New KCS superintendent: ‘School safety has to be our number one priority’
The new Knox County Schools superintendent, Dr. Jon Rysewyk, said on Monday he has goals for the school system to continue soaring to success.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The new Knox County Schools superintendent, Dr. Jon Rysewyk, said on Monday he has goals for the school system to continue soaring to success.
“School safety has to be our number one priority. You know, we are an academic--we are preparing students for their careers after high school is the most important thing that we do, but we can’t do that if we’re not in a safe environment,” Rysewyk said.
He said he met last week with a new class of officers, and he “could really see just really impressed with how they’re not just being trained to just protect, and to look for things in school, but really how to de-escalate how to really have conversations with parents and students and really have their best interest at heart,” Rysewyk said. “I can really appreciate what they’re doing.”
Also, he appreciates KCS’s partnership with Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Knoxville Police Department and wants to keep an open dialogue with them.
“Anything we can do to continue to learn to be better, we’ll continue to do,” Rysewyk said.
Rysewyk said it was a priority to prepare students for life after high school, not just graduate, but find a successful next chapter, whether enlisting, enrolling in college or beginning a career.
To accomplish that goal, he believes in excellence in foundational skills. He said he sees that in the summer learning programs. Additionally, he wants there to be career empowerment and preparation for high school students.
Third, Rysewyk said he knew the importance of having great educators in every building, and said he wanted success for all students, which means recognizing students have different obstacles from one another and it’s KCS’s job to remove those to be successful.
When retaining and recruiting teachers, Rysewyk said he plans to keep the same focus on teacher compensation and bring that up annually.
“If teachers know they’re making a difference and they have the resources to do that. I think that’s what really makes them want to stay and be a part of something bigger than themselves, they have the heart to want to do that,” Rysewyk explained.
He also said he recognizes fewer people are going into the profession, so staff are looking at alternative certifications and ways people can become teachers.
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