In upwards of 200 first year and new-to-Rutherford County educators gathered at Siegel High School on Monday for a series of sessions welcoming, introducing and preparing them to teach in one of the most progressive public-school districts in Tennessee.
Teachers were divided by grade bands and participated in sessions led by district-level administrators ranging from 30 minutes to an hour each.
Topics ranged from classroom management and communication to everything from evaluations and instructional strategies along with testing and assessment.
The annual Academy to Support, Sustain, and Induct Successful Teachers conference concluded with Director of Schools Bill Spurlock and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Jimmy Sullivan addressing the new educators in the auditorium.
“Since I have been in our school system,” said Spurlock, who began his teaching career in 1989, “I have never seen a better instructional staff.”
The former science teacher and longtime administrator praised the entire instructional staff saying they have “come a long way” and wished he had a staff like the one assembled by Sullivan to lean on when he was a newcomer to the profession.
The fourth-year director noted last year was like no other.
Over the past 18 months administrators have problem solved, listened, provided answers and engaged in conversations. Spurlock went to explain the instructional staff is there to “help you go wherever you want to go” as a professional educator and “will do everything they can for you to grow” as an educator.
He was honest in telling them upfront there will be days they question themselves, but Sullivan, who was a newcomer to Rutherford County Schools 16 years ago, added, “I whole heartedly believe you chose this career (and) you chose Rutherford County to make a difference for your kids. You are supposed to be sitting here.”
“We have some great young people in our schools,” concluded Spurlock, as he looked out over a group of educators who are on the cusp of their first year of teaching. “We’re thankful that you chose us.”