During his first school year as the new superintendent of the Knox County school district, Kelly Sprinkles has already put his thumb print on what he wants for the students in his district. A native of Knox County, Sprinkles hit the ground running to define the district’s identity and plan for its future.
“It’s about giving every child a chance to be a leader and a chance at a better future,” Sprinkles said. The district’s new mission statement is ‘Inspiring Leaders and Changing Futures…One Child at a Time’.
Sprinkles explained that the word leader does not necessarily mean a head position within a business or organization or political position; rather, it can be as simple – but as powerful – as a leader in their own home and in their own community.
That is why he is turning to students for guidance as he leads the district. In early fall, the district issued a call for students to step up and be an advocate for their peers by joining the Superintendent Sprinkles’ Student Advisory Committee. At its first meeting, students shared concerns and ideas for improvement.
Sprinkles states that every decision must be based on what is best for the district’s 4,500 students. Last fall, the Knox County Board of Education entered into a lease agreement to purchase ten new air conditioned school buses, the first for the district’s transportation department which logs more than 1,000 miles per day. At the beginning of the school year, the district launched Project Lead the Way biomedical science classes at its two high schools with the goal of meeting the need for medical professionals in the region. A new partnership with Union College, a private liberal arts institution, also launched in August, will allow students to earn up to 29 college credit hours while in high school. Within the next year, Knox County hopes to expand its early college initiative to include more courses and more students participating.
“One child at a time”, Sprinkles said while listing current and planned initiatives that will impact student achievement in the district. “We will continue to seek partnerships and add opportunities that will change the future for our students and our community.”