Dr. Penny Schwinn set a goal for her first year as Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner, and on Wednesday, she moved closer to reaching it with visits to the Greeneville and Greene County school systems.
Schwinn began her day visiting EastView Elementary School. She then spent time at Chuckey-Doak Middle School as part of her travels across the state to accomplish her priority of visiting schools in every district.
The Education Commissioner, who started her job in February, plans to spend time in at least one school in the state’s 100-plus public school systems over the next year.
“When I came to Tennessee, I was told that each section — East, Middle and West ‚ was different, Schwinn said. “But every district is different, like communities differ from one another. By visiting schools, I can talk teachers and students to be better able to see the big picture of what needs to be done on the state level. I learn something in every school I visit.”
Speaking in a history class at Chuckey-Doak Middle, the commissioner said her school visits allow her to personally talk to teachers and students.
She began her visit at EastView in the Greeneville school system and was guided by new school principal Kelly Ford to a number of classrooms.
Her first stop was in Gina Broyles’ fifth-grade class, where Schwinn sat down at a table of students who explained their assignments for the morning. This included watching a video on their laptops, answering questions and reading a chapter in the novel assigned to them.
That pattern followed in each of the classes that she visited. Schwinn helped students answer questions about precipitation in Christie Carter’s science course and encouraged kindergarteners in Lynette Hill’s class as they read a book.
Schwinn also asked questions of the teachers about their classrooms, like when fourth-grade teacher Amber Justis demonstrated a program she uses to provide instruction for students making daily journal entries. She also stopped in Lorraine Amos’ classroom to thank the teacher, who is retiring, for her years of service.
After leaving EastView, Schwinn traveled to Chuckey-Doak Middle, where she was greeted by three members of the Beta Club at the school’s entrance while two others held a “welcome” sign.
Those Beta Clubbers were part of the group accompanying her on the tour led by Principal Steven Broyles. The commissioner asked them about what they do in the club.
She also asked students to think about what could be done to improve their school. The students told Schwinn they would like to see improved school facilities and have individual computers assigned for use at school and at home, because not all their classmates have a computer at home for homework and projects.
Schwinn at C-DMS classrooms sat among the students, as she had at EastView. She tried her hand at making an electromagnet in a science class and answered questions about Chinese history in another.
She also talked to administrators and school board members, asking questions such as their opinions about how Algebra I and other classes that students may take in middle school might be credited toward high school.
Schwinn was also accompanied by school system administrators and school board members. State Sen. Steve Southerland, R-1st, of Morristown, and State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, also participated in the tour.
Greene County resident Crystal Jessee is featured in the Tennessee Department of Health’s new public education and awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid abuse.
Jessee was selected to be part of the public education and awareness campaign called “Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis,“ according to a news release from the state Department of Health.
This project will include people from every county of Tennessee sharing personal stories of how they have been impacted by the opioid crisis. The campaign also provides resources and information on how everyone can be part of the solution to this problem.
“As an attorney, working with people that have been touched by opioid dependency, I believe this campaign is a huge step in the direction of healing as a community and state,” Jessee said.
“The campaign brings together friends, families, individuals and professionals in our community that have been touched by this epidemic and encourages everyone to work together to reduce the stigma of opioid dependency,” she continued. “Together we are better, and together we can overcome this as a community.”
Jessee’s photo and story are included in the campaign website, www.tn.gov/tnfacesofopioids, and will be shared on social medial such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The goal of the “Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis“ campaign is to show how the opioid epidemic is having an impact on people in every community and county in the state, and that by working together Tennesseans can make a change to overcome this crisis, the release stated.
“We want people to understand this isn’t just someone else’s problem,” said former Greene County Health Director Shaun Street. “Twenty-one people in Greene County died of drug overdose in 2017. This crisis is hurting our community, our families, neighbors, friends and coworkers. We want to help people learn about local resources they can use to be part of the solution. It can be as simple as knowing where to take unused or expired medication for proper disposal.“
Resources available in Greene County include safe drug drop-off sites at the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the Greeneville Police Department, Tusculum Police Department, Atchley Drug Center and Walgreens in Greeneville.
“Tennessee Faces of the Opioid Crisis“ is a project funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Greene County Guidebook 2019-2020 will be distributed Friday in home-delivered copies of The Greeneville Sun.
It will be inserted Saturday in single copies available in vending boxes and at Sun dealers throughout the county. The Saturday-Sunday edition, with the 162-page special edition tabloid, will sell for the standard price of $1.50.
Produced annually through the support of dozens of Sun advertisers, Guidebook contains information about notable aspects of life in Greene County. Intended for newcomers and longtime or native citizens alike, it includes details both practical and interesting, ranging from community history and statistics to facts about local governments, schools, services, industries, recreation and more.
“As a newcomer to Greeneville, I have personally found the Guidebook to be an indispensable resource for living in and learning about Greene County, and I keep the latest edition on the coffee table for quick reference — from providing important information and data to help make my move here as smooth as possible, to furnishing a comprehensive digest of things to do and see,” said Paul Mauney, the Sun’s general manager and chief revenue officer for Adams Publishing Group Tennessee/North Carolina/Virginia. “I am confident that our readers — new and old — will find it just as useful.”
Greene County Guidebook also includes the complete Greene County Partnership Directory, arranged both as a buyer’s guide and as an alphabetical listing.
The publication will be made available digitally throughout the year on GreenevilleSun.com.
Beginning Monday, additional copies will be available at the Sun’s Circulation Department, 121 W. Summer St., for $5 each.
The majority of governmental offices and services in Greeneville and Greene County will be closed Monday for Labor Day.
Labor Day, being marked with its 125th observance in 2019, is a federal holiday that honors the American labor movement and U.S. workers.
One exception to the slate of local closures is the Greeneville Public Works Department, which will be open on a normal schedule. The Greeneville-Greene County Demolition Landfill will be open, and garbage will be collected at the usual time on Monday.
All Greene County Convenience Centers for garbage collection will be closed Monday. They will reopen with regular schedules on Tuesday.
All branches of the U.S. Post Office will be closed, and there will be no mail delivery on Monday.
Local schools systems will be closed Monday.
All offices in the Greene County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex will be closed on Monday. The Greene County Clerk’s office will be closed Saturday in addition to Monday.
Town halls in Mosheim, Baileyton and Tusculum will be closed.
The local Social Security Office and James H. Quillen U.S. District Courthouse will also close for the holiday.
The James H. “Jim” Eagle Greene County Animal Control Facility and Greene County Humane Society will be closed from Saturday to Monday and will reopen on Tuesday.
Offices of the Greeneville Light & Power System and Greeneville Water Commission will be closed.
The Greene County Health Department, University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office and local offices of the Tennessee Department of Human Services will also be closed for the day.
The Greeneville-Greene County Public Library, Greene County Partnership, Greene County YMCA and Boys & Girls Club of Greeneville and Greene County will be closed.
The Greeneville Sun will publish and deliver Monday’s edition on its regular schedule. The Sun’s offices will close at noon in observance of the holiday.