Gardenhour hopes for seamless transition in school leadership

Published 8:55 am Thursday, December 18, 2014

NW1218 Corey Gardenhour

On Jan. 5, the Elizabethton City School system will see a change in leadership, and Corey Gardenhour is ready to take over the reins as the interim system superintendent.
Gardenhour has worked with the city school system since 2008, starting as the principal of West Side Elementary before moving on to other administrative roles at the system’s central office.
Most recently, he works as the director of alternative services, special education/special education transportation, personnel, pre-K-12 curriculum and instruction, Response to Intervention and guidance services and is the complaint manager for 504/Special Education/Title IX.
At the start of the new year, interim superintendent will be added to that list after current superintendent Ed Alexander retires.
“I want to do this because I have had a lot of great experiences in the school system and I care for the parents and the children in the schools,” Gardenhour said. “If I do get to serve as a superintendent, I want it to be in Elizabethton.”
Gardenhour will be working with Alexander during his final days as director to observe during the transition process. He said the goal would be for the transition between directors to be as seamless as possible.
One of the main focuses for the school system will be the continued work on the new stadium and music room and classroom renovations at Elizabethton High School.
“I believe that will be a first-rate facility for the system,” Gardenhour said.
Gardenhour will also be a part of the budget process for the first time as the leader of the system.
“We will continue to manage our resources conservatively,” he said. “We have a viable system that will continue for the future.”
Gardenhour said he looked forward to working on curriculum for students to keep up the student achievements and continue to prepare them for college or career readiness. He said there was also the possibility of a joint Career Technical Education program between the city and county schools.
As interim superintendent, Gardenhour said his focus will be on the students of the Elizabethton City Schools.
“I feel public education is one of the biggest factors in people being able to improve themselves,” he said. “The focus really has to be on the children and giving them the opportunity to stay in the community.”
During his tenure in the city schools, Gardenhour said one of the things he has enjoyed the most is watching children transform during their education process.
“I love seeing them improve and do phenomenal things with their life,” he said. “Our teachers do tremendous things. It is all about helping the students find that extra gear that allows them to truly succeed.”
Some goals Gardenhour has set during his interim tenure is to focus on good communication from the top of the system all the way through the schools and to work with teachers to improve the total education experience for the students. He added he would also like to see a 3-5 percent increase in the state test scores.
“I want to focus on making equal access for all children to have a great education,” Gardenhour said.
Before coming to the Elizabethton City Schools, Gardenhour worked as a classroom teacher in the Kingsport City Schools for seven years and the Johnson City Schools for one year.
He received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Milligan College. He earned an Education Specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2005 and his doctorate in education from East Tennessee State University in 2008.

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