Kingsport board taps Greeneville school director — again — to be superintendent

Rick Wagner • Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 9:16 AM

KINGSPORT — The city school board unanimously chose Greeneville Director of Schools Jeffrey R. Moorhouse to be Kingsport City Schools’ superintendent in a called meeting Monday afternoon.

This marks the second time since 2012 the Kingsport Board of Education has tapped a sitting Greeneville superintendent to head the Model City’s school system.

The board, addressing a one-item agenda during a meeting that lasted less than four minutes, voted to follow the recommendation of consultant Wayne Qualls of TEAMS Inc., Tennessee Education and Management Services, to choose Moorhouse. Each of the board members interviewed Moorhouse and five other finalists individually and provided feedback to Qualls, who compiled it.

The vote also was to allow board BOE President Susan Lodal to negotiate a contract with Moorhouse. The board is to vote on the contract at a later meeting. A Facebook Live video of the called Monday meeting can be replayed from the Kingsport Times News Facebook page. Lodal said Qualls, a former Tennessee commissioner of education, did an excellent job in the superintendent search.


A 1987 Johnson County High School honors graduate with a 1991 bachelor’s degree from Milligan College, Moorehouse earned a master of arts in teaching from East Tennessee State University in 1992 and a doctorate in educational leadership from ETSU in 2002. He formally gave his 90-day notice to the Greeneville school system Friday and will not be able to begin in Kingsport until at least 90 days from then, Lodal said after the 5-0 vote.

Moorhouse will replace interim Superintendent Dwain Arnold, who has been in place since August, when Lyle Ailshie left to become a deputy commissioner of education for Tennessee. The board hired Ailshie from Greeneville City Schools in 2012. Lodal said the names of the other five finalists are confidential, which is allowed under Tennessee law when a consultant helps filter candidates. BOE member Todd Golden said the five unnamed finalists also had exemplary experience and backgrounds.


“I believe he’s a good fit for us and comes from a school system that is doing very well and has a similar focus that we do,” Lodal said after the meeting. She also gave five main reasons, strengths he has, as reasons she believes the board voted for Moorhouse:

1. As a principal in Hamblen County at Morristown West High School, he helped get a workforce development grant to fund LEAP 2.0, a program that has spread to other systems, including Hawkins County, Kingsport and Sullivan County.

2. He has an understanding of curriculum, especially a plus with board member Karen Reed-Wright, a retired KCS teacher.

3. He is informed on legislative matters as they pertain to education.

4. He is an active member of TOSS, the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, and helps with its legislative efforts.

5. He has been mentored by Ailshie. “Dr. Ailshie had been mentoring him some the past couple of years,” Lodal said.


Lodal said that his pay and his contract length will be part of the negotiations. Ailshie, when he left the system, had a total compensation package of about $190,000, including a car allowance and use of a cell phone.

Lodal said negotiations could involve a four-year contract, which is the longest allowed in the state for superintendents and directors, with possible extension options. When Ailshie left, his contract had been extended to 2019.


In administration: Moorhouse has been director of Greeneville City Schools since 2015, before that being principal of Morristown West from 2005 to 2015. He also was principal of Manley Elementary School from 2002 to 2005, was a “one-person central office” and oversaw the South Carolina Department of Education educational program for more than 200 residential students in John de la Howe School. From 1996 to 2001, he was an assistant principal at the high school and middle school levels and athletic director at a middle school.

In teaching: from 2013 to 2015, he was a Common Core leadership trainer for high school principals on math and English/language arts standards. From 2005 to 2006, he was an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at ETSU, while from 1992 to 1996 he was a systemwide physical education teacher, a biology and general science teacher and a basketball coach. And in 1991-92, he taught in first and fifth grades in Johnson County.

He also has been a frequent guest lecturer, has been active in various professional organizations and associations, was named East Grand Division Principal of the Year in 2008 and 2012, was dubbed among the “Top 100 Tennessee Educators to Follow on Twitter” and was named Conservation Teacher of the Year by the Unicoi Soil Conservation District. 



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