Three more inducted into Kingsport City Schools Hall of Fame

Rick Wagner • Jul 30, 2019 at 8:45 PM

KINGSPORT — What do a former Latin teacher, former band director and former high school principal have in common? The three each spent 40 years in education, mostly at Dobyns-Bennett High School, and comprise the 2019 class of the Kingsport City Schools Hall of Fame.

Inducted Tuesday at the end of the teacher convocation at the Eastman Employee Center, the three were later honored at a luncheon. For more information on the Kingsport City Schools Hall of Fame, go online to www.k12k.com. 


Grace Elmore retired in 1962 after 35 years with Kingsport City Schools and more than 40 years in education. She began her Kingsport teaching career in 1927. Elmore was posthumously elected in the Legacy Era category, which are those retired 50 years or more from induction.

“During her tenure, she taught Latin at Dobyns-Bennett High School and served as the Beta Club sponsor. She was well-known for providing a deep level of immersion for her students in Roman culture and history, including staging events such as a Roman banquet at the Civic Auditorium,” Assistant Superintendent of Schools Andy True said. 


Jewell “J.S.” Tilson retired in 1986 after 38 years in education, with 18 of those with KCS. He was posthumously elected in the Tradition Era category, retired 25 to 49 years from induction.

“He served as the band director at Dobyns-Bennett High School and Sevier Middle School, with other musical director positions in Chattanooga, Elizabethton, and at Washington College Academy,” True said. “Mr. Tilson’s bands were recognized for their outstanding concert and marching performance abilities. Under his leadership, the D-B band become one of the first in Tennessee to travel internationally, including trips to Austria, Spain and Europe.” In 1972, D-B received the Minister of Education Award for Musical Performance at the International Band Festival in Vienna.

Tilson also served as a longtime clinician and judge at musical competitions through the South, served as president of the Tennessee Bandmasters Association and held membership in the East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, National Band Association and Music Educators National Conference. Tilson was a member of Phi Beta Mu and was inducted into the Tennessee Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 2006. 


Earl Lovelace retired in 2009 after a 40-year career in education as a teacher and principal. He served for six years as the principal at D-B, the school from which he graduated in 1963 as an all-state athlete. He also is member of the D-B Alumni Hall of Fame. Lovelace was elected in the Modern Era category, retired less than 25 years from induction.

“Mr. Lovelace was the first D-B alum to be named principal at the school, and his tenure is marked by his great leadership of teachers and administrators. Many of the individuals he mentored are now serving in leadership positions across the district, including principals and district administrators,” True said. “Through his leadership, D-B experienced one of the most successful periods in school history, including five straight years of being named to Newsweek’s top high schools in the nation list.”

Also under Lovelace’s watch were development of initiatives such as the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program and Advanced Placement, as well as multiple facility initiatives like renovations to the career technical education building, construction of the D-B field house, new facilities for band, orchestra and arts as well as the soccer building and the installation of artificial turf in J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

“They were good people. I just didn’t get in their way,” Lovelace said after the ceremony of his faculty and staff.

“I was just along for the ride. I had some awfully good people,” Lovelace said during the ceremony. “Most principals would have liked to have had the problems I had at D-B.” 

Kingsport Times News Videos