A new face with deep roots… Minton steps into the role of Elizabethton High principal

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, July 10, 2019




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When kids return to the classroom at Elizabethton High School, one of the first immediate changes they will notice is that a new face has taken the helm as the school’s new principal in Jon Minton.

And while Minton will be new to many at the school, he has deep ties and roots in Carter County where he grew up as a student/athlete at Unaka High School and after graduating college, Minton came back to start his educational mentoring journey.

“I spent probably 14 years in Carter County both in the classroom as a school counselor, as a coach, assistant coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal,” said Minton about the journey that started him on his way to being a principal.

“I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to be an administrator at Science Hill in Johnson City for the last couple of years.

“Truly a good part of my career has been at the high school level in some capacity,” Minton continued. “I just feel like high school is my passion and that’s where I fit.

“Everybody in our career or profession, if you ask them they will tell you there are just certain things that feel like it just fits them and high school is where I feel like I fit. I have had some really good experiences and I am extremely thankful for those experiences to build off of.”

While many may allow a title or position go to their heads, Minton readily admits that to be successful in any facet of life, one has to be willing to work together as a team — it’s not just about one person.

“Energy and perspective — I believe those are a couple of things that I can bring to the table,” said Minton. “I am a team guy, that’s just how I have always thought. I don’t know everything and I never will.

“I believe in building and depending on the capacity of others.

“I have followed Elizabethton High School closely over my career obviously so the accomplishments in the arts, the athletics, academics, CTE and all the things Elizabethton has been able to do in a small town like we live in with the great community support we have speaks for itself.

“I don’t know if I will have as much to bring here as much as they will be able to bring to me.”

Just like any new position, Minton realizes there will be challenges to be faced in the early going especially in creating the type of identity that Elizabethton High School wants to establish in their graduates when that time comes for them to cross the stage.

“I think just learning about where we want to go is a challenge,” Minton stated. “I think everybody wants to feel comfortable with where they are going to go and the tools and resources they are going to have and what the end product is going to be.

“We have to cast out a vision of what we want our graduates to look like and then work on how to get there together which is going to consume a lot of our time,” Minton continued. “School happens fast and once it gets on us, it’s here.

“A lot is going on and kids have a ton of opportunities here and as many as we can possibly give them, we are going to provide them with so they are ready for a competitive workforce.

“Whether it’s a post-secondary opportunity in a local job or a regional opportunity, college, technical school, or competing local for a job, students have that opportunity now.

“A lot of things have changed so we just have to think about how we want our students to look when they walk out the door and make sure that we have done everything that we can possibly do to help them be ready.”

Not only does Minton want the students to have the best possible opportunities when they graduate but he also feels that it is essential that the staff seek out opportunities to make them better in the positions they hold.

“I think that we have to create engaging development opportunities for ourselves,” Minton said. “We have to go out and find out what works.

“There’s a wealth of information and experience already here. It’s a combination of things. There are traditional practices about what goes on in a classroom in a school that will never change.

“And those have a lot to do about being passionate about students learning. If your heart and your mind are in the right place, then the vehicle in which you travel to get to that destination can look a lot different in different places.

“We have to create engaging opportunities for our kids in the classroom because that’s what they deserve and that’s what is out there in the real world.”

When students arrive on campus or when parents visit, the one thing that will top priority will make sure they know they have an open door to their new principal.

“I want them to be comfortable, I want our school to be safe and our community to be safe — that is our top priority,” Minton went on to say. “I want the kids to feel comfortable to approach us with questions and ideas and with challenges.

“I want Elizabethton High School to feel like home to our students.”

Minton’s wife, Cassie, works in the school system as well as a Pre-K teacher at East Side in the Wandell Early Learning Center.

Their two children, Sydnee (8) and Rylee (6), attend school at East Side as well.

Minton’s staff will be no strangers to returning students and parents as Sherri Nelson and Tom Hopson will serve as assistant principals.