Local News Articles

Community Gathers to Fight Cancer

June 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cancer Survivors Taking First Lap at Greenbrook Park

DeKalb Countians by the hundreds filled Greenbrook Park Friday evening to show their love and support for cancer survivors and to join the fight against the disease during the 15th annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

More than $35,000 had already been raised prior to the event.

Cancer survivors in attendance joined in taking Relay's opening lap around the walking trail, after an opening ceremony with included prayers, a moving testimonial from cancer survivors, and a song in their honor by Shelley Cross and Bonnie Rigsby, who are also cancer survivors.

After dark, Relay again paid tribute to survivors and those lost to cancer in a luminaria ceremony, with lighted luminaria bags lining the walking track in the park.

Several church groups, civic clubs, businesses, and service organizations helped raise money through sales of food, games for kids, and other fun filled activities.

The program also featured lots of entertainment, most of it singing, from the park's pavilion. Four guys even dressed up as women to participate in a male beauty contest where the winner is determined by having raised the most money during the evening. Todd Stoglin of Federal Mogul generated the most money at $358. Tony Nabors, also of Federal Mogul raised $352. Zach Thompson and Jordan Gash, both of the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Youth Group, received $160, and $100 in donations respectively.

Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Smithville Police Department Pays Tribute to Sergeant Brad C. Tatrow

June 8, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Department Pays Tribute to Sergeant Brad C. Tatrow

Sergeant Brad C. Tatrow of the Smithville Police Department has been presented a certificate of achievement in recognition of five years of dedicated service

Sergeant Tatrow received the award from Chief Randy Caplinger on Thursday.

Others on hand for the observance were Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Alderman/Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs.

Sergeant Tatrow began his career with the police department as a patrol officer. He served as the department's K-9 handler for three years and was then promoted to sergeant. He currently serves as a night shift supervisor. He has received the department's commendations for his numerous narcotics arrests.

Chief Caplinger said the department plans to make it a practice of honoring other members of the department for specific years of service.

(Pictured left to right: Alderman/Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs, Police Chief Randy Caplinger, Sergeant Brad C. Tatrow, and Mayor Taft Hendrixson)

Aldermen May Revisit Lifeguards Issue at City Swimming Pool

June 8, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
One of the Lifeguards on Duty Friday at City Pool

How many lifeguards are needed at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool?

City aldermen thought they settled the issue last month, but may revisit it again at the next meeting on Monday, June 18.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said state regulations show that for a public swimming pool the size of Smithville's, only a maximum of three lifeguards are needed on duty, any time the pool is open for public use.

During the May 21 city council meeting, the aldermen voted 3 to 0 to set the pay of the lifeguards at minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for this season and to fund a maximum of three lifeguards at fifty eight hours per week for thirteen weeks. Alderman Steve White "passed" citing a conflict since his daughter works as a lifeguard at the pool and Alderman Gayla Hendrix was absent. Mayor Hendrixson said the cost would be about $20,000 for lifeguards this season, a little more than last year.

But during Monday night's meeting, June 4, Alderman White said he misunderstood the action of the council, apparently thinking that three lifeguards would be the minimum, not the maximum, that the city could have working during pool operation. "I kinda had a misunderstanding," said White. "It says (in the minutes of the meeting) the pay would be $7.25 and having a maximum of three lifeguards. I don't feel like that three is no where near enough to cover that pool. I took it as minimum," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson said his recommendation was based on state regulations. " I've got the state regulations here. On our size pool, which we have about 7,800 square feet in our pool. State regulations say we need three lifeguards for that size pool. If you've got one to twenty five swimmers, it says you need one (lifeguard). If you've got twenty six to fifty swimmers, it says you need two. And over 51, it says you need three. It's a Type-A pool and that's where its open to the public and we have about 7,800 square feet in that pool. But its whatever you (aldermen) want to do," he said.

(CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO READ TENNESSEE REGULATIONS ON PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS)

http://www.state.tn.us/sos/rules/1200/1200-23/1200-23-05.pdf

"It also goes on to say that lifeguards shall observe from the lifeguard chair, except during instructional activities or during life saving or emergency type situations involving swimmers," said Mayor Hendrixson. " We've got three chairs. If you have extra lifeguards and they are not in a chair, I don't know what you would do there if something happened," he said.

"McMinnville has a 20,000 square foot pool and they have seven, and sometimes eight lifeguards," added Mayor Hendrixson.

"That's the way I understood it," said Alderman Shawn Jacobs. "That's all that's required (three lifeguards maximum) for a pool of our size," he said.

Still, Alderman White was not persuaded. " That's way too few lifeguards to watch that big of an area. You've got two diving boards. You've got the deep area. You've got the slides which is another issue. I think they have always had five plus (lifeguards) in the year's past. I just think that would be a liability on the city. That's my opinion," said Alderman White.

"If we're meeting the state regs I don't see how it could be a liability," said Alderman Jacobs. " I certainly don't want to put any swimmers at risk. I am not saying that. I certainly don't want to put anybody at risk or cause a hazard. Should we compromise and say a maximum of four," asked Jacobs?

City Attorney Vester Parsley said meeting the state requirements (maximum of three lifeguards) is sufficient." As long as we're meeting the state regulations, you could always be sued for anything. You could still get sued with ten lifeguards over there. Liability is always going to be there. If we meet state regulations then that's all that's required," said Parsley.

In 2010, three lifeguards were on duty at the pool under a previous tenant but Tony Poss, the tenant now, said in May, 2011 during a city council meeting that three is not enough. At that time, he asked for the city to fund at least four lifeguards at the pool. "In my opinion we can't operate this pool with three lifeguards. We can but it is not safe. We need a minimum of four," said Poss. State health department officials also recommend more than three lifeguards, according to Poss.

But can the city legally place a cap on the number of lifeguards Poss feels like he needs? According to Poss' lease, "The tenant (Poss) shall be responsible for the operation of the Smithville Swimming Pool, to include the hiring of certified lifeguards, however the landlord (City) shall pay their salaries during all hours of operation". The lease apparently does not limit how many lifeguards Poss can employ.

The lease also provides that the city be responsible for costs associated with the swimming pool. "
The tenant (Poss) shall be responsible for providing all water to the facility, except the landlord (City) agrees to provide all water, chemicals, and all other costs associated with the swimming pool. The landlord (City) will be responsible for all fees and charges associated with the operation of the swimming pool," according to the lease.

Poss apparently used lifeguards to help get the pool ready to open May 19, since city workers apparently couldn't or wouldn't do it, and Poss wanted the city to pay the lifeguards for their work. But since the pool had not yet opened, the city balked on paying. The pay dispute has apparently since been resolved but Mayor Hendrixson said Monday night there is a limit to how far the city can go with Poss. "The way I see that, we (city) are paying for all the utilities. We're paying for the water that goes in there. We're paying for all the pool expenses and chemicals. We're paying for all the lifeguards. We've done other work for him over there. He (Poss) is leasing the property. I don't know see how we would be obligated to keep it (property) clean for him," he said.

"I don't know if you can consider cleaning the pool an operational expense, " said Alderman Jacobs. "We've got to draw a line somewhere. Obviously, the lease has some holes in it. We had to rush it through because we were trying to get the pool open last year at the least expense to the city," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson added "And you've got to remember that the tenant (Poss) is getting all the revenue," he said.

"All prior tenants have always paid the lifeguards themselves out of pool revenue, " said Alderman Gayla Hendrix. I wasn't here the night you approved it, but apparently you have approved to pay for three (lifeguards) per day. Anything over and above that, I don't see why the tenant can't pay that," she said.

Alderman White said "But we did pay these hours last year (for more than three lifeguards) and that was at the beginning of the lease," he said. "That would be a good case, in my opinion, for his (Poss) attorney," said White.

Alderman Danny Washer said "we (city) have a contract and whatever it says, I think we need to go by the contract," he said.

Mayor Hendrixson replied, "It says we'll pay all expenses with the pool but keeping the place clean, since he is getting all the revenue, I wouldn't think that is our expense. We lease the hangar at the airport to a man but he doesn't ask us to keep his hangar clean," said Mayor Hendrixson.

"As long as we're not breaking the contract," said Alderman Washer.

"I think we're in compliance", said City Attorney Parsley.

"That's my only concern", said Alderman Washer. "This contract was made last year and I think we need to abide by it no matter how it falls," he added.

UCHRA Offering Shuttle Service to Relay for Life

June 7, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
UCHRA Offering Shuttle Service to Relay for Life

Good parking places get hard to come by as Greenbrook Park fills up for Relay for Life each year. But this year, you have another way to get there, without having to worry about parking.

UCHRA is providing a shuttle service from the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard to Greenbrook Park Friday evening, June 8 from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

"UCHRA has a van they are going to be operating Friday night," said Iva Del Randolph of Relay for Life. "They have a driver and the van and they will be parked at the DeKalb County Complex on South Congress Boulevard (Highway 56) or the old Food Center Shopping place. They will start around 5:00 p.m. shuttling people back and forth until 10:00 p.m. One of the complaints we have had over the years is that there is not enough parking. People have said they would like to come to the Relay but because they have to walk so far, they are not able to come. We are hoping that this will solve that problem. We hope that people will take advantage of this service that they are offering to us," said Randolph

The 15th annual Relay for Life, sporting the theme "Dancing Under the Stars", begins with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations

The lineup of musical entertainment and events for this year's Relay is as follows:

5:00 p.m.: Jimmy and Alisha Stephens
5:15 p.m.: Kathy Goodwin
5:30 p.m.: Dessa Ray
5:45 p.m.: Suzanne Slager

5:55 p.m:
Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347
The National Anthem by Suzanne Slager
Invocation by Dwayne Cornelius, Pastor of the New Life Pentecostal Church

6:00 p.m.:
Opening ceremony
Welcome by Ivadell Randolph
Introduction of Cancer Survivors
Song honoring Cancer Survivors by Bonnie Rigsby and Shelley Cross
Prayer for Cancer Survivors by Don Davidson, Pastor of the Real Life Community Church

6:45 p.m.: David Turner & Friends
7:00 p.m.: Page Family
7:15 p.m.: Gather Round Boys
7:30 p.m.: Terry Hodges
7:45 p.m.: Tina Boston
8:00 p.m.: Fluty and the Flutones
8:15 p.m.: First Assembly of God
8:30 p.m.: Kevin Roberts
8:45 p.m.: Wendell Judkins

9:00 p.m.
Luminaria Ceremony
Prayer by Jeff Armstrong, Pastor of the Smithville Church of God
9:15 p.m.: Smithville Church of God Youth Group
9:30 p.m. New Life Pentecostal Praise Group
9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Chapel Youth Group
10:00-11:00 p.m.
11:00 p.m.: 61 Seconds
Midnight: Team Activities Begin

Fees Waived June 14 at Three Center Hill Lake Day Use Areas

June 7, 2012
Floating Mill Recreation Area

In celebration of the U.S. Army’s 237th birthday June 14, 2012, day-use fees are being waived at all U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District day use areas by Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp, district commander.

"Fees shall be waived on June 14, 2012 at areas such as boat ramps and beaches where fees are collected by contra ct gate attendants or honor vaults," DeLapp said. "As we celebrate the 237th Birthday of the U.S. Army and its rich heritage of defending our nation and its citizens, we wish to recognize local communities’ steadfast support of our soldiers and families in this small way," he added.

Day use areas included in the fee waiver are listed by lake area:

Center Hill – Floating Mill Park, Hurricane Bridge, Ragland Bottom.

Cheatham – Cheatham Dam Right Bank, Harpeth River Bridge.

Cordell Hull – Defeated Creek, Roaring River.

Dale Hollow – Lillydale, Obey River Park, Pleasant Grove.

J. Percy Priest – Cook, Anderson Road.

Lake Barkley – Bumpus Mills, Canal, Old Kuttawa.

Lake Cumberland – Cumberland Point, Fall Creek, Kendall, Waitsboro.

Old Hickory – Cedar Creek, Laguardo, Old Hickory Beach.
This waiver for day use fees for swimming beaches and boat ramps does not apply to recreation areas managed by third parties.

Fees for camping, specialize d facilities such as picnic shelters and for other special use/events will not be waived.

This waiver of day use fees applies only on June 14, 2012.

Since its formation by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1775 with George Washington as commander-in-chief, America’s Army has added 183 streamers to the Army Flag staff denoting the campaigns that soldiers have fought.

Please go to http://www.army.mil/birthday/237/ for additional information about the Army’s 237th Birthday and the rich heritage of today’s modern volunteer Army. For more news, information and updates, please follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps.

Relay for Life to Remember Longtime ACS Volunteer Violet Fuson

June 7, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Violet Fuson

The 15th annual Relay for Life Friday evening will be dedicated in memory of Violet Fuson, a long time supporter of the American Cancer Society, who passed away in May.

"She was a charter member of our DeKalb Unit for the American Cancer Society," said Iva Del Randolph of Relay for Life. " I believe she started in 1985. I joined a year later and she was such a mentor to me and to others. Violet did so many different jobs in our unit over the years. She will be greatly missed. We just want to honor her for the many years that she had served our county so well," she said.

Born and raised here, Ms. Fuson went to pharmacy school and later became Director of Pharmacy at St. Thomas Hospital. She served there for thirty years until her retirement and then relocated to DeKalb County.

Randolph, a second cousin to Ms. Fuson, said Violet recently celebrated her 91st birthday and kept active up until the end of her life. "She had just celebrated her 91st birthday in April. She passed away in May," said Randolph. "Anything we would ask her to do (over the years) or anything she saw needed to be done, she was always willing to help out. She did the memorials. She sent out cards to people who would give memorials in memory of someone when they passed away. She would pick those up at the funeral home and send cards to the family. She helped with Love Lights Tree. She helped with the door to door (fundraising campaign) as so many other people in our community did at that time. She was real active (over the years) and right on up until the last month of her life," she said.

"Violet didn't have any children," said Randolph. "She never married. But she had seven nephews and one niece. They're scattered all over the United States. They were very dedicated to her and would come and check on her frequently. Her niece came and stayed with her the last three months of her life to take care of her," she said.

Eva Willoughby, another active volunteer, said she and Ms. Fuson joined the local ACS unit the same year. "Ms Violet was a very special person to me," said Willoughby. She and I went on the board about the same time in 1985. At that time we had very few people volunteering for the cancer drive. We did a door to door campaign. Our biggest year was a $10,000 door to door donation. We thought $10,000 was a lot of money but then the next year we went with Relay for Life and found out that Relay was wonderful. That was the best thing we did here in our county. She worked with us almost up until her death," she said.

Randolph recalled her last visit with Ms. Fuson. "I had visited with her about two weeks before she died. We had a really good visit. I stayed with her for a while so her niece could go and run some errands. Violet remembered one of the last ACS meetings we attended out of the county. After we started Relay for Life, we didn't have a lot of committee meetings to attend out of the county. There were mid-state meetings, but that was more on the state level, but the last meeting we went to was around Morrison and when we were coming back that night, we could see a lot of falling stars. They were just shooting everywhere. There was just a rain shower of those that night. She recalled that. Violet asked do you remember, we could hardly drive?. She remembered how that at one point, we just pulled over and watched those stars. Her mind was very good right up until the end. We had a wonderful visit that day. She was just always a pleasure to be around," said Randolph.

Mended Hearts Donates AED to DeKalb County Complex

June 6, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mended Hearts Donates AED to DeKalb County Complex

The Cookeville Chapter 127 of Mended Hearts has donated an automated external defibrillator to the DeKalb County Complex.

The presentation was made Wednesday at the complex by Pharoah Smithers, President of the Cookeville Chapter, to County Mayor Mike Foster. "Today we are giving an AED to the DeKalb County Community Complex," said Smithers. "This AED is a $1,300 unit and Mended Hearts is more than glad to be able to give it to them, hoping they will never use it. Lives can be saved with it. In Putnam County right now there are twenty nine people who have had these AED's used on them. Mended Hearts also gave the high school here an AED a few years ago and bought them fifteen mannequins so that they can use them to teach CPR. We are providing this at no charge," he said.

"We are pleased to get this because of the senior citizen center here and the exercise classes we have going on using the exercise equipment," said County Mayor Foster. " With the number of people going to be in the facility, we just felt like it was a really good thing that they have allowed us to have this unit here and we appreciate it very much," he said.

In addition to Smithers and County Mayor Foster, others on hand for the presentation were Blanche Smithers and Lou Thomason of Mended Hearts, Kathy Pealer of UCDD, and Tony Luna, assistant director of the county complex.

One of the most successful Chapter 127 programs is that of raising funds through chapter activities and events to provide automated external defibrillators (AED's) throughout the Upper Cumberland area.

An automated external defibrillator, or AED is an automated, computerized medical device that is capable of checking a person's heart rhythm and, when necessary, providing an appropriate electrical shock that may "reset" the heart to an acceptable, normal rhythm.

AED's are very accurate and easy to use and they can advise a rescuer or trained person when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights, and text messages to advise what steps to take and when.

The American Heart Association supports placing AED's throughout a community where trained people are also available. AED's are generally specifically placed in areas where larger numbers of people congregate, such as stadiums, airports, churches, and large department stores. Funding for purchase of the AED's is accomplished through Mended Hearts, Inc., Chapter 127 fund-raising events such as "silent auctions" and bake sales as well as through private donations. In some cases, AED's are provided through a cost-sharing program with recipient organizations in order to permit more AED's to be placed throughout the community. Additionally, several businesses and organizations in the Cookeville area fully support the AED program and provide grants to assist in their purchase.

It has been proven that if a person has some form of heart attack where an AED and a knowledgeable person is available to administer a mild shock to re-establish a normal heart rhythm and circulation, that chances of survival are increased significantly (up to 80%).Mended Hearts is a national and community-based non-profit organization that offers the gift of hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers.

Recognized for its role in facilitating a positive patient-care experience, now aligned with the American College of Cardiology, Mended Hearts is celebrating 60 years of service. Currently, Mended Hearts has over 300 local chapters and satellites nationwide, and partners with 460 hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. Mended Hearts offers services to heart patients through visiting programs, support group meetings and educational forums.

Mended Hearts support groups help people understand that there can be a rich, rewarding life after heart disease diagnosis. Members listen, share their experiences and volunteer to talk to other heart patients about what they may face including lifestyle changes, depression, recovery, and treatment.

Mended Hearts volunteers offer peer-to-peer support to patients, family members and caregivers via:

•Hospital Visiting – In person visit from a Mended Hearts volunteer while you are recovering
•Online Visiting – Email check in and provide materials electronically
•Phone Visiting – Calling to provide a word of hope

The mission of Mended Hearts is to "inspire hope in heart disease patients and their families."

(Pictured above left to right: Blanche Smithers, Mike Foster, Pharoah Smithers, Lou Thomason, Kathy Pealer , and Tony Luna)

Game Room Now Open at County Complex

June 6, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
The game room is now open in the county complex on South Congress Boulevard.
Arcade Games at County Complex

The game room is now open in the county complex on South Congress Boulevard.

Tony Luna, assistant director of the complex, said the game room opened last Saturday and children and even adults can come and take advantage of it. The game room currently has several arcade games, a couple of pool tables, and a wii and xbox. While the costs are fifty cents to a dollar to play, depending on the games, the wii and xbox games are free to play. "We have some quarter operated arcade games. We've got a few pool tables that people have requested. We've actually got an old pac man game coming that we're proud of. The costs are fifty cents to a dollar (to play the games) but for kids that come out here and don't have the money for that we actually have an xbox and a wii that they can play at no cost," said Luna

"We're open six days a week (Monday through Saturday) from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. We close through lunch and then we open back up at 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Those hours are flexible. Once we get more members and it can sustain itself a little better, we're going to move our hours so we can get as many people as we can in the facility. Anybody can come. This is open to anybody. Once we get our ball goals, our gymnasium will be open to anyone at no cost. We just want everybody to come out and see the complex. This is your complex and its great," he said.

Willoughby Names Julie Vincent as Principal at Smithville Elementary School

June 6, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
SES Principal Julie Vincent
Assistant SES Principal Karen Knowles

Smithville Elementary School is getting a new principal.

Julie Vincent, who for the last year has served as assistant principal at Northside Elementary School, will become principal at Smithville Elementary School, effective July 1st.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made the announcement Wednesday. "Julie Vincent will be our new principal starting July 1 at Smithville Elementary School. Karen Knowles will be the assistant principal there. We're excited. During the transition there, I am sure that Ms Vincent will be bringing some new ideas and new thoughts to Smithville Elementary. We have already received several positive comments," he said.

Dr. Bill Tanner, who had been principal at Smithville Elementary for several years, will be re-assigned to another position in the school system.

Vincent, who once taught at Smithville Elementary, said she is excited to be returning to the school. "I am very excited. I love Smithville Elementary School. When Darrin and I first moved here, about seventeen or eighteen years ago, I started teaching here in the special education department so its like coming back home again. I'm real excited to be over here at Smithville Elementary," she said.

She began her teaching career in DeKalb County at Smithville Elementary teaching resource in the special education department and then moved to Northside Elementary, after that school opened. "I later moved to a fourth grade classroom, then to a third grade classroom. This year I was the assistant principal at Northside,"she said.

Untitled from dwayne page on Vimeo.
A native of Maine, Vincent received her bachelors degree in Vermont. She later married and moved to Missouri. The couple lived there for a couple of years before relocating to DeKalb County. "From my bachelors degree, I went to Tennessee Tech and got my masters degree in early childhood special education. I then went back and got my Eds in instructional leadership," she said.

Vincent is married to Darrin Vincent of the very popular and award winning duo Dailey and Vincent. The couple have three children, Zachary, a senior at DCHS; Victoria, a sophomore; and Chandler, an eighth grader at DeKalb Middle School. Zachary plays on the Tiger basketball team. Victoria is a basketball cheerleader and Chandler plays basketball on the Saints team.

Asked if she had any special changes planned for the school, Vincent said she just wants to build on the success already established there. "Right now I'm just trying to get my feet on the ground. I've got some ideas that I am excited about. There's a lot of great things that's already taking place here at Smithville Elementary. I am just looking forward to enhancing some of the good things already happening," she said.

"I am going to miss being at Northside, " said Vincent. "They are a wonderful family over there. I am going to miss being over there, being with Dr. Redmon and the rest of the staff. But I am excited to come over here and get reacquainted with some old friends here and make some new ones," she said.

Patrick Cripps Named Principal at DeKalb County High School

June 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Patrick  Cripps
Assistant DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant
Assistant DCHS Principal David Gash

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has announced that Patrick Cripps has been named principal at DCHS.

Cripps, who has served as assistant principal at DCHS for the past seven years, succeeds retiring principal Kathy Hendrix. Prior to his role as assistant principal, Cripps was guidance counselor at the high school for five years.

A graduate of DCHS, Cripps earned his BS in psychology at Tennessee Tech in 1995. Four years later, he received a degree in pre-K through 12 school counseling from Tech. In 2004, Cripps earned an Eds degree in instructional leadership, also at Tennessee Tech.

Cripps, in an interview with WJLE, said although he is well acquainted with the school, the students, and staff, his role now will be very different. "As an assistant, I dealt mostly with the discipline. Now, I will have greater responsibilities. I will be dealing more with academics and working with teachers whereas before I was working more closely with students," said Cripps.

"I'm looking forward to getting school started and getting back at it," he said. "We're developing the schedule right now and we're hiring several new teachers. We had several to retire and those teachers are going to be missed but we're looking forward to our new teachers coming in," said Cripps.

Son of Gene and the late Brenda Cripps, Patrick is married to the former Amy Williams and they have three children, 12 year old Callie Ryann, seven year old Zoe Potter, and one year old Brody John Cripps. Cripps' sister, Michelle Burklow, is the Supervisor of Instruction for pre-K to sixth grade in the local school system.

Cripps becomes the 10th principal at DCHS since 1963. His predecessors included Amon Snyder, Jim Butler, Tucker Hendrix, Ernest Ray, Dr. Charles Collier, Larry Johnson, Dr. Barry Roberts, Weldon Parkinson, and Kathy Hendrix.

Director Willoughby said he appreciates the work former principal Kathy Hendrix did at the high school and he is looking forward to working with Cripps. "Kathy Hendrix did a great job at the high school and Patrick Cripps will do a great job. He has been interviewing and recommending people for hiring. He has got a real good staff there and I am real excited about the things that are going to happen and the changes that he is going to implement. He is already doing a great job, although he doesn't officially really start until July 1. Patrick has energy and is excited about the high school being his school and the fact that he is there for DeKalb County children that are coming on up," said Willoughby.

Untitled from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Assistant principal David Gash will remain part of the administration team at DCHS and Kathy Bryant will be coming to the high school from DeKalb Middle School to fill the other assistant principal position. "Our assistant will be Kathy Bryant," said Willoughby. "She is moving from DeKalb Middle School to the high school. She is going to be working mainly with the curriculum, analyzing and giving details and looking at some areas that we can improve on and some areas that we can strengthen even more. She will be helping to develop some improvement plans for us in areas that we would like to be making higher grades. She is going to be a real plus to that staff. She dealt with the curriculum at the middle school and was very successful there and she will also be successful at DeKalb County High School," he said.

"Mr. Gash will be dealing more with discipline than curriculum," said Willoughby.

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