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New principal Sayers says teachers are “difference makers in a student’s life”

I am humbled and honored to be joining the Bearden High School community and look forward to working alongside you in providing our students with an excellent educational experience and preparation.


My educational career has centered on high school students. It began in 1987 at an inner-city senior high school in Jackson, Michigan, where I taught all levels of science and coached volleyball, boys and girls cross country, and girls track. My husband Kendall and I moved to Knoxville in 1991. I stayed home with our two children for several years before returning to the classroom in January 2002 as an interim biology teacher at West High School.


The following fall, I taught all levels of chemistry, and began the first of my eleven years as an AP teacher. 2008 found me at Hardin Valley Academy, where I served as STEM Academy Dean and lead teacher. I acted as the facilitator for the chemistry and AP/Honors professional learning communities, and taught Honors PWC, Honors Chemistry, and AP Chemistry. During that time, I mentored over 200 Senior Portfolio students and established partnerships with engineers and scientists in the Knoxville/UTK/Oak Ridge corridor.


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I served as an AP reader for four years, a test item writer and reviewer for the ACT/PLAN/Explore tests, and wrote a lab for the AP Chemistry Lab Manual during the re-design of the course in 2013. That fall, I moved to Farragut High School where I served as curriculum principal for two years before traveling across town to Central High School to take on the role of grade level principal.


I firmly believe that the magic happens in the classroom and that teachers are difference-makers in a student’s life. Educators have the extremely

important job of providing our young people with the skills and knowledge to be successful in life after high school - college, career, and participation in our global society. The partnership between parents, community members, teachers, and school support staff will help our children pursue and realize their “grown-up” dreams with Bulldog grit and perseverance.


My two children are beneficiaries of such teamwork. Our son Tyler graduated from West High School in 2009 and our daughter Leslie graduated from Bearden High School in 2010. Both were well prepared for life after high school, going on to earn bachelor’s degrees from UTC and ultimately finding rewarding jobs in their respective fields. I remain grateful to the educators who challenged and supported them along the way. Please know that as principal of Bearden High School, I believe it is my job to treat your children as my own, and to make decisions which will be in their best long-term interest. Working together, I know we can influence our current and future students as profoundly as my own children (especially

my daughter) were impacted.


I look forward to meeting you and learning more about the Bearden High School community.

I am truly excited to say, “Go Dawgs!”

-Debbie Sayers Principal,

Bearden High School

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Arboretum named in honor of Bearden teacher

The Bearden Arboretum was named in honor of retiring teacher Bob Savery. Savery was an educator for 36 years, the last 24 at Bearden, and he developed the popular Wildlife Principles class and wrote the curriculum.


Savery has long been interested in the trees on the campus which has a number of older hardwoods including red and white oak, ash, poplar and an enormous American Holly. All 30 species are now labeled with signage, and the school plans to build a website with mapped images of each tree.


“My goal was to honor the legacy that is and always will be Mr. Savery,” said science teacher Tonya Henke. “I can’t possibly duplicate the job he’s done with the Wildlife Principles class, but I promise to put as much heart, passion and love into teaching the students about the natural world as he did.”

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Myers called to Principal’s Office

I am humbled and honored to be joining your community as the principal of Bearden High School and I’d like to share a few things so you can get to know me better personally and professionally.


I have always been passionate about teaching and learning. While my career path led me into administration, I will always feel most at home when working directly with students. My pledge to you is that I will always treat your children as I expect my own children to be treated at school.


During my time in education, I’ve worked in many capacities, but most of my career has been spent working with high school students. My career began at Lenoir City High School in 2004, working with the in school suspension program and coaching football and track and field. In 2008, I moved to Fulton High School to be a special education teacher while continuing coaching. I was appointed to a lead teacher position at Fulton in 2011, and my focus shifted to working with both teachers and students.


I became assistant principal at West High School in 2012 and focused on freshman transition supports before serving as curriculum principal in 2015. I was appointed principal of Knoxville Adaptive Education Center in 2016 and learned how schools could serve the whole child. Each position I have held has taught me countless lessons related to serving students and school communities. I believe that family is a blessing and should always be a priority. I have been married to my wife, Christie, for 15 years and have three daughters. I look forward to learning all about you, your school, and your community. I am truly excited to say…Go Bulldogs!


Jason Myers

Principal, Bearden High School

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​Bartlett accepts new position with

Knox County Schools

By: Dr. John Bartlett

Wow, where has time gone? Ten years ago, I was honored to be named principal at Bearden High School. Since then, I never once “had” to go to work. Every day I was at Bearden I was living out my dream. I had the privilege of working with and leading some of the finest educators in the world, great people that love students and challenge them to be their very best. Getting to know so many fantastic young people was also a privilege. It makes me proud to see BHS graduates impacting the world around them in their chosen

occupations and working to improve their communities.

The Bearden community has become my home and it was a very difficult decision to accept the position as Secondary Supervisor for Knox County Schools. However, I am passionate about developing educational leaders, enabling principals and teachers to positively impact students by developing outstanding school culture, developing student leadership, and empowering students through

purposeful and intentional learning activities. The Secondary Supervisor position will be an opportunity for me to take the lessons learned at Bearden over the past 10 years and help influence the work being done on campuses across Knox County.


I want to express my deep, sincere appreciation to all of the parents who supported Bearden High School during my time as principal. You volunteered at BHS, served on the BHS Foundation Board, PTSO Board, led community events for BHS, attended athletic events,attended choral and band concerts, or showed support by making sure your student was in school and engaged in the learning process. Thank you to the students who made a personal difference in my life. I learned many lessons from them about life, faith, love and our culture.

I am pleased to say this is not good-bye; I’m just moving to a different office. I will continue to serve the students and families of Knox County and I know there are great things ahead for Bearden High School.

​The Principal's Perspective

By: Dr. John Bartlett

A few years ago, I was asked to write an introduction to the BHS Foundation Newsletter. In that letter, I discussed the importance of the Foundation and the support the Foundation provides for all of the students and teachers at Bearden High School. The truth is, I am not sure I can say it better than I did in the previous letter. However, I want to very personally and emphatically say how appreciative I am for Buddy Heins and his leadership along with the truly dedicated members of the Foundation Board of Directors. Many of those members no longer have a student at Bearden High School, but remained engaged because of their love for this school and community. Their guidance and immense wisdom is the foundation for a very successful school support organization.

Every October parents, alumnae, and members of the Bearden community receive a letter and a phone call from the Bearden High School Foundation requesting support for the students and staff at BHS. These phone calls result in generous members of our community supporting the instructional needs of all of our students and staff to further the mission of Bearden High School. Another outcome of these phone calls is the reoccurring question, “Why a Foundation?”

To have a great American High School some things must be in place:

  1. A feeder program that is preparing students to do very well at the high school level. At Bearden High School, we are extremely blessed to have one of the best feeder systems in the state. The vast majority of our students come from Bearden Middle and West Valley Middle Schools. These two schools along with the multiple feeder elementary schools have done and continue to do a great job preparing future BHS students.

  2. A vibrant, dynamic, and competent staff. Hiring and supporting our staff is the most important part of what a school administrator does. I am very proud to say that we have the best staff in Tennessee and continue to recruit and retain great teachers.

  3. A great high school cannot survive and thrive without community support. At Bearden High School, the BHS Foundation is a key component to community support. The Foundation plays some vital roles in providing this support:


a. Financial- The financial support that the Foundation provides is essential to furthering our students’ education. From providing much needed science lab equipment, technology for the physics lab, or a classroom supply of additional textbooks, the Foundation equips the great work of our teachers.

b. Ambassadors- The BHS Foundation acts as ambassadors for Bearden High School and the Knox County School System throughout our community. This role becomes increasingly important as public education evolves to better equip our students to compete in the economy of the next 100 years.

As a principal, I am blessed to start my ninth year at Bearden High School. During that time, the development and support of the BHS Foundation and its officers have served continually as an encouragement to me. In summary, the BHS Foundation is an essential part of striving for excellence for every Bearden Bulldog.

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