Local News Articles

School Board Adopts Differentiated Pay Plan for 2017-18

June 11, 2017
Dwayne Page

Ten high performing teachers in the school system will be getting a one time bonus award for coaching and mentoring other teachers under a 2017-18 differentiated pay plan adopted by the Board of Education Thursday night.

Each eligible high performing teacher who agrees to take on this assignment and meets expectations will receive up to $2,500 for a total cost to the system of $25,000 to be paid out as a one time bonus in the spring so as to not affect the teacher’s base salary. Teachers were selected on the basis of their effectiveness scores and will be coaching and mentoring level 1 teachers. The current salary schedule will be maintained with steps for experience and degree. The funding for this plan requires no additional local monies. All bonuses are pending program funding and may not occur annually.

“This is the plan we have had for three or four years and it puts the part time coaches, the academic coaches in to our schools to work with teachers that may need some assistance with classroom management or different areas on their observation. It is just a teacher to teacher mentor program. We have had it in place and I think the principals are really excited to have this in place. They (coaches) are making an impact with the other teachers,” said Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade.

State legislation passed in 2007 and was updated in 2013 which mandates that school districts offer differentiated pay, which can include rewarding teachers differently based on their roles and ability to improve student outcomes. In Tennessee, “differentiated pay” means more than “pay for test scores”—it can include anything from teaching in high-need areas, to taking on new leadership roles or bonuses for increased student performance. Now, every district must decide what differentiated pay looks like for them.

How High will Jennings Go in MLB Draft?

June 10, 2017
Steven Jennings

What will be the magic number for DeKalb County High School pitching prospect Steven Jennings?

The Major League Baseball draft begins Monday (June 12) night and Jennings is projected to go early in the second round (picks 37-75). Players are drafted based on team philosophy and team needs. Financial considerations also have an affect on where a player lands in the draft.

Jennings, signed to play college ball at Ole Miss, is ranked as the 47th overall prospect by mlb.com and 48th overall by Baseball America. Both slots have a “pick value” of over $1.4 million. The 47th pick belongs to the Los Angeles Angels and the 48th pick to the Colorado Rockies.

“His stock has risen so much that he could go as high as the second round,” according to the mlb.com website.

That report went on to say “Jennings didn’t spend much time on the showcase circuit because of his football commitments, so he has been a bit of a revelation. His loose, quick arm generates a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph. His hard slider can hit 85 mph and shows the upside of a plus offering and he also has unveiled a curveball that can be a solid breaking pitch as well. Though he hasn’t had much need for a changeup yet, Jennings shows aptitude for the pitch. He’s athletic and has an easy delivery, which enables him to throw strikes. He’s committed to Mississippi but figures to get drafted early enough to lure him away from the Rebels.”

The Baseball America scouting report says “Jennings’ fastball peaks out currently at 94 mph, and tends to stay around 91 or 92 mph. He throws a changeup with similar movement to his two-seam fastball, that pulls the string to 81. A slideball with nasty movement finishes out his repertoire.”

The report goes on to say “His fastball could gain a tick or two as he matures in his game …Developing a fourth pitch, such as a four-seam fastball would be beneficial to him as he matures as a player.”

The web site lastwordonbaseball.com summarizes the dilemma major league teams face when analyzing the draft prospects.

“High school pitchers are a crap shoot in the draft,” the website states. “Young arms that dominate high schools may not translate to the majors. A three-pitch right-hander might be a good gamble in the top 50 picks, and with the right offer, Steven Jennings might be worth the risk.”

High School phenom Hunter Greene in California and college prospects Brendan McKay of Louisville and Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt are projected to be among the first players picked Monday night.

Pody announces campaign for State Senate

June 9, 2017
Mark Pody

The lawmaker who represents part of DeKalb County in the Tennessee House announced today (Friday) he will be a candidate for the 17th State Senate seat.

Lebanon businessman and current House 46th state representative Mark Pody, a Republican, made the announcement official in a prepared release to the area media.

Looking at the future of Middle Tennessee, Pody said he is focused on two priorities.

“The first is conservative fiscal policies,” he said. “We need to limit the size and scope of government. Not every good idea should be a government idea. Many good ideas are best done by individuals, church and non-profits, not by state government.”

The second priority he listed is bringing high paying quality jobs to the district.

He said he “feels the best way to gain these high-paying jobs is to create an environment in the state where businesses want to relocate and expand. This is done by having a highly educated workforce, common sense regulations, and favorable tax policies for incoming businesses.”

The senate seat is currently held by Mt. Juliet Republican Mae Beavers, who has announced her candidacy for governor. Pody currently represents portions of DeKalb and Wilson and all of Cannon County in the state house. The 17th senate district includes Wilson, Cannon, DeKalb, Clay, Smith and Macon counties.

Pody is married to his high school sweetheart, Barbara and they recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. They have two adult children, Kristina and Amy.

Professional Personnel Hired for Next School Year

June 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has signed contracts with the Professional Personnel for the 2017-18 school year.

Cripps presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-
Angie Anderson, Charlotte Blaylock, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kevin Burchfield, Cody Burton, Thomas Cagle, Britney Campbell, Amee Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Gary Caplinger, Mary Anne Carpenter, Karen Clark, Andrew Cook, Lisa Craig, Deborah DePriest, Andrew Dixon, Brittany Dixon, Donna Emmons, Danny Fish, Lacey Foutch, Amanda Fuller, David Gash, Josh Gulley, Sara Halliburton, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, William Jarvis, William Jennings, Adam Kefauver, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Tracy Luna, Lynus Martin, Rebecca Miller, Lori Myrick, Sarah Noe, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Nallely Ortega-Prater, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, Leslie Parsley, John Pryor, Jane Rice, Marilyn Roberts, Melissa Ruch, Daniel Seber, Steve Trapp, Stephanie Turner, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Shea Wiegele, Seth Willoughby, and Sara Young.

Northside Elementary School-
Marla Beshearse, Mollie Bratten, Linda Bush, Shanea Cantrell, Megan Carroll, Lori Chew, Allison Collier, Trent Colwell, Michael Crockett, Alisha Day, Tabitha Farmer, Lindsay Floyd, Jerry Foster, Carrie Gottlied, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Dalton Hawkins, Jennifer Herndon, Lorie Isabell, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Karen Knowles, Kristy Lasser, Travis Little, Lisa Mabe, Jama Martin, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Tyler McKinney, Katie Merriman, Elizabeth Miller, Diana Moon, Melissa Odom, Josh Odom, Beth Pafford, Deb Poteete, Amy Raymond, Kristen Rowland, Melissa Roysdon, Carol Sampley, Tammy Sims, Jessica Styer, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vandagriff, Kristen Van Vranken, Ginger Wenger, Jared West, and Sandy Willingham.

DeKalb West School-
Joey Agee, Jessica Antoniak, Jenny Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Rachel Desimone, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Sabrina Farler, Karen France, Cathleen Humphrey, Nadina Martel, Jennifer Martin, Shelia McMillen, Amanda Mullinax, Tammy Payne, Lori Pryor, Cynthia Pulley, Kelly Pyburn, Jennifer Shores, Katie Stutts, Teresa Sullivan, Ashlee Thomason, Shelia Vanatta, Natasha Vaughn, Susan West, Cynthia Wilson, Vicki Wilson, and Amy Young.

Smithville Elementary School-
Misty Agee, Ashley Barnes, Renee Beaty, Lindsey Bouldin, Whitney Brelje, Beth Cantrell, Tiffany Cowart, Edward Dillard, Melba Farmer, Amy Fox, Tina Gash, Sydney Gremmels/Johnson, Katie Haggard, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Tanya Howard, Kelly Huling, Ana Jarvis, Amanda Johnson, Niki Johnson, Magen Jones, Jennifer Judkins, Leah Magness, Kristen Malone, Laura Martinez, Adrienne McCormick, LeVaughnda Midgett, Leslie Moore, Lisa Neal, Macy Nokes, Allison O'Conner, Joy Parker, Layra Parker, Anita Puckett, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Bethany Rigsby, Heather Shehane, Melissa Sliger, Emily Summers, Carol Tallent, Allison Taylor, Janet Trapp, Julie Vincent, Tiffany Wheatley, Kristy Williams, Janet Woodward, Christie Young, Crystal Young, and Sherian Zamora.

DeKalb Middle School-
January Agee, Josh Agee, Suzette Barnes, Kelly Birmingham, Galen Brown, Nancy Cowan, Amanda Dakas, Tena Davidson, Jenny Elrod, Holly Espinosa, Jason Farley, Amy Fletcher, Suzanne Gash, Lesa Hayes, Lori Hendrix, Randy Jennings, Angela Johnson, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Natalie Kintz, Martha Melching, Debra Moore, Justin Nokes, Courtney O’Conner, Emily Phillips, Justin Poteete, Mary Ann Puckett, Cody Randolph, Candice Scrabo, Penny Smitty, Tonya Sullivan, Laurie Sweeney, Jennifer Sykes, Kitty Thomas, Cheryl Vance, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, and Kathryn Wisinger.

Central Office Staff-
Gina Arnold, Dr. Kathy Bryant, Michelle Burklow, Dr. Danielle Collins, Elise Driver, Amy Lattimore, Joey Reeder, and Lori Rogers.

Meanwhile, in his monthly report on personnel, Cripps updated the board on transfers and resignations/retirements

Kathy Bryant, from DCHS Principal to CO Supervisor of Instruction 6-12

Bill Fowler, Retirement
Linda Fowler, Retirement
Melissa Hicks, Resignation (Cook)
Darnette Hibdon, Resignation (Cook)
Vicki Sandlin, Resignation (Cook)
Jimmy Stringer, Resignation
Paula Pinegar, Retirement

In other business, the Board of Education approved the following teachers for tenure:

Lindsey Bouldin, Jennifer Herndon, Todd Cantrell, Diana Ortega-Prater, Gary Caplinger, and Christie Young.

According to Director Cripps, these teachers have successfully completed the probationary period of five years and received evaluations demonstrating an overall performance effectiveness level of above or significantly above expectations as required for tenure. "It is my recommendation that these teachers be granted tenure," he said.

Director of Schools Names Support Staff for 2017-18

June 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Patrick Cripps

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has employed the support staff for the 2017-2018 school year.

The personnel report was submitted to the Board of Education during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:

Rena Adcock, Vicky Atnip, Wanda Bradford, Kathy Chapman, Debora Cunningham, Debbie Eaton, Terry Emberton, Regina Estes, Beverly Ferrell, Betty Fisk, Thomas Maney, Charles Martin, Marsha Martin, Paulette McDonald, Rhonda Merriman, Tere Mooneyham, Sara Parker, Denise Rutland (part time), Carol Swope, Norman Underhill, Danny VanDyne, Tiffanie VanWinkle, Jamie Wright, and Debbie Young.

DeKalb Middle School:
Sue Arnold, Suzanne Caldwell, Martha Cantrell, Anita Conley, Tammy Ferrell, Trena Ferrell, Fay Gilreath, Doris Graham, Jeremy Haas, Ester Holder, Tammy Maynard, Josh Melton, Angie Moore, Linda Moser, Lisa Norton, David Parker, Tina Pedigo, Mary Sanders, Brad Trapp, and Vicky Walker.

Smithville Elementary School:
Janis Barnes, Brenda Beth Cantrell, Cindi Dias, Darlene Evans, Jennifer Gay, Betty Griffith, Connie Haggard, Margie Hale, Kayla Hale, Milinda League, Sara Lomas, Talitha Looney, Pat Milam, Eden Nokes, Holly Owens, James Owens, Cody Pack, Rebecca Parker, Rhonda Pelham, Amelia Phillips, Lori Poss, Amelia Randolph, Stephanie Reeder, Brenda Rigney, Jennifer Roller, Heather Soto, Beverly Starnes, Marie Storie, Mary-Margaret Tripp, Tammy Tyler, Rebecca Waggoner, and Celia Whaley.

Northside Elementary:
Pam Baines, Fay Baker, Evril Cubbins, Debra Dunaway, Tena Edwards, Terrie Ford, Robbie Joan Frazier, Glenda Gassaway, Gary Good, Phyllis Hallum, Ginda Kilgore, LaTonya Kleparek, Melinda Lattimore, Sunshine Martin, Thelma Martin, Lynn Pichey, Jo Dean Redmon, Ruby Thomason, JoAnn Vanatta, Kim Violet, Deneene Willingham, and Rita Young.

DeKalb West School:
Sean Antoniak, Holly Bain, Brenda Bandy, Todd Davis, Christy Dies, Donna Driver, Dorothy Duggin, Suzanne Dunn, Pauline Frazier (part time), Stephanie Fuson, Donna Hale, Lisa Hale, Kathy Malone, Nancy Mulloy, Tina Paschal, Rhonda Patrick, Elizabeth Redmon, Tonya Roberts, Kristi Sullivan, and Rena Willoughby.

County Wide Positions:
Chandra Adcock, Chanson Boman, W.C. Braswell, Cindy Childers, Christie Colwell, Shea Colwell, Bettye June Dodd, Christie Driver, Wade Ferrell, Greg Frasier, LeAnne Frasier, Yvonne Hale, Rebecca Hawkins, Terry Hicks, Earl Jared, Freda Johnson, Rita Johnson,Tammy Judkins, Jenean Lawson, Debbie London, Deborah Magness, Shirley Mathis, April Odom, Shirley Ours, Natasha Pedigo, Danny Pirtle, Jr., Melissa Pirtle, Kayla Randolph, Jo Dean Redmon, Roger Sharp, Kimberly Turner, Jamie Vickers, Betsye Walker, Judy Wiggins, Joannie Williams, and Aaron Young.

Michael Agee, Zack Adams, Danny Bond, Josh Brown, Dwayne Cantrell, Shannon Cantrell, Justin Coats, Shara Cowan, Cathy Driver, Debbie Eaton, Ricky Edwards, Marshall Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Lynn Griffith, Terry Hall, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Kathy Jacobs, Danny Jenkins, Dwight Knowles, Frances Lawson, Daniel Lawson, Donnie Lewis, Roy Merriman, Ronald Merriman, Cason Oakley, Linda Gail Pack, Jimmy Poss, Ashley Redmon, Myron Rhody, Jimmy Sprague, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, Bobby Taylor, Juanita Thomas, B.J. Thomason, Cindy Washer, Danny Washer, Shawn Washer, and Angela Wilkerson.

Dr. Kathy Bryant Steps Down as DCHS Principal, Accepts New Position in School System

June 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Dr. Kathy Bryant with Director of Schools Patrick Cripps

Two years after being named Principal at DCHS, Dr. Kathy Bryant is transferring to another position in the school system.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has announced that Dr. Bryant will be taking over from Lisa Cripps as Supervisor of Instruction for grades 6-12. She will be working out of the central office. Lisa Cripps recently announced her retirement.

Director Cripps has not yet named a new Principal for DCHS but that announcement is expected soon.

Dr. Bryant, who served as assistant principal at DCHS for three years before succeeding Patrick Cripps as principal in 2015, told WJLE Thursday that while she enjoyed being principal, the supervisor position is one she has always had her heart set on.

“ I loved the experience of being the high school principal. It was by far the most challenging that I have ever done in my career but I also learned the most. I absolutely loved the high school students and I loved working with the teachers there. We had a great work family. But being Supervisor of Instruction has been my lifelong goal. Its something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to be more involved at the district level. I have a special interest in elementary school. That’s where I started. I have also been at the middle school and at the high school. I can bring those experiences to all those grades. I will still be working with the high school and the middle school as well as grades 6 to 8 at DeKalb West. I am looking forward to this new venture. It’s going to be a learning curve for me again but I am up for the challenge,” Dr. Bryant said.

"I am excited about her taking this position. Dr. Bryant is very intelligent. She is progressive thinking. She will bring a lot to the office. Right now she is having to juggle two different positions. It will make it easier on her once we name a principal at the high school," Director Cripps told WJLE.

After earning her B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Middle Tennessee State University in 1996, Bryant received a Masters Degree in Instructional Leadership at Tennessee Tech in 2008 and then an Ed.S. degree in Instructional Leadership at Tennessee Tech in 2010. She recently earned her Doctorate Degree of Education in Instructional Leadership from East Tennessee State University.

“I defended my dissertation in March after working on it for eighteen months and I graduated in May. I did this completely on –line although there were times I had to go to Johnson City to defend my proposal but most everything was on-line. All my classes. I even did Saturday classes sometimes on-line and worked a lot at night,” said Dr. Bryant.

Dr. Bryant began her teaching career in 1996 at Coffee County's Hillsboro Elementary School and at North Coffee Elementary School. "My first job was in Coffee County. I taught at two different schools. I taught third grade and fifth grade Title I Reading and Math. My days were split. I would travel at lunch to a different school. My second year I was also at Coffee County and I taught fourth grade permanently at one of the schools where I was teaching," she said.

Dr. Bryant then located to Memphis where she taught at Brookmead Elementary School before becoming director of the Sylvan Learning Center in Memphis. "I moved to Memphis. I met my husband. He was from Memphis. I taught half a year at Brookmead Elementary and then I was asked to be the Director of Sylvan Learning Center so I took that position. Then I came back home in 1999. I wanted to start a family. I taught fifth grade and then I moved to fourth grade at Northside Elementary School before becoming Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School in 2011," said Dr. Bryant.

A year later, she went to DCHS to become an Assistant Principal along with Assistant Principal David Gash and Principal Patrick Cripps.

"I come from a family of educators. My grandmother was a teacher. My great grandmother was a teacher. Of course my dad (Aubrey Turner, Jr.) was an educator. He was Director of Schools here for sixteen years," she said.

Dr. Bryant and her husband Neal are the parents of three sons.

Aldermen Award Bid for Removal of Home

June 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
Aldermen Award Bid for Removal of Home

The Smithville aldermen Monday night awarded a bid for the removal of a vacant two story brick house at 929 Allen’s Chapel Road near the airport which has been declared by the city as surplus property.

The city recently had to purchase the house for demolition and the trees around it will have to be removed because of FAA regulations prohibiting obstructions within the airport’s glide zone. The home was purchased using TDOT Aeronautics grant funds. The city’s local grant match was 5%. Two bids were received for removal of the house including $1,100 from Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Morgan of Hillsboro and $523 from Chad Hale of Smithville. The bid was awarded to the Morgan’s. The specs call for the removal of the house and three trees around it, filling in the basement, and putting the property back in mowing condition.

TDOT Awards Bid for Construction Repairs to College Street Bridge

June 8, 2017
Dwayne Page
TDOT Awards Bid for Construction Repairs of College Street Bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded the contract for the construction repairs of the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street in Smithville.

TDOT has accepted the bid of Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. of Livingston to do the work for $222,894.68.

“The project to repair the bridge on College Street was awarded this time. There has not been a pre-construction conference held on the project yet, so work has not started. It should be soon," Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer told WJLE Thursday.

The project is scheduled to be completed by October 31, 2017.

TDOT let bids for the project Friday, May 12 and Mid-State was the only bidder. In the February 10 letting, Mid-State bid $238,600.58 but there were no other bids and TDOT rejected it as too high.

The bridge has been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck hit it causing major damage.

New City Garbage Truck Arrives

June 7, 2017
Dwayne Page
City of Smithville’s new automated side loader garbage truck arrived Wednesday
New automated side loader picks up garbage cart can

The City of Smithville’s new automated side loader garbage truck arrived today (Wednesday) and it will soon change the way trash is collected.

Last December, the aldermen voted to purchase the garbage truck, a 24 cubic yard tandem axle Peterbilt 348, from Municipal Equipment, Inc. of Knoxville for $192,564. The city also bought 2,500 curbside trash cart containers from Municipal Equipment, Inc. for $120,500. The total cost to the city for the truck and cart containers is $313,064.

Although the new truck will be put in use on a trial basis right away in certain areas, the new garbage collection system won’t be fully implemented until the 2500 curbside trash containers are distributed to households and businesses throughout the city. The aldermen will also have to adopt a new ordinance establishing regulations and procedures for residents and businesses to follow. Only one garbage cart can will be provided by the city per home or business. If another cart is needed or desired, residents and business owners may purchase one. Only those cart cans issued by the city may be used for garbage collection. The city will not pick up garbage in any other type of can.

Unlike the city's current garbage trucks, this new one will be manned only by the driver and equipped with an automated side loader for picking up curbside residential household garbage. The side loader can extend up to 12 feet in grabbing a garbage can and lifting it up for disposal into the truck.

For homes on narrow streets, the city plans to retrofit two of its existing garbage trucks with rear loaders. Under this system, operators will place the trash cans at the rear of the trucks and the loaders will lift the cans and dump the garbage into the trucks.

Residents and business owners will be provided written copies of the following regulations:

*Customers will be issued only one cart can. Another is available for purchase from the solid waste Department. Residential households who regularly exceed ninety six (96) gallons of garbage a week may obtain an additional container for a one-time user fee of $100 with a 50% refund should the additional container be returned to the City of Smithville in proper condition. When returned to the city the container is not to be painted, abused, mutilated, altered or modified in any manner.

*Residents are required to use approved trash containers supplied by the City of Smithville.

*Only refuse in the container shall be collected. Additional refuse left on the ground will not be picked up.

*Carts should be in place by 7:00 a.m. or the night before your pickup day. Carts must be removed the same evening as your pickup day. Your pickup day will remain the same for a few months, but due to the new automated method of pickup your pickup day is subject to change. The new method is much faster and allows the city to serve more customers in one day. You will be notified if your pickup changes.

*All items should be bagged and securely tied inside the cart. The lid on the cart must be closed flat.

*The container shall be placed in such a manner as not to interfere with overhead power lines or tree branches, parked cars, vehicular traffic, or in any other way that would constitute a public hazard or nuisance. Containers are to be at least four feet from any tree, pole, mailbox, fire hydrant, etc. and at least ten (10) feet away from any cars parked in the street.

*Do not place hot or warm ashes, batteries, paints, solvents, appliances, air conditioners, acid, rubber tires, pesticides, insecticides, metal pipes, plastic pipes, plumbing fixtures, building materials such as scrap lumber, plaster, roofing, concrete, carpet, brick, sand, dust or other flammable liquids in the cart. Also do not put Hazardous materials like chemicals, used oil or medical waste in the cart. Items of question to be put in the cart, please call. Cameras are mounted on the truck to assist the driver in detecting items that could cause damage to the truck. Anyone found placing such items that cause damage to the truck will be held liable for the damage and responsible for all expenses.

*Notify the Solid Waste Department if your cart is broken, damaged or stolen. Call 615-597-6318.

*If for any reason city staff incur difficulty dumping your container they are equipped with a notification form and they have been instructed to attach the form to the container that has posed the difficulty. This is just to let you, the user, know how to enable the city to service you quickly and efficiently. Sometimes even the smallest detail can make the biggest difference.

*Any resident moving to another location within the city limits, or out of the city limits, shall be responsible for notifying the public works department. The roll out container shall remain at the original assigned location. Additional containers shall also remain at the original assigned location unless the resident is moving to another location inside the city limits or may be returned to the city limits or may be returned to the city for a 50% refund of the $100 fee assessed for the additional container.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital and Family Medical Center Create Partnership; Physicians Provide Hospitalist Services at the Hospital

June 6, 2017
Dwayne Page
Andy Wachtel

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital and the physicians of the Family Medical Center practice have joined together in welcoming back five physicians from the Smithville practice to begin providing hospitalist services at the local hospital . The hospitalists, Dr. Kevin Rhody; Dr. Jack Rhody; Dr. Steven Cooper; Dr. Doug Hooper; and Dr. William Sherwood, in addition to making regular rounds to see patients, will provide coverage at Saint Thomas DeKalb 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

“We’re excited to work with Family Medical Center physicians to provide high quality hospitalist care to our community,” said Andy Wachtel, Chief Executive Officer, President and CEO at Saint Thomas Stones River, Saint Thomas Highlands and Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospitals. “These physicians are longtime members of our community and of our medical staff. This new relationship will further strengthen those ties between our two organizations, and our friends and family in the community will be cared for by physicians they may likely know already.” Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

Prior to this change, out of town medical staff served as hospitalists at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital but many in the community didn't embrace it and the result was declining census numbers and more patient transfers to other facilities creating a concern about the future of the hospital.


In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates. Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $78 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.sthealth.com.


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