Perry honored for COVID leadership

Mayors Bill Brittain, left, and Gary Chesney, right, honor Dr. Jeff Perry.

Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, was honored Tuesday night by the City of Morristown, Hamblen County and the Hamblen County school board for showing leadership over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain and Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney read a proclamation that both the city and county governments made in honor of Perry. The school board also presented an award to the school superintendent and gave him gift cards for his service.

Perry thanked his staff and those in the administration for the work over the past year, saying it had more to do with them than him.

“If we take any of these recognitions, it’s because of you,” he said.

Perry over the last year served on the Hamblen County COVID-19 Task Force, serving as its spokesman early on, keeping the public updated about what was going on within the county. The school superintendent also played a key role on the task force, constantly updating members on what was going on in the school system.

Dr. Joe Gibson, chairman of the school board, recognized how Hamblen County was one of the few school systems in the state not to have to close schools during the pandemic.

He also acknowledged how the county had a 14 percent infection rate, while the school system had half that much.

“Kids were safer at schools,” he said.

Gibson also acknowledged the decisions that had to be made by Perry.

“I know you’ve made the tough decisions,” Gibson said. “It’s very lonely sometimes at the top. But, that makes a good leader.”

Brittain, before reading the proclamation, also praised Perry for his dedication and commitment during one of the county’s darkest moments.

“You know a good leader when you see one,” he said.