Local News Articles

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Nets Five Arrests

June 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Samer Walid Abdalla
Courtney Paris
Ernest Grady Tanner
Amy Renee Ford
Jerry Henry Goff

Five convicted felons were arrested Friday, June 9 at 332 New Hope Road, Alexandria after an undercover drug investigation by several local and state law enforcement agencies.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 6/5/2017 Thru: 6/12/2017)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_27.pdf (3.26 MB)

Agents seized approximately 5 grams of fentanyl, methodone, morphine, xanax, six weapons (including two assault rifles), a Chevy Silverado, a Dodge Dakota, a BMW car, cell phones, flash drives, home security system, digital scales, computer, ammo, and $973 cash.

36 year old Samer Walid Abdalla, 34 year old Courtney Paris, and 55 year old Ernest Grady Tanner, all of New Hope Road, Alexandria; 38 year old Amy Renee Ford of Chumbley Hollow, Watertown; and 39 year old Jerry Henry Goff of East Main Street, Smithville were taken into custody.

The narcotics search warrant was executed and served at the residence by members of the 13th & 15th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Alexandria Police Department, the Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division, and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

Adballa and Paris were in the master bedroom where agents found approximately 5 grams of a powder substance on a nightstand that tested positive for fentanyl; prescription narcotics which were packaged for resale, guns, three sets of digital scales, a large amount of hypodermic needles, and packaging material used in the distribution of narcotics.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Abdalla, who is Hepatitis C positive, fought with agents while resisting arrest and he tried to bite them. Abdalla also suffered a bloody nose during the scuffle putting the officers at risk of being infected. He was charged with criminal exposure of Hepatitis C. “Abdalla was ordered several times to raise his hands and to place them behind his back. He failed to comply, striking at agents and forcing them to restrain him to affect the arrest. Abdalla fought with the agents and tried to take an agent’s gun by grabbing the upper barrel portion of the rifle and pulling. Abdalla tried to bite two agents who were trying to restrain him. Abdalla was slightly injured and began bleeding from the nose. He continued to struggle knowing that he has Hepatitis C placing agents at risk of being infected. Abdalla acknowledged that he has Heptatis C and he has been charged with criminal exposure twice before,” said Sheriff Ray.

Abdalla was also charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest as he tried to keep agents from taking both Paris and himself into custody. Both Abdalla and Paris were each charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver a schedule II drug (fentanyl) and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Agents found a 9 millimeter pistol inside Paris’ pocketbook within reach of both Paris and Abdalla.

Bond for Abdalla is $500,000. Paris’ bond is $150,000

Sheriff Ray said Abdalla has numerous felonies on his record including two counts of possession of cocaine on May 25, 2004, criminal simulation on September 10, 2008, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony on May 7, 2012.

Paris was convicted for possession of a schedule II drug on November 16, 2011 and she has other felony convictions.

Tanner is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond is $75,000. According to Sheriff Ray, Tanner was found in another bedroom of the home along with a Ruger mini-14 rifle, a DPMS-AR 15 rifle, a Springfield Armory .45 caliber 1911 semi-automatic pistol, and approximately 150 plus rounds of ammunition of various calibers. On October 7, 2005 Tanner was convicted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) for possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic assault. Tanner was sentenced to 10 months in the U.S. penitentiary in McCreary, Kentucky.

Ford and Goff were in a guest bedroom of the home where agents recovered from a closet a Revelation. 22 caliber rifle with a bullet in the magazine but not chambered. Narcotics were discovered in a duffle bag that also held Goff’s driver license.

Both Ford and Goff were charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Goff was further charged with possession of a schedule II drug with intent to sell or deliver.

The following day, Ford was charged with bringing contraband into a penal institution after drugs were found on her during a strip search. “Ford was being dressed out for housing at the jail and during a strip search by a female correctional officer, a small cellophane baggie with a clear crystal substance was found in her body cavity. It field tested positive for meth,” said Sheriff Ray.

Bond for Ford totals $55,000. Goff’s bond is $100,000.

According to Sheriff Ray, Ford is a convicted felon. She was sentenced to 8 years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections for initiation of methamphetamine in 2012.

Goff pled guilty to manufacturing meth on November 7, 2012

All five defendants will make a court appearance on these new charges June 29.

Avoid higher vehicle registration fees by renewing before expiration

June 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
James L (Jimmy) Poss.

Whether you have or have not received a June renewal notice from the state, the time is now to renew your vehicle registration before the fees increase.

The cost to register a vehicle in Tennessee will increase beginning July 1, 2017.

“I have been informed that many citizens here and in other counties have not received their June renewal notices. We can still renew for June and through August, 2017 at the current price but the increased fees will apply effective July 1 for anyone who renews on-line, by mail, or in person,” said County Clerk James L (Jimmy) Poss.

The registration fee for passenger motor vehicles (standard, disabled, military, motorcycle, specialty) will be increased by $5. The registration fee for commercial motor vehicles for transporting passengers for hire (buses, taxis) will be increased by $10. The registration fee for commercial and freight motor vehicles (semis, tractor trailers) will be increased by $20.

There will be a new fee for electric vehicles beginning July 1, 2017. The registration fee for electric vehicles will be $100. The electric vehicle registration fee is in addition to the standard registration fee.

These fee increases are part of the 2017 IMPROVE ACT which has been signed into law by the Governor to help shore up funding for roads and bridges across the state. 100% of these fee increases go to the highway fund.

County Clerk Poss advises individuals with upcoming renewals to take advantage of the current fees by renewing eligible vehicles prior to July 1, 2017.

Previously, the county clerk’s office has been able to complete renewal transactions within a period of 60 days or less prior to the expiration date.

Students will continue to eat free but school meal prices for adults to increase

June 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Amy Lattimore

All students in the DeKalb County School System, regardless of income, will again have access to free breakfasts and lunches when school begins in August. However, teachers, staff and other adults who eat breakfast and lunch at school will have to pay a little more.

Meal prices for the adults are increasing by twenty five cents for breakfast and twenty five cents for lunch.

The Board of Education Thursday night approved the increases as recommended by Amy Lattimore, School Nutrition Supervisor. Adults have been paying $1.25 for breakfast and $2.50 for lunch.

“The USDA requires that adult meals including for teachers and staff be paid by them. We can’t use federal funding to pay for their meals. We haven’t gone up on the prices for adults in quite a while but it’s gotten to the point now where meal costs have eclipsed our price point. We just need to go up a little bit. I would like for us to go up by twenty five cents this year for breakfast and twenty five cents for lunch. Next year we may need to look at going up some more. It may be enough or it may not be but its really comparable with what other counties around us charge,” said Lattimore.

Meanwhile, Lattimore said the free breakfast and lunch program for students continues to be successful.

“It is still going really well. We still have a couple more years on that first track that we started. At that point we’ll have to look at it again but for right now it’s going really well. We’re pleased with it,” said Lattimore.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. CEP eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meals, relying instead on information from other means-tested programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The school system had already been offering free breakfasts under the Universal Breakfast Program but opted into the free lunch program during the fall of 2015 hoping to get more students to participate. Under CEP, the school system is reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students identified as eligible for free meals. To keep the program financially self supporting, the number of students taking part must remain at a higher level.

DCHS Graduate Thanks School Board for Scholarship

June 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Erica Birmingham

A member of the DCHS Class of 2017 addressed the Board of Education Thursday night thanking them for awarding her a scholarship.

Erica Birmingham, who will further her education at Belmont University, was one of three graduates at DCHS to receive a $700 scholarship presented by members of the Board of Education. Belmont University also awarded Birmingham a $16,000 scholarship.

“I am one of the three recipients of the DeKalb County Board of Education scholarships. I just personally want to tell you all, thank you. It means a lot to me. I plan to use the money to help with my college tuition. I’ll be going to Belmont University where I will be majoring in commercial voice. This is a huge step for me toward my dream of becoming a professional singer and songwriter. I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me and helping me reach my goal. Thank you so much,” said Birmingham in addressing the school board.

School Board Adopts Differentiated Pay Plan for 2017-18

June 11, 2017
by: 
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
by: 
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

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

Resignations/Retirement
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
by: 
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.

Transportation:
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
by: 
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.

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