Local  educators nominated for state awards

Two longtime educators have been nominated to progress for state awards, school officials announced Tuesday.

Danny Templin, principal of East Ridge Middle School, has been nominated as Hamblen County Principal of the Year and Jennifer Buchanan, Hamblen County school nutrition supervisor, has been nominated as Supervisor of the Year.

Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, made the announcement Tuesday during the regularly scheduled Hamblen County school board meeting.

Perry said Templin is an outstanding administrator.

“He’s one of our most dependable and reliable administrators we have in Hamblen County.” Perry said during the whole time Templin has kept high standards for himself and those in school. He has outstanding interpersonal skills with students and the community.

Perry said he’s unique that he can communicate well with students. He listens and provides positive direction for his students.

“He’s also very understanding and patient with staff, but at the same time expects them to do the work,” Perry said.

Buchanan has been instrumental since the pandemic started, Perry said.

“She’s just worked relentlessly,” he said.

When schools shut down last March, Buchanan led the efforts to make sure students were still fed breakfast and lunch each day. She has also worked hard to make sure students are fed during the times the school has went to virtual learning.

Perry pointed out one example recently where she helped deliver food to students on Christmas Eve.

“She’s done everything without hesitation or reservation,” he said.

He said she works from early in the morning to late afternoon.

“She believes in what she does and she believes its her responsibility to make it happen,” she said.

Perry also briefed the school board about how the school system is currently using a hybrid virtual optional model. He said the school system could go online only, but Hamblen County chose another option by encouraging those students who can to go online while keeping schools open.

When school came back officially from winter break, the high school and middle school students were encouraged on that option.

“We have a small, small percentage of students to come back,” he said.

Perry also said spectators for sporting events have been cut down to immediate family.

The hybrid online model will continue until the end of the week. Perry said administrators will decide as soon as today whether to continue the hybrid model next week.

Perry also talked to the school board about the calendar for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. He said there are currently questions about whether the school system wants to take two days off of Thanksgiving break and add those days to Christmas break.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, he said he would let teachers and staff vote on their preference and go with the overall sentiment.

The Hamblen County school board is expected to vote on the calendar next month.

Finally, Perry gave an update to construction at West High School to the board. He said the work should be finished within the next 45 days.

He also updated the Hamblen County Commission on the progress on Monday night. Right now, the front facade has been completed, the front reception area and offices are complete and the cafeteria expansion is done.

Restrooms for the gymnasium at West High School are the last thing that needs constructed. Perry said those should be finished within a month.