Month: January 2017

Kingsport City Schools will operate on a 2-hour delay on Monday, January 30, 2017.

The Saturday Six “BOE Appreciation” Edition – January 28, 2017

1-28-17Across Tennessee this week, schools and communities are celebrating “Board of Education Appreciation Week,” thanking the women and men that provide leadership to their local school systems.  In Kingsport, we are fortunate to have a Board that is passionate about children, academic and social achievement, and ensuring that Kingsport City Schools continues to help make Kingsport a world-class location to live and work.

In this week’s Saturday Six, we highlight the Kingsport BOE so that you can be aware of the great trustees that give so much to support our children and community!

  1. Mr. Eric Hyche, Board President – 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 ending in 2017. Eric was elected President in July 2016.

    Mr. Hyche is a native of Kingsport, graduating as the 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 his undergraduate degree, Mr. Hyche married Angie Duncan, another Kingsport native, and relocated to Atlanta, GA, where he obtained a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and worked for NCR and Iterated Systems. In 1998, Mr. and Mrs. Hyche moved back to Kingsport and began working remotely for Seattle-based RealNetworks. In April 2013, he joined the technical staff at Groupon, where he currently develops software for their iPhone and iPad apps. Mr. Hyche is also a past president of the Preston Forest Community Association. He enjoys writing software for personal projects, reading, bicycling, and history.

    Mr. Hyche and his wife have two daughters, both of whom attended Kingsport City Schools and who are now in college.


  2. Mrs. Susan Lodal, Board 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.

    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, Mrs. Lodal has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Scholars Circle Award, 2013 Ambassadors for Education Certified, Master, Diamond and Platinum Level Awards, and is a past President of the TSBA (Treasurer 2012, Vice-President 2013, President-Elect 2014, President 2015).  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 designation bestowed by the TSBA.

    Mrs. Lodal continues to volunteer as a tutor in two elementary schools after being involved in PTA for 16 years while her children were attending school. Prior to running for the Bard, she was the Director of Children’s Ministry at Waverly Road Presbyterian Church for 13 years, where she now serves as an Elder and in a leadership position of their food pantry. Mrs. Lodal is a new member of the Health, Safety & Stability Vision Council of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and the French horn section of the First Broad Street United Methodist Church Orchestra.

    Mrs. Lodal and her husband, Peter, have lived in Kingsport since 1977. They have three grown children, all graduates of Kingsport City Schools. Susan and Peter are also the proud grandparents of eight grandchildren.


  3. Mr. Todd Golden, Board 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 ending in 2019.


    Mr. Golden has called Kingsport home for 20 years.  A native of Albany, Georgia, he attended Brigham Young University – Idaho, studying business 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, TN.  He has been an integral part in establishing and executing the annual Day of Service in Kingsport, taught classes at the Kingsport Renaissance Center on business development and Spanish, served as a volunteer in various community roles, is a member of Healthy Kingsport, a member of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, served as a full-time Christian missionary in Colombia for two years, and speaks fluent Spanish.

    Mr. Golden and his wife Melissa have five children, two pre-schoolers and three of that attend Kingsport City Schools.

  4. Dr. Karen Reed-Wright, Board Member – Dr. Reed-Wright was elected to the BOE in 2015 and is serving in her first four-year term on the Board.  She is a lifelong resident of Kingsport and a product of Kingsport City Schools. Karen 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 Kingsport City Schools, Karen 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, Karen 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, Karen 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).

    Karen and her husband, Jim Wright, have a daughter, Peyton. They are members of First Presbyterian Church, Bays Mountain Park Association, Friends of Allandale, and Netherland Inn/Exchange Place. Karen worked as a volunteer for Fun Fest for several years and was the Chairman of Fun Fest 1990 and is a current board member of the Sullivan County Children’s Advocacy Center.

    Dr. Reed-Wright enjoys reading, walking, attending sporting events, and traveling to Massachusetts to visit her daughter and son-in-law.


  5. Mrs. Carrie Updshaw, Immediate Board Past 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. She is a Level IV board member and actively participates in conferences and advocacy at both the state and national level.


    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 grown children, both of whom attended Kingsport City Schools from kindergarten through graduation. Mrs. Upshaw remains an active volunteer in several programs.


  6. Mrs. Vivian Altizer, Board Executive Assistant – We certainly can’t leave out 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 has served as president to the Tennessee School Boards Association’s Tennessee Association of Board Secretaries (TABS).  She has been a member of TABS since 2009, also serving as vice-president from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

The Saturday Six “D-B Homecoming” Edition – January 21, 2017

An exciting and spirit-filled week at Dobyns-Bennett concluded on Friday with Basketball Homecoming in the Buck Van Huss Dome. Let’s take a look at some of the top sights and sounds from this special night in this week’s Saturday Six. Roll Tribe!
1. Coach Bill Francis keeps a close eye on the action in the girls game, as the Lady Indians topped the David Crockett Lady Pioneers 60-36. 


​​The D-B Pep Band is on their A-game getting the Homecoming crowd into the spirit!

3. The award-winning D-B Air Force JROTC squad, looking sharp as always as they present the colors. 

4. ​

​The action on the floor was fast and furious as the Tribe took on the Pioneers of David Crockett High School. Regulation time wasn’t enough to settle the outcome, as the two squads battled into double overtime!

5. Congratulations to the 2017 Basketball Homecoming King and Queen! This year’s honor goes to Chandler Woods and Kensley Henry. 


​ At the final horn in double overtime, the Tribe caps off a clean sweep of the Pioneers (wins for both the JV and Varsity squads for both girls and boys) with an 80-70 victory. Roll Tribe!

Here are some bonus photos from tonight’s Homecoming action!

The Saturday Six “Hall of Fame” Edition – January 14, 2017

The start of a new year also brings the opening of nominations for the Kingsport City Schools Hall of Fame.  The Hall serves as the keystone award for former KCS employees that have significantly impacted the children and educational community of Kingsport.  Now in it’s third year, KCS is seeking outstanding nominees to be recognized.

Were you positively impacted by an outstanding educator while you were a KCS student?  Was your child’s life touched by a wonderful bus driver, cafeteria worker, assistant, or custodian?  Did you see how an effective administrator made a difference in a child’s future?  The KCS Hall of Fame serves to honor ALL employee types, and you can help nominate these worthy employees!

Click here to learn all about the Hall and to nominate a deserving employee for this year’s class.  Please consider who you might want to bring forward for this great honor.  Nominations for this year’s class will be taken online or by mail through May 1, 2017.

Who has already been inducted into the KCS Hall of Fame?  This week, the Saturday Six (plus 1!) looks at the wonderful inductees from the first two HOF classes.

  1. Mrs. Virgealia (Jill) Ellis (2015) – Modern Era Category (Retired post-1990)
    • Mrs. Ellis retired from KCS in 1992 after 38 years of service at Douglass High School, Dobyns-Bennett High School, and Kingsport Adult Education.  During her tenure, she served as a teacher, guidance counselor, and as a district Career Ladder program evaluator.  A pillar in the community, Mrs. Ellis was recognized for her positivity, humility, and service as a role model.
  2. Mr. Charles (Charlie) Herron (2105) – Modern Era Category (Retired post-1990)
    • Serving as the Ross N. Robinson Middle School Band Director for 34 years, Charlie Herron retired from Kingsport City Schools in 2008.  Mr. Herron is widely recognized as being a key figure in the development and excellence of the KCS band program.  Known for his skill as a music educator, Herron emphasized commitment to musicianship and a willingness to work together to achieve excellence.
  3. Mrs. Wanda McJunkin – Tradition Era Category (Retired 1960-1990)
    • Affectionately known by her students as “Mrs. Mac,” Mrs. McJunkin joined KCS in 1949, retiring after 33 years of service at Jackson Elementary and John Sevier Middle School.  McJunkin worked as a long-time physical education and health instructor, as well as the sponsor of the cheerleading squad.  Known for the positive connections she made with students, Mrs. McJunkin was widely regarded as an outstanding classroom teacher, encourager, and motivator.
  4. Mrs. Margaret Bays -Modern Era Category (Retired post-1990)
    • Mrs. Bays retired from KCS in 2010 after more than 58 years in education, 30+ of those years with Kingsport City Schools. During her tenure, Mrs. Bays taught music to thousands of students at Johnson Elementary School. In retirement, she has continued to be involved with music activities at many schools, including volunteering her time and attending district meetings or workshops. Widely known in the field of music education, Mrs. Bays is recognized for her dedication in teaching music, appreciation for its art and skill, and application of musical knowledge to life outside the classroom.
  5. Ms. Elizabeth “Lib” Dudney -Tradition Era Category (Retired 1960-1990)
    • Ms. Dudney retired from KCS in 1985 after serving as a science teacher at both Sevier Junior High and Dobyns-Bennett High School. She also served as sponsor for many clubs and coached girls’ athletic teams. Identified by her students as a creative teacher who made science “a wonderland of curiosity and adventure,” Ms. Dudney was zealous about offering students the best opportunities available to expand their horizons. In her retirement, she was elected to the Kingsport Board of Education, serving in leadership roles as both vice president and president. She also led fundraising efforts to build the D-B Alumni Fieldhouse, a $3 million venture.
  6. Mr. William “Bill” Hull -Modern Era Category (Retired post-1990)
    1. Serving as a teacher of English, Bible literature, and journalism, Mr. Hull also coached football and Scholars Bowl teams, retiring in 2009. Thirty-nine years of his 42 years as an educator were spent at Dobyns-Bennett High School. In 2004, Hull received the Excellence Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for his service at KCS. Hull was widely recognized as an educator who truly cared for his students, who believed in their ability to achieve, and who inspired all students to “keep working and moving forward.”
  7. Mr. Cecil Puckett – Tradition Era Category (Retired 1960-1990)
    • Mr. Cecil “Coach” Puckett joined KCS in 1957 after coaching in other districts and serving in the Armed Forces. Coach Puckett taught and coached at Sevier and Robinson Junior Highs, as well as Dobyns-Bennett High School. In addition, he served as KCS Activities Director for a number of years and coached little league baseball and softball through Eastman’s summer program. A gifted athlete and decorated D-B graduate, Coach Puckett instilled in each student the values of integrity, perseverance, and giving ones’ personal best in all endeavors. He is known as a man who set high moral standards for students and peers to follow, and one who quietly taught and led by example.

The Saturday Six “Snowy Morning” Edition – January 7, 2017

Welcome to a snowy start to 2017!  This week, the Saturday Six thought it would be interesting to share six things that happen behind the scenes on wintry mornings when weather conditions make a KCS schedule change a possibility.  A lot goes into that final decision, always made with student and staff safety in mind!

  1. The KCS inclement weather procedures actually start days before a potential schedule change.  During the winter months, KCS staff continually monitors long-term weather forecasts to be on the lookout for potential weather issues.  In most occasions, staff will be anticipating potential issues up to 5-7 days in advance.
  2. The day before any potential schedule change due to weather, KCS staff, including the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent – Administration, Chief Student Services Officer, and Transportation Director will communicate about the current forecast.  If conditions warrant, a decision regarding a schedule change for the next day may be made the evening before.  If not, communication will continue throughout the evening, including consultation with local meteorologists, sources such as the National Weather Service in Morristown, and the City of Kingsport Public Works department.
  3. The day starts very early when a schedule change is being considered.  A review of current road and weather conditions starts before 4 a.m. Once again, multiple weather sources are consulted to determine the most accurate forecasts, and city road crews are keeping an eye on roads throughout Kingsport.  In addition, the KCS team is also on the roads by 4 a.m., checking out conditions as well.  Getting that first-hand look in our neighborhoods and community is a vital step in making sure the best and safest decision is made.
  4. Around 5 a.m., KCS staff will again communicate to review road conditions and monitor current radar and weather forecasts.  At this time, administration works to make a final decision, based on a combination of the best available information at that time.
  5. If at all possible, staff works to make a final decision regarding any potential schedule change between 5 and 5:30 a.m.  This is necessary for a variety of reasons… KCS transportation, school nutrition, and custodial staff are beginning the process of reporting to work in this timeframe.  Bus transportation begins around 6 a.m., and by that time, school nutrition staff is already beginning the process of preparing breakfasts and custodial staff is working hard to prep schools across KCS.  If a change is to be made to the schedule, it is important that these folks are aware.
  6. Additionally, families and students certainly need to know of any schedule change as soon as possible.  If a change is to be made, the KCS communications staff begins to do its work immediately, posting the information to KCS social media, contacting local TV and radio stations, broadcasting the change on WCSK, 90.3 FM, posting the information on the district website at, and sending out a phone call, email, and text message.  The goal is for all communication processes to be complete by 6 a.m., so that the entire Kingsport community is aware of any changes in a timely manner.

Any schedule change affects the entire Kingsport community, and it’s certainly not taken lightly.  However, it is sometime necessary due to important safety concerns.  Decisions are made given the very best information possible at the time, unfortunately without the benefit of hindsight… experience tells us that forecasts and conditions often change quickly during the winter here in northeast Tennessee.  However, we are fortunate to have highly qualified weather experts, a fantastic City Public Works staff, and a world-class KCS custodial staff that support the safety of Kingsport City Schools students and staff.

Have a question about the KCS inclement weather processes?  Leave a question in the comment section, and we’ll do our best to answer it here!