Kelly Kiser earns tops in East TN
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Nov 06, 2013 | 952 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
School Board
Kelly Kiser
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Mayfield Elementary School’s Kelly Kiser bypassed hundreds of principals across the state to be named one of the top three as East Tennessee Principal of Year.

Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said Kiser has had a successful career in the Cleveland City Schools district.

“He is a great principal. He has now had two staffs. He was at Blythe-Bower Elementary and he is now at Mayfield Elementary,” Ringstaff said. “They become fighting mad if they think we are taking him from there.”

There are approximately 46 school systems with just under 600 schools in East Tennessee. Kiser was initially nominated for Principal of the Year by Lisa Earby. At the time, she said he had served as her mentor when she became a principal.

According to Earby, “His leadership is not just in the building, it is in the school system.”

Ringstaff said Blythe-Bower embraced Kiser when he became principal, which was thought impossible due to the school family’s love for the departing principal.

“He stepped in and filled that void,” board member Steve Morgan said. “He did some new stuff.”

Added board member Dawn Robinson, “We never thought the teachers would be happy with anyone else, but he did it.”

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman was present to honor Kiser and the other seven contenders. Kiser received recognition as one of the top three principals in the state and a monetary award.

Ringstaff congratulated the school board on once again receiving the Board of Distinction honor by the Tennessee School Board Association.

Boards hoping to achieve this honor must meet requirements in four areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. The board must meet and complete the 15 items on the Board of Distinction checklist. The form must be signed by the board chairman and director of city schools.

“I think it is an honor for us to achieve this and I think all of us feel that way,” said board chairman Tom Cloud. “It doesn’t mean anything in a monetary sense. It is just an achievement to show we’ve done something together.”

Robinson said achieving the award helps the school board aim for success.

Supervisor of instruction Jeff Elliott, capacity trainer Melissa Bishop, Ringstaff and Kiser recently presented at the Tennessee Education LEADership conference. The city educators discussed how their district received across-the-board TCAP gains through benchmark testing and curriculum guides.

Almost 200 educators listened to the two presentations.

“Once again Jeff Elliott was spot on, as was Kiser and Melissa Bishop,” Ringstaff said. “The state believes we are doing great things there.”

LEAD was the second conference at which the group spoke. The first set of presentations were conducted at the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents conference. Elliott, Kiser and Bishop recently agreed the TCAP gains were built off of a districtwide belief in making city students successful.

Blythe-Bower Principal Dr. Joel Barnes introduced staff and faculty employees of the month to the school board Monday night.

Barnes began with Barbara Hutchins, Blythe-Bower’s building tech.

“I don’t think we realize when we walk into Blythe-Bower how many classrooms there are and how much technology is in our building and how much it takes to keep all that running to allow our teachers to do what they do every day,” Barnes said. “Ms. Hutchins does a great job making sure teachers have what they need, and are equipped.”

He then transitioned his glowing reviews to guidance counselor Laura Murray.

“Whenever anything comes up I think, ‘Where is Ms. Murray at? She would be great at this.’ She is kind of a guru of all things, and she does a great job at everything,” Barnes said. “She loves our kids and she coordinates lots of things to benefit our students.”