New twist for Bearden / Farragut rivalry

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Former Bearden high school principal Dr. John Bartlett is now on the Farragut side of this long standing West Knoxville rivalry.

A Marine veteran, he's a man of the country, a man of his community, but more importantly, as a high school principal, he's a man of the student says Farragut Athletics Director Donald Dodgen, "He moved his office downstairs and has a door right into the commons and he's always out with the teachers with the students, he really cares about the students and the teachers."

Dodgen and the Farragut High School community welcomed Dr. John Bartlett to Admirals country this past Summer and it's been smooth sailing since:

Smooth sailing yes, but maybe a bit off course this week for Dr. Bartlett. You see, just a couple short years ago John was the principal at nearby Bearden high school. He served in that capacity for a decade and for the first time as top commodore, he'll watch his new sailors square off against his old crew in what is one of the area's fiercest football rivalries. About this years game bartlett said, I have mixed emotions, I love those kids on the other side.I dealt with them since elementary school, first and second grade so it's gonna be fun."

Now while there might be a bit of apprehension about the outcome of the football game, make no mistake, what Dr. Bartlett is quite sure about is the underlying theme of his role, be it at Bearden or Farragut, and that is the well being of his students, "Whether they go to Farragut or Bearden or Hardin valley or Gibbs or Gibbs or Carter or South-Doyle whever they go, they are all our responsibility and they all matter. It's a fierce rivalry on the football field and when we play basketball, but the fact is we're all invested in everyone of these students."

Being a military man, you'd expect discipline to be part of the curriculum with Dr. Bartlett, but it goes much deeper than that. Making sure his kids are growing within their culture and set up for life beyond beyond the walls of high school, is how he measures real success. He adds,
"raising teenagers is very difficult we're raising adults and we're raising our future every one of these students matter and they matter equally so we're gonna invest in them equally."

What's so neat about John is yes, he has the structure of a military man, but he also has a soft heart, especially for those students and those two communities, which he has and will continue to try and make better.