an administrator. She’s a 1987 graduate of William Blount High School who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Tennessee Wesleyan College and her master’s and educational specialist degrees from Tennessee Technological University.

BCS first hired her as a site director for the extended school program at Lanier Elementary in 1991, and the following year she became a teacher at Walland Elementary. From 1994-98 she taught in Greene County and then returned to work at Porter before HMS opened.

Williams said she is looking forward to spending more time involved with students and teachers in the classroom as she becomes principal and the district moves to a new coaching model for evaluating teachers.

While many of the HMS programs will remain the same, she’s also planning more celebrations for students and teachers. “We forget to celebrate all the wonderful things going on here,” she said.

Smith was a part-time assistant principal at HMS in 2013-14 and a full-time assistant principal the following year before becoming principal at Porter. He taught for three years in Georgia before becoming a teacher at Heritage High School from 2010-13. His bachelor’s degree is from Mercer University and his master’s degree is from the University of Georgia.

Dowlen taught at HHS for 17 years before becoming the assistant principal at EMS for the past school year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Tennessee and his master’s and educational specialists degrees from Lincoln Memorial University.

Pearson taught agricultural education for 20 years at William Blount, Heritage and Pigeon Forge high schools before teaching seventh-grade science at HMS for four years. She was an assistant principal at HMS during the 2017-18 school year and then became the assistant principal at CES.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech, a master’s from Purdue University and her educational specialist degree from LMU.

Whitehead was a language arts teacher at CMS for 14 years before becoming assistant principal in 2015. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Maryville College, master’s and educational specialist degrees from Tennessee Tech and Doctor of Education Degree from Carson-Newman University.

Gravitte has been principal of CES since 2013, following a 20-year teaching and administrative career in Hamilton County. A Maryville High School graduate, she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT.

Amy Beth earned her degree from West Virginia. She joined The Daily Times in 2016 on the education beat covering Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems.

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