Board selects assistant superintendent, recognizes 2020 honor students

Blount County Board of Education

Chris Lakey

Chris Lakey

The Blount County Board of Education approved the transfer of Chris Lakey, principal of Cleveland High School, to the position of assistant superintendent of Blount County Schools at its meeting on Monday. The effective date of the transfer and promotion is July 1.

Lakey has served 19 years with Blount County Schools, beginning as a history, civics, and social studies teacher for 10 years, followed by a four-year assignment as assistant principal at Hayden High School. He has served four years in his present job at Cleveland High School.

He holds a bachelor’s, a master’s, and an educational specialist degree in education from Jacksonville State University. His wife, Shannon, is principal of Blountsville Elementary School. They have two children enrolled in the county system.

In other matters, Superintendent Rodney Green provided the board updates on a number of items. They included:

• planning continues for a traditional graduation program for 2020 graduates; indications from state guidance are that it would be after July 1. Alternatives to the traditional ceremony could still prove to be necessary, though the traditional option is preferred.

• the planned opening date for the 2020-2021 school year is Aug. 6, though that could change pending a state directive or guidance specifying a later date.

• the Blount County Education Foundation sponsored summer education programs are planned to go forward in July, awaiting updates and final approval from the state and state superintendent of education.

The board also approved Green’s operating recommendations for the period:

General business

• the 2020 textbook adoption recommendation.

• awarding the lawn mowing bid opened April 27 to Scott Rogers.

• issuing stipends of $150 gross per day in lieu of travel expenses to those attending the following activities from District Title I funds: E3 Geometry and Algebra I, E3 Computer Science, AMSTI year 1 math, AMSTI year 2 K-5, AMSTI year 2 6th, and AMSTI Science in Motion training.


• Locust Fork Elementary and High Schools’ three-year agreements with Locker Pro, beginning April, 2020.


• Cassie H. Raney, teacher at Hayden Primary, effective July 31.

• Sarah Smith Richey, teacher at Hayden High, effective at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

Retirements (all effective June 1)

• Brenda Hicks, school bus driver, and Melissa King, teacher, Appalachian

• Rebecca W. McCay, teacher, Susan Moore High

• Tony Morgan, teacher, Hayden High

• Carol Pullen, reading coach, Susan Moore Elementary

• Valerie Reid, school bookkeeper, Hayden Middle

• Shane Richards, teacher, Cleveland High

• Cheryl Salamone, teacher, Cleveland Elementary

• Ruth Smith, library media specialist, Hayden Primary

• Sindy Woodard, teacher, Hayden Primary


• Tracy H. Armstrong, from kindergarten teacher to library media specialist at Hayden Primary, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

• Jennifer Arrington, from teacher at Blountsville Elementary to STEAM teacher at Blountsville Elementary and J.B. Pennington High, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

Employment – certified employees

• Jeffrey Tyler Cole, social science teacher and head varsity boys basketball coach, Cleveland High, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

• Douglas Wayne Howse III, general science teacher, Locust Fork High, contingent upon certification.

• Lindsay Howse, teacher, Cleveland Elementary, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

• Rebeka Skye Pace, teacher, Blountsville Elementary, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

• Kelli Grace Whitmire, teacher, Blountsville Elementary, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, contingent upon certification.

• Colton Brice Strait, band director, Southeastern, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, contingent upon certification.

• Brice Youmans, band director, Susan Moore High, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

Leaves of absence

• Kaitlin Hampton, teacher, Locust Fork Elementary, beginning Aug. 3 and ending Sept. 28.


• grant of tenure to approved certified employees as of the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

• non-renewal of employees effective with the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

2020 Honor Students

The board participated in a live, online video program that individually recognized 21 honor students from the 2020 graduating class of the county’s high schools – three students from each of the county system’s seven high schools. Each student described his or her upcoming educational and career plans.

Appalachian High School
Kathryn Elise Maddox, valedictorian
Jocelyn Green, salutatorian
Josie Latta, historian
Cleveland High School
Ty Washburn, valedictorian
Audra Graves, salutatorian
Kaley Turner, historian
Hayden High School
Lily Marie Hughes, valedictorian
Audrey Katherine Veazey, salutatorian
Bailey Christine Vines, historian
J.B. Pennington High School
Alex Washburn, valedictorian
Skylar Austin, salutatorian
Sabrina Jones, historian
Locust Fork High School
Helena Ellen Heiberger, valedictorian
Hallie Marie Fletcher, salutatorian
Karla Marie Lopez, historian
Southeastern High School
Sarah Wortham, valedictorian
Mariel Juhola, salutatorian
Morgan Hill, historian
Susan Moore High School
Morgan Holland, valedictorian
John David Hutchens, salutatorian
Summer Mitchell, historian