Lodal, Reed-Wright leaving Kingsport school board; Welch, Byers set to join

Rick Wagner • Jul 9, 2019 at 11:58 AM

KINGSPORT — With a combined school board experience of 20 years, former Kingsport Board of Education President Susan Lodal and former Vice President Karen Reed-Wright are leaving the board, to be replaced by new board members Jim Welch and Julie Byers.

A reception for Lodal, who did not seek re-election, is set for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. Board of Education meeting on the third floor of the Kingsport City Schools Administrative Support Center. At the meeting, Welch, a retired Robinson Middle School teacher and coach, and Byers, an  Eastman Chemical Co. retiree, are to be sworn in. Joining them will be re-elected member Todd Golden.

Rounding out the new board will be current President Carrie Upshaw, Vice President Golden and member Eric Hyche, the latter two seats to be on the 2021 city election ballot. During the reorganization portion of the meeting, the board will elect a president and vice president.


Lodal was first elected to the Board in 2003 and is concluding her fourth four-year term, totaling 16 years, which included multiple terms as board president.

While serving on the board, Lodal has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2014 Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Scholars Circle Award and the 2013 Ambassadors for Education Certified, Master, Diamond and Platinum Level Awards. She is also a past president of the TSBA. She was treasurer in  2012, vice president in 2013, president-elect in 2014 and president in 2015.

“I got an education every time I have been in a car together” with Lodal, Upshaw said at the June 20 school board meeting. 

“She knows every single (TSBA) board member and TSBA official,” Upshaw said. “I am a better board member for having served with her.”

Lodal said she and her husband plan to spend time with their grandchildren and travel.

Lodal received the National School Boards Association Distinguished Service Award in 2007, 2010 and 2012, the TSBA Hal Henard Distinguished Service Award in 2010 and was named to the TSBA’s All Tennessee School Board in 2010. She has served as the chairwoman of the Tennessee Legislative Network and member-at-large of the TSBA Board of Directors (2007-08) as well as being a member of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. Lodal is a Master or Level V school board member, the highest designation bestowed by the TSBA.


Reed-Wright, a Ph.D., was elected to the Board in 2015 and is concluding a four-year term.

During her years with Kingsport City Schools, Dr. Reed-Wright was an elementary and middle school teacher, a peer evaluator, a staff development coordinator, a reading coach and an interim principal. For eight years, she worked as the literacy coordinator and was communications coordinator when the new Washington Elementary was first opened. Dr. Reed-Wright has also traveled within and outside the state as a consultant providing workshops in both reading and mathematics.

“I only spent four years on the board, but I came to KCS in 1972,” Reed-Wright said at the June 20 meeting. “So my journey has been long, and I think it’s time to finally retire.” Reed-Wright is “just an all-around supporter and cheerleader for Kingsport City Schools,” Upshaw said. 

Reed-Wright 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, Reed-Wright achieved Career Ladder III distinction, and in 2000, at the White House, then-President Bill Clinton presented her with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science.

Reed-Wright was named a national board certified teacher in 1999 and was selected as a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Field of Education in 2007. Most recently,  Reed-Wright was recognized as one of more than 100 members of the Junior League of Kingsport Women of Impact during the Kingsport Centennial Celebration in 2017.

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