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Two new faces as assistant principals at Farragut schools
New year brings changes at Farragut Intermediate and Primary schools

Knox County Schools recently promoted two Farragut classroom teachers to assistant principals.

Beginning in January 2004, Kay Wellons became assistant principal at Farragut Intermediate School and Mardee Miller became assistant principal at Farragut Primary School.

Both Wellons and Miller were previously classroom teachers (fourth and second grades, respectively) at FIS and FPS.

Wellons replaced Margie Kincaid, who is now Knox County Schools elementary supervisor. Miller replaced Susan Dunlap, who was transferred to Bearden Elementary School as its new principal.

Wellons was born and raised in Farragut, and is a product of Farragut schools. In turn, her three sons also graduated from the Farragut schools.

Wellons feels passionate about the high quality of public schools, which she said provide a good foundation for self-discovery for a majority of students. As for Farragut schools in particular, “They’ve done a wonderful job to produce students who are capable of so many wonderful things.”

In addition, Wellons said she is passionate about wanting to continue the excellent programs found at FIS, which include professional development for teachers and delivering a good curriculum to every student.

Wellons describes herself as “kind of jumpy. I just seem to dive right in.”

Diving right into cartwheels may well be what Wellons is best remembered for as a teacher at FIS. For years she has followed through on a promise made to her students that she would do a cartwheel for them at the end of the school year if they met their math and reading goals. Since Wellons started out the year as a teacher, her students expect her to make good on that promise, even though she is no longer in the classroom.

“I will turn a cartwheel for them, I’m sure,” she said.

Hoping to remain at FIS indefinitely, Wellons said she has no further aspirations than to be of service wherever she is assigned.

“I believe in doing your best at whatever task is at hand. I can’t be any other type of leader other than a servant leader, and anything I can possibly do to serve parents, children, educators, I want to do.”

She added, “I will have had the best career if I can have my thirty years as a teacher and retire as assistant principal at Farragut Intermediate.”

FPS assistant principal Mardee Miller was born and raised in Terre Haute, Ind.

She comes from a family of educators (both parents and two sisters are currently in education), and has taught in Knox County since 1989.

Miller left Dogwood Elementary as assistant principal just after the beginning of the 2003-04 school year to re-enter the classroom as a second-grade teacher at FPS.

“Farragut Primary got into an overcrowded situation. They created a brand new second grade, which was a unique situation. That had never happened at Farragut Primary,” Miller said.

At the close of the first semester, many system-wide retirements created transfers and opportunities for teachers and administrators, including Miller, whose goal is to someday be an elementary school principal.

“I really anticipated coming to spend the whole year as a second-grade teacher (at FPS),” Miller said, “and my first love is the classroom, but I want to serve wherever I’m needed.”

Miller added that leaving her students was bittersweet. However, knowing she could stay at FPS was a big factor in her acceptance of the assistant principal position.

“I like to make a difference in school. I can think of nothing to make a difference in the greatest number of children than (being) a school administrator.”

Although Miller describes herself as being “high energy, overall a positive person” who loves to have fun, she takes on a serious demeanor as assistant principal-turned-disciplinarian.

“When a student is in trouble, I always get the glasses,” Miller said, referring to her oversized reading glasses that she doesn’t need for vision. “I think they’re very effective. I never use them for anything else than staring at my students.”

Miller said she has a hard time keeping a straight face when staring down recalcitrant students, and “now they’ll know my secret,” she said.

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