LHS Principal, Bartlett Resigns

Loudon High School principal, John Bartlett, has resigned his position at LHS. In an email released from the central office, Director Wayne Honeycutt reported that  Mr. Bartlett had submitted a letter of resignation effective July 17th. The email went on to report that, Mr. Bartlett will be assuming the duties of Bearden High School Principal in Knox County.

In 2006, Loudon County Director Of Schools Edward Headlee, made the decision not to rehire Bartlett. Bartlett had been LHS's principal for two years. Publicly, Headlee was never very specific why he had decided not to rehire Bartlett. However in a public meeting Headlee stated, "
he would consider the results of an audit currently being done on the school’s books." This suggested that there might be some improprieties with funds managed by the school.

Headlee's decision not to rehire Bartlett ignited a fire storm of support for Principal Bartlett from parents, students and community leaders who turned out in mass at a school board meeting to protest Headlee's decision. Ultimately, Headlee reversed his decision and rehired Mr. Bartlett.

Bartlett will be replacing current Bearden High principal Lynn Hill.

Principals shifting schools in Knox
Nearly one third of lead administrators moving to new posts for 2008-09

By Marti Davis knoxnews.com

From the superintendent's office to the elementary schools, Knox County Schools will have a major turnover in leadership before classes resume in little more than a month.

Nearly a third of Knox County Schools - including Bearden, Gibbs, Fulton and Austin-East high schools - have new principals for the 2008-2009 school year, according to an administrative appointments list released Monday by schools spokesman Russ Oaks. The appointments at Austin-East, Fulton and Gibbs were announced previously.

John Bartlett, principal of Loudon High School, will be principal at Bearden High. He replaces Lyn Hill, who will become principal of Gibbs High, replacing Janice Walker, who is retiring.

With about 2,000 students, Bearden is more than twice the size of Loudon, with 750 students last year, Bartlett said.

"At Loudon education was more individualized. What you have to do in a school much larger is to replicate that. We're going to do everything we can to hold every student to high expectations," Bartlett said.

A graduate of Winston-Salem, N.C., schools who served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Bartlett taught and coached baseball and football in Bledsoe County (Tenn.) Schools before coming to Loudon as principal in 2004.

Bartlett said he had no control over maintenance issues at Loudon High that delayed the start of school in 2007.

"All I could do was beg them to let me start classes," he said.

Asked about progress during his four years at Loudon, Bartlett said he instituted a freshman academy and gender-separate classes in math and English for underclassmen.

"That's not to say I'm going to do that at Bearden. Every school has its own DNA. What may work at Loudon may not work at Bearden High School," said Bartlett, who graduated from Tennessee Temple University and later obtained a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., while principal at Loudon.

A Google search of Bartlett's name revealed a Loudon High School Web site on which he offered his "philosophy of education."

"The ultimate purpose of education is to impart the many skills and knowledge that would enable young people to establish a relationship with Jesus Christ," Bartlett stated on the site.

When asked about that and similar comments, Bartlett said: "I would never bring direct religious beliefs into the classroom, or the school or the hallway. We don't proselytize. We don't beat anybody over the head with anything."

Danni Varlan, an active parent volunteer at Bearden High School, said she's concerned about rapid turnover in leadership at Bearden as well as in other Knox County Schools. She and her husband, Tom Varlan, have had two children graduate from Bearden High and currently have a sophomore and a senior attending Bearden High this fall.

"This is the fourth principal since my kids have been at Bearden High School," she said. Concerns about frequent administrative changes led the family to remove the children from public school during their middle school years, she added.

Oaks said this year's administrative changes aren't unusual.

"It hasn't been unusual in the past for the creation of some vacancies to mean as many as 25 or 30 principal reassignments, because of the domino effect, principals moving from a small school to a larger school," he added.

The school system's new superintendent, Jim McIntyre, began his job on Monday.