Month: January 2016

The Saturday Six – January 30, 2016

This week in the Saturday Six, we take a moment to honor our Board of Education members during School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee.  Our BOE members give so much of their time, energy, and efforts toward ensuring all KCS students and employees have the tools they need to succeed.  We thank them for their service, and honor them during this special time of recognition!

BOE 2015

  1.  Carrie Upshaw, BOE President – Mrs. Upshaw was first elected to the BOE in 2009 and is currently serving in her second four-year term on the Board.  She was elected to her first term as Board president in 2013.  She was recently appointed to the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) All Tennessee School Board.  Mrs. Upshaw has lived in the Tri-Cities area most of her life, graduating from Sullivan East High School and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  She worked as a contract engineer until 1990.  Following the birth of her children, she became active as a community volunteer and held many PTSA offices, including President at Washington Elementary School and John Sevier Middle School.  Mrs. Upshaw is the Senior Adult Director at First Baptist Church in Kingsport, where she is also the pianist.  Mrs. Upshaw and her husband Mike have two children, a daughter in graduate school at UT Knoxville and a son at MTSU.  Both children attended Kingsport City Schools from kindergarten through graduation, and Mrs. Upshaw is still an active volunteer in several programs.  During her time on the BOE, she has provided exceptional leadership and commitment to educational success, and for that, we are so very grateful!
  2. Susan Lodal, BOE Vice President – Mrs. Lodal was first elected to the BOE in 2003 and is currently serving in her fourth four-year term on the Board.  She was elected Board Vice President in 2013.  Mrs. Lodal is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Purdue University.  While serving on the Board, she has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 Tennessee School Boards Association Scholars Circle Award, 2013 Ambassadors for Education Certified, Master, Diamond, and Platinum Level Awards, and is the immediate past President of the TSBA (Treasurer 2012, Vice President 2013, President-Elect 2014).  She received the National School Boards Association Distinguished Service Award (2007, 2010, 2012), the 2010 C. Hal Henard Distinguished Service Award, and was named to the All Tennessee School Board by the TSBA in 2010.  She has served as the chairperson of the Tennessee Legislative Network and member-at-large of the TSBA Board of Directors (2007-2008), as well as being a member of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.  Mrs. Lodal is a Master (Level V) School Board Member, the highest honor designation bestowed by the TSBA.  Mrs. Lodal volunteers as a tutor in two elementary schools and is an active member of the Waverly Road Presbyterian Church food pantry.  Prior to running for the Board, she was the Director of Children’s Ministries at Waverly Road for 13 years and active in PTSAs for over 16 years.  She is the current past chairperson of the Hunger Task Force of the United Way of Greater Kingsport.  Mrs. Lodal and her husband Peter have lived in Kingsport since 1977 and have three grown children, all graduating from KCS.  There is no better example of commitment and dedication to quality public schools than Mrs. Lodal!
  3. Todd Golden, BOE Member – Mr. Golden was appointed to the BOE in 2014 to complete a one-year term of service due to a Board member resignation. He was elected to the Board in 2015 for his first four-year term.  Mr. Golden has called Kingsport home for 17 years.  A native of Albany, Georgia, he attended Brigham Young University – Idaho, studying business development, and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Sales from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.  After completing college, Mr. Golden worked for Hewlett-Packard in the Bay Area of California as a territory sales manager and was promoted to be the corporate trainer for the southeastern U.S.and Puerto Rico.  It was during this time that he elected to move to Kingsport.  He has been an integral part in establishing and executing the annual Day of Service in the Tri-Cities, taught classes at the Kingsport Renaissance Center on business development and Spanish, served as a volunteer, full-time Christian missionary in Columbia for two years, and speaks fluent Spanish.  Mr. Golden has been an outstanding BOE member and public servant, and his dedication to success for all of KCS is greatly valued!
  4. Eric Hyche, BOE Member – Mr. Hyche was appointed to the BOE in 2014 to complete a one-year term of service due to a Board member resignation.  He was elected to the Board in 2015 for his first two-year term.  Mr. Hyche is a native of Kingsport, graduating as valedictorian of Sullivan Central High School in 1983.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University, where
    he was the 1987 Derryberry Award winner. After completing college, Mr. Hyche married Angie Duncan, a Kingsport native, and relocated to Atlanta, GA, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech University and worked for NC Rand Iterated Systems. In 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Hyche moved back to Kingsport and he began working remotely for Seattle-based Real Networks. In April 2013, he joined the technical staff at Groupon, where he currently develops software for their iPhone and iPad apps.  Mr. Hyche is a past president of the Preston Forest Community Association and a deacon at Northeast Church of Christ. He also enjoys writing software for personal projects, reading, bicycling, and acting in community theater productions.  Mr. Hyche and his wife have two daughters, who both attend college.  Mr. Hyche’s enthusiasm and commitment to cutting-edge education is a tremendous asset to the Kingsport community!
  5. Dr. Karen Reed-Wright, BOE Member – Dr. Karen Reed-Wright was elected to the BOE in 2015 and is serving in her first four-year term on the Board.  Dr. Reed-Wright is a lifelong resident of Kingsport and a product of Kingsport City Schools.  She attended ETSU, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary
    Education majoring in history.  She returned to college to add an elementary certification and to earn a Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist.  Later, she returned to ETSU again to earn her Doctorate degree in Leadership and Policy Analysis.  These degrees built the foundation for her career with Kingsport City Schools and later as an associate professor at Virginia Intermont College.  During her years with KCS, she was an elementary and middle school teacher, a peer evaluator, a staff development coordinator, a reading coach, and served as an interim principal.  For eight years, she worked as the Literacy Coordinator and was a communications coordinator when the new Washington Elementary was first opened.  During this time, she also traveled within and outside the state as a consultant, providing workshops in both reading and mathematics. She also served as a member of the Tennessee Reading Panel, selecting guidelines for reading and language arts for school systems across the state.  While a classroom teacher, she achieved Career Ladder III distinction and in 2000 at the White House, President Clinton presented her with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching  Mathematics and Science. Karen is a National Board Certified Teacher (1999) and was selected as a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Field of Education (2007).  Dr. Reed-Wright and her husband Jim have a daughter, Peyton.  They are members of First Presbyterian Church, the Bays Mountain Park Association, Friends of Allandale, and Netherland Inn/Exchange Place.  She worked as a volunteer for FunFest for several years and was the Chairman of FunFest in 1990.  Dr. Reed-Wright enjoys reading, walking, attending sporting events, and traveling to Massachusetts
    to visit her daughter and son-in-law.  Dr. Reed-Wright’s experience and dedication to teaching and learning have helped make her an exceptional BOE member!
  6. Vivian Altizer, BOE Executive Assistant – We would also be remiss if we did not recognize the outstanding BOE executive assistant, Mrs. Vivian Altizer.  A tireless worker who does so much to support our Board and KCS, Mrs. Altizer is a long-time KCS employee who coordinates and supports the activities of the Board.  Mrs. Altizer serves as president-elect to the Tennessee School Boards Association’s Tennessee Association of Board Secretaries (TABS).  Altizer became president-elect on July 1, 2015, and will become president on July 1, 2016.  Altizer has been a member of TABS since 2009, serving as vice-president from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

Thank you to our outstanding Board of Education!

The Saturday Six – January 23, 2016

  1.  Wow… The weather outside was frightful!  This has certainly been an unusual weather week in Kingsport, resulting in three days missed due to inclement weather.  While I’m sure most students were celebrating this unexpected winter vacation, we recognize that changes to the KCS schedule cause disruptions to parents, families, and school related activities.  A big “thank you” goes out to the entire Kingsport community for understanding our need to alter course when conditions make it unsafe for students and staff.
  2. Another “thank you,” this time to our Kingsport Public Works staff.  KCS would also be remiss if we didn’t stop and thank the men and women who have worked so diligently to keep the streets of Kingsport clear of snow this week.  These folks work incredibly long hours to help keep conditions safe for students and staff to get to school.  On behalf of everyone with KCS and our entire community, thanks to Ryan McReynolds, Ronnie Hammonds, and the entire Kingsport Public Works staff.  Well done!
  3. One last group to recognize this week… The KCS custodial and maintenance staff!  While most will spend tomorrow relaxing and getting ready for what we hope will be a full week of classes, a large group of KCS employees will be hard at work clearing snow from our parking lots, sidewalks, and school grounds.  These unsung heroes will also work long hours to prep and make sure conditions are appropriate for school to resume.  To the men and women of the KCS custodial and maintenance staff, thank you for the ways you support us!
  4. If you are not following KCS on social media, this is a great time to start.  It has been fun this week to see all the activity around Kingsport while students have been out in the snow.  Check out or to get caught up!
  5. Congrats to the D-B Bowling team!  While the competition doesn’t conclude until later today, the bowlers from D-B have been representing themselves quite well this week at the TSSAA Bowling Championships in Smyrna, TN.  Yet another group of Kingsport students that have worked so hard and reached great levels of success.  Great job!!
  6. Did you see some of KCS’ finest on TV and in the newspaper this week?  If not, we highly recommend these two pieces highlighting a current student and a KCS grad.  D-B senior Harrison Ihrig was profiled in the Kingsport Times-News, as he has earned a full-ride to Johns Hopkins University, where he plans on studying neuroscience.  And D-B grad and Paralympian Blake Leeper was interviewed on WJHL, which took a look at his quest to become a world champion.  Both are fantastic examples highlighting the results of hard work and determination.

Stay warm and enjoy this snowy weekend!

The Saturday Six – January 16, 2016

  1.  Parting is such sweet sorrow!  After lengthy careers with Kingsport City Schools, this week we highlight two individuals who have recently announced upcoming retirements.  Assistant Superintendent Dory Creech will be retiring in mid-February after almost three decades with KCS.  Dory has served as a teacher, school administrator, Director of Accountability, and led all curriculum and instruction for the district.  After a tenure of similar length, Director of Technology John Payne is retiring at the end of January.  John has also served as a teacher and led KCS through a period of incredible technology growth and transition.  While we certainly wish Dory and John well as they begin this new season in their lives, they will absolutely be missed!
  2. School spirit is alive and well at Dobyns-Bennett.  In case you missed it, last night was Homecoming night at D-B, capping off a week of festivities.  Each time Homecoming occurs, it’s an incredible sight to see such engaged students, staff, and alumni rally together and show that we truly are #OneTribe.  Let’s not take for granted the special atmosphere here in Kingsport in which we are fortunate to be a part!
  3. Jefferson students are thinking globally!  The students and staff at Jefferson Elementary kicked off an impressive global project this week, with a student leadership committee heading up the “Thirst Comes First” project.  By joining together and educating themselves on the need for clean drinking water across the globe, the Jefferson community will be working to raise $3,000 to provide two wells in South Sudan.  Their kick-off assembly occurred on Friday and they hope to have necessary funds raised by March of this year.  What am impressive display of global citizenship!
  4. Agreed… She is fantastic!  Congratulations go out this week to John Sevier Middle School 6th grade science teacher Abbie Kilgore.  Abbie was recognized as Premier Pharmacy’s “Teacher of the Week” this week.  This is a well deserved honor, as Abbie’s students and co-workers will attest!
  5. In case you missed it…  KCS psychologist Paula Nickles was featured in this week’s National Association of School Psychologists for her report on the KCS Response to Intervention (RTI) program.  The brief is available online by clicking here.
  6. You are invited!  Please accept our invitation to join us in honoring our Board of Education prior to next week’s BOE Work Session at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19.  While the “official” School Board Appreciation Week may still be a week away, we’ll take time out before the upcoming session to say “thank you” for the dedication and commitment our board shows to the students, employees, and families of Kingsport.  Join us at 5:30 in the KCS Tennessee Room (3rd floor of the KCS Administrative Support Center, 400 Clinchfield St.)!

The Saturday Six – January 9, 2016

  1.  Is the weather outside frightful?  Remember long ago when the only option to find out if schools were closed or delayed was to anxiously wait by the radio for the DJ to read through the announcements?  Times have certainly changed!  Here is how KCS will notify our families if we change our schedule due to weather:
    • Employees, students and families will receive a phone call and email by 6 a.m. on the morning of a schedule change.
    • Those students and families that have elected to opt-in will also receive a text message during the general call out.
    • WCSK Radio, the Voice of KCS (90.3 FM), will run regular announcements.
    • KCS social media will share any changes (Facebook: KPTSchools, Twitter: @KCS_District).
    • The district webpage will be updated with all changes (
    • Local TV and Radio stations will also provide any updates.
  2. How many meals do you think are served each day in our schools?  The KCS School Nutrition Staff works hard to design, prepare, and serve high quality meals that students will like to eat.  With very tight nutritional guidelines, it can sometimes be a challenge to find items that fit all tastes, but SNS Director Jennifer Walker and her staff do an exceptional job fulfilling their mission.  Next time you have the opportunity, give a KCS cafeteria meal a try!  It’s also a great bargain.  And the answer to the question was an average of 5,402 meals per day.  That’s over 960,000 meals per year.  Wow!
  3. This Tuesday marked the start of the spring semester for KCS students, but it was not the start for our staff.  Teachers spent all day on Monday getting ready for the spring, including professional learning, planning, and collaborating with fellow teachers.  All across the district, it was impressive to see the level of professionalism and commitment KCS teachers have, working to improve student success!
  4. Could you hear the roar coming from the D-B campus yesterday?  Yesterday afternoon, the annual Tribe Classic took place in the Buck Van Huss dome, as the Sevier and Robinson boys and girls varsity basketball teams battled on the court.  And regardless of whether or not you were on the winning or losing side of the scoreboard, it was impressive to see the level of sportsmanship and school spirit displayed by all.
  5. Coming soon to a mailbox near you… The KCS Annual Report is in it’s final production and distribution stage, and will be mailed to KCS households very soon.  Be on the lookout for this handy yearly calendar that also serves to tell the full story of Kingsport City Schools.  The Annual Report serves as the keystone communications publication for the district and is the result of the efforts of many contributors across KCS.
  6. Have you found yet?  This collaborative effort of several community partners serves as a one-stop-shop for a variety of information about Kingsport, including news, information, and on-demand videos.  Check it out!  It’s a great place to learn more about this great community we call home.

The We Are KCS Video Blog Episode 3 – Project-Based Learning at Washington Elementary

George Washington Elementary School math teacher Ms. Lisa Marcello and her 5th grade students share how they have learned about scale and research through project-based learning in Episode 3 of the We Are KCS Video Blog!

The KCS Saturday Six – January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!!  As the Saturday Six and KCS continue to celebrate the holidays, we’re looking ahead today at some of the major events and happenings coming up in 2016.  There are so many great events and celebrations on the horizon (Click here to see the full KCS Event Calendar).

Do you think that we missed something that needs to be include in the upcoming Top 6 of 2016? Add it to the comments below!

  1. What a great way to start the new year… Nominate someone for the KCS Hall of Fame!  Starting now, nominations are being accepted for the 2016 class of the KCS Hall of Fame.  Any former employee that has been retired for five years and has five years KCS experience is eligible for nomination.  Who do you feel deserves to be in the Hall of Fame for the impact they had on education in Kingsport?  Click here for all the details and to submit a nomination.
  2. The action will be fast and furious on January 8, as Sevier and Robinson clash in the 3rd annual Tribe Classic.  This annual daytime basketball match-up between city rivals takes place in the D-B Buck Van Huss Dome and brings out an unmatched sense of school pride for all KCS middle schoolers.  The boys and girls varsity teams will be in action, with both schools’ student bodies in attendance.  It’s an exciting school day for all involved, and a great representation that even in the rivalry, we are truly #OneTribe.
  3. It’s not just one day, but every month!   In an effort to encourage ALL KCS students to think about their path after high school graduation, KCS staff and students are encouraged to wear their favorite college or career gear on the first Wednesday of each month.  For students from Pre-K through 12th grade, this is just one way we aim to spark conversations and thought about not just graduating from D-B, but truly being college and career ready.  So if you are in one of our schools and see staff sporting their favorite UT, ETSU, Tusculum, Milligan, or other college or KCS gear, now you’ll know why!
  4. We stop to appreciate the people that make such a difference in our students’ lives.  At several times during the spring, we’ll celebrate key individuals that give so much to ensure student success.  January 25-29 is School Board Appreciation Week, February 1-5 is National School Counseling Week, April 11-15 is National Assistant Principals Week, and May 2-6 is Employee Appreciation Week.  We certainly have a lot to celebrate!
  5. There will be many KCS student groups that will step forward to shine this spring.  Among them, the D-B Orchestra will travel to Indianapolis, IN to participate in the prestigious Orchestra America National Festival from March 10-12.  Only the best of the best are invited to this highly selective event featuring high-level performances and clinics.  It’s quite an honor for our student musicians and instructors!
  6. Graduation 2016 … Save the Date!  It’s never to soon to plan ahead for what is arguably the most significant event of the school year, D-B graduation.  And with the addition to J. Fred Johnson Stadium, there is plenty of seating for all who want to attend.  Come share in this celebration of our students as they conclude their KCS career!  We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 9 a.m.

Don’t forget that school starts back for students on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.