The Knox County Principal for a Day event is a time-honored tradition, where school administrators open their doors to community leaders to experience a day in the life of a KCS principal and create partnerships with area leaders.

Over the course of the day, guests may have visited classrooms to observe high-quality teaching and learning, sit in on staff meetings to become immersed in the school culture, or speak to students about their industry experiences.

“We had a great time with our guests highlighting the amazing work that my staff and students do on a daily basis,” said New Hopewell Elementary Principal Sarah Mercer.

A local business professional and an individual running for office spent the day in the South Knoxville school learning from the teachers and providing their expertise.

“We spoke to our partners regarding some of New Hopewell’s current needs, and it was great to hear their perspectives,” Mercer said.

The needs of KCS schools are all different, but many lack volunteers for service projects, funding for positive behavior incentives, or staff to fill support positions. Some needs – like new equipment for gym class or bringing lunch for teachers – can be easily accomplished with the help of a generous person, while others – like a building expansion – take an entire community working together with a conscious effort to make change for their local kids. 

Savannah Price, a real estate agent, said she couldn’t wait to form this partnership with NHES, as her own children will one day attend the school.

“I really want to focus on the whole ‘bloom where you’re planted’ concept,” Price said. “I’m already thinking of all the things I can do in this partnership, like encouraging people to participate in a drive for supplies, or we could sponsor a program, or get the community to rally around our schools, which is a really big deal.”

Following a day at school, principals and their guests attended a luncheon and feedback session where attendees were encouraged to share insights from their visits.

For many, this was the first time they’d been back in a school building since their own high school graduation. For all, the experience was eye-opening.

“The one thing that stood out to me the most was that we’re reaching all of our students,” said Carlos Lopez, the Spanish Voice of the Vols. “That’s really important because, if you’re like me, you’re still trying to find that place where you belong. At Career Magnet Academy, they are giving those students the opportunity to explore many things under the same roof. 

The Partners in Education president, Adam Wilson, also announced a new membership program to encourage business professionals to become more involved in supporting KCS schools. 

“I am most excited about the immediate and far-reaching impact the Partners In Education Membership Program will produce,” Wilson said. “PIE exists to make a difference and we designed this program to be the best way we can impact every student at every school in KCS.”

Organizations can learn more about the PIE Membership Program here, and view a list of KCS school needs here.

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