Kingsport schools plan Educators Hall of Fame

Rick Wagner • Jun 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

If you had a teacher or other Kingsport City Schools employee who taught you well and made a difference in your life and those of others, you soon may have a chance to help give that person recognition.

The school system is in the process of creating an Educators Hall of Fame, with the first class of six inductees to be named in July 2015.

School system Chief Information Officer Andy True rolled out a draft of the plan to the Board of Education Thursday night, seeking input from the board.

The HOF would be open to all employees, not just teachers.

Each year, two would be named in three categories: Legacy, who retired before 1950; Tradition, who retired from 1950 to 1990; and the Modern Era, who retired from 1991 forward.

However, a KCS employee would have to have been with the system for at least five years and retired for at least three years to be considered, with retirement considered the year the employee ceased continual employment with KCS.

A selection committee would be the superintendent, an administrator, three certified employees, two classified employees, two at-large employees, two from the Dobyns-Bennett High School Alumni Association, three from the Retired Teachers Association, one from the BOE, two from the community and/or appointed by the mayor and, starting in 2016, three from the HOF membership.

Until then, True said that staff could fill those positions.

The plan is for the HOF to have plans finalized in time for a rollout in the fall, maybe September, with the first nominations due by June 1, 2015. The committee would vote each nominee up or down by June 15, and those with 75 percent or more thumbs-up would move forward and have biographies written by committee members.

Those potential honorees would be considered by the full committee in July, and those among that group with an 80 percent thumbs-up would be in the final group from which the committee would choose two for each time period. The winners would be notified by July 8 and be inducted at the teacher convocation in late July, with photos or likenesses to be displayed at the Administrative Support Center.

Plans are to identify the committee by Sept. 1 and market the HOF in October, with the committee meeting in May of 2015 and then beginning its work in June of that year.

BOE member Betsy Cooper and President Carrie Upshaw suggested prioritizing or choosing a "top five" group of nominees getting a thumbs-up vote, saying that they otherwise feared the committee might have to do biographies and consider hundreds of nominees closely.

Also, member Andy King said he thought five years was too short a service time. True said it was chosen as a minimum, but King suggested 10 years. Vice President Susan Lodal said some KCS employees might have left lasting impacts but had to move because a spouse got a job elsewhere or other reasons.

Also, Cooper questioned if the nominees had to retire or could go ahead to work at another system or in another job. True said that wasn't envisioned as a problem, so BOE members said the language could be changed to say retire and/or left the continual employment of the school system.

He also said there was not a proposed limit on nominees who don't get in the first time being nominated multiple times in the future after that.

Lodal also questioned the size of the committee, but True said the idea was to get a wide variety of folks without being unmanageable.

Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said the item will come before the board later for a vote. Eventually, the HOF might be put under the stewardship of a proposed KCS foundation, which school leaders are thinking about pursuing.

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