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Reynolds chosen to head Hardin Valley


School principals in the same household for more than three years, Sallee Reynolds said she’s appreciated the non-judgmental tone of her husband and senior principal in experience, Farragut High School’s Michael Reynolds.

However, her recent appointment to become principal at the new Hardin Valley High School from her current post at West High will put Sallee Reynolds at loggerheads, albeit professionally, with her trusted husband of almost 27 years.

“We’ve talked about that at home. He’s got to fight for Farragut High School to maintain the integrity of the school, to keep a good balance with the courses, he’s got to fight for his kids, he’s got to fight for his teachers,” said Sallee, principal at West since December 2003 who has been at the school a combined 16-and-one-half years — 28 years overall as an

educator.

“Just like I will have to do the same thing at my job ... and I’ll begin fighting for Hardin Valley, trying to build something and design programs and curriculums and attitudes and establish traditions,” she added. “And then we know when nighttime comes and we’re home, then that’s the time when we’re there for each other. It’s nothing

personal.

“He’s truly a mentor. He’s a wonderful, wonderful man.”

Michael Reynolds, serving his third year at FHS following seven as principal at Fulton High, said he was “really surprised” about his wife’s new job, given “I knew she hadn’t applied for it.

“Sallee knows how much I care about my staff and students and I’ll fight for my school,” he said. “And I understand she’s got the same thing. Talking about issues of zoning, we’re still going to fight to keep our population up to have the programs we need here regardless of who’s principal at Hardin Valley.”

However, “being a sister school, it would make it easier to work with that individual,” the FHS principal added. “She knows the time commitment and what it takes to be committed to the profession.”

During personal time, their relationship “gives you a kind of sounding board for ideas,” he said.

About the HVHS opportunity, “I was stunned, I wasn’t expecting it,” Sallee Reynolds recalled when first approached about the job in early February. She accepted the new post Feb. 12.

With regrets about leaving West, “It’s bitter-sweet, but it’s such an exciting opportunity, considering a brand new high school hasn’t been built since Doyle High School about forty years ago,” she said. “The chance of a lifetime.”

Appointed by Knox County Schools superintendent Dr. Charles Lindsey, “A lot of prayer helped me decide, ‘is this is something I need to do, is it something I can do?’” she said, adding her religious faith “gets me through every day, and that’s what I think got me into education to start with.”

Overseeing a school of 1,500 students at West, Sallee Reynolds said she’s prepared for between 1,300 and 2,100 students when HVHS opens in fall 2008.

Leaving West at the end of the 2006-07 year to assume the Hardin Valley post — yet having one school year before the new school’s doors are schedule to open — Sallee Reynolds said she’ll begin hiring staff next fall.

The new HVHS principal said she’ll have “I think, quite a bit” of input on both the physical and academic make-up of the new school, adding she’ll lean on a “team” of schools system advisors.

“I will be working very, very closely with the architects and contractors getting this school built,” she said. “I will be designing programs of what that school’s going to look like. It is going to look like your traditional high school, or are we going to look at other programs that are in existence in other parts of the country? Are we going to look at the academy structure?”

Athletically, “I want a full athletic program,” Sallee said, adding she and Michael are both big sports fans who regularly attend their schools’ games and meets. Both are former high school assistant coaches.

A Webb School of Knoxville graduate, Sallee earned a bachelor’s degree, “a join elementary-secondary math degree” from The University of Tennessee in the early 1980s, then earned a master’s degree in administration from UT in 2000.

Sallee and Michael Reynolds met at UT — “where, if anything, she got me interested in the education field,” said Michael, earning a psychology degree in 1980.

Their profession paths came together as husband-and-wife at Knoxville Catholic. Sallee’s teaching career began at KCHS in 1981, where she taught math eight years before moving to West, while Michael began teaching at KCHS in 1983 before leaving that same year, 1989, to teach at Farragut High.

Whatever number of students Farragut loses to Hardin Valley in the eventual zoning shifts, “I’ll be giving them up to somebody’s I’ve trusted my own kids with,” Michael Reynolds said.

 

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