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Fulford new assistant principal at Farragut Middle

Farragut Middle School has a new assistant principal this year, replacing Karen Harrel, who made the transition to principal of South-Doyle Middle School.Richard Fulford is a graduate and former pole-vault record-holder from The University of Tennessee, and after living in Virginia for 10 years post-graduation, he has returned to Knox County.

“I knew the reputation of Farragut schools and West Knoxville in general from when I lived here 10 years ago. When we returned to Knoxville, even if my job had been in East Knoxville, we would have sought housing in West Knoxville.

We are impressed with the community, the schools, and the fact that there’s a low crime rate – there’re a lot of benefits to living in the Farragut area,” Fulford said. “I was always interested in returning to Knox County. I lived here from [1987] to [1997] while in college and then later on. My wife and I went to Virginia so she could pursue her master’s [degree] in physical therapy. We thought we’d be returning to Knoxville in about two years. … Finally 10 years later we were able to do so.”

He said he didn’t apply for the FMS position originally.

“Actually Farragut [Middle School] just kind of came available. I didn’t specifically apply to Farragut at first. … I’m very humbled by the fact that I was offered this position. When I interviewed with Knox County, I told them I would go where they needed me most. To be offered the job at what I consider the premiere middle school in Knox County, I was really humbled that they offered it to me,” he added. “I was fortunate enough to get the blessing of a good position.

“There is a great staff in place here. It’s a great school, and that’s because there are great children here. There’re a number of great teachers that pour their heart into the school and the children. There’re great parents here, great parental support.”

Fulford said he would have understood a cold reception at first, but that has not been his experience.

“I’ve received a warm welcome from everyone so far. They’ve really taken me under their wing and are looking out for me already. Everyone’s so friendly. I was a little concerned, coming from outside the system. In education, most be are hired [for administration positions] by moving up the ranks, and I understood how that worked,” he said. “At the same time, I told my principal [Richard Dalhaus] in the hiring process that I related it to the football team at U-T. If they just recruited in the state they probably wouldn’t be very good, so they went out and recruited nationwide. They try to get the best talent from all over.

“The same thing could apply here. I thought that being outside the system there would be a little bit of resentment, which would have been understood. But everyone has really welcomed me. I don’t feel at all like I’m from outside of Knox County schools. I feel like I’m part of the system and I’m family, and that’s a good feeling.”

Understanding how football works here, “I remind people that Peyton Manning isn’t from Knoxville,” he added.

Fulford is still working to settle into the area.

“We have a contract on a house off Northshore [Drive]. We are looking forward to moving in this month, because my wife is actually due with child number four in the beginning of October,” he said. “I have a 5-year old boy, a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year old boy. The next one will be a boy as well.”


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