Partly cloudy this evening followed by mostly cloudy skies and a few showers after midnight. Low 37F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%..
Partly cloudy this evening followed by mostly cloudy skies and a few showers after midnight. Low 37F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Updated: April 7, 2022 @ 3:23 pm
The Cumberland County Board of Education will begin interviews for the Director of Schools position today, beginning at 5 p.m., with interviews also set Friday at 5 p.m. and Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
The board will interview internal candidates Rebecca Farley and Stephanie Barnes Thursday, with the order of interviews determined by a coin toss.
The interview order for the remaining candidates from Tennessee were determined by a drawing.
Friday, the board will interview Justin Barden and Vince Owens.
Saturday, the board will interview Joseph Miller, William Stepp and Michelle Barnett.
Interviews will be held at Central Services, 368 Fourth St., and are open to the public. The board will consider its next steps in the search process at a special-called meeting Tuesday. A time for that meeting has not yet been set.
The information below is from the candidates’ resumes, which are posted in full on the Crossville Chronicle website.
Justin S. Barden
Barden has served principal of Charlotte Middle School in Dickson County, TN, since 2016. The school was named a Reward School in 2018-’19, a Level 5 School on the state’s Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) in 2018-’19 and TVAAS Level 4 School in 2017-’18.
Barden began his education career in January 2004 as a physical education teacher and assistant baseball coach at Trinity Christian Academy in Jackson, TN. He worked for Humboldt City Schools as a physical education and health teacher for kindergarten-fifth grade from February 2005-July 2010 during which time he also served as assistant high school baseball coach and assistant junior high football coach.
He entered administration as the assistant principal of East Elementary in 2010. He joined Dickson County Schools in July 2013 as assistant principal of Dickson Middle School.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Union University, a master’s in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University, and his educational specialist and doctoral degrees in education from Union University.
Stephanie R. Barnes
Barnes currently serves as the chief academic officer for Cumberland County Schools, a position she accepted in February 2021. She supervises departments and supervisors related to educational services for students at all levels.
Barnes began her education career in 1995 as a fifth-grade math teacher at North Cumberland Elementary. She taught middle school math until 2013 when she was named assistant principal of Stone Elementary School, a position she held until June 2017.
Barnes then moved to The Phoenix School where she served as the administrator of eight educational programs on the single campus serving students ages 6 weeks to 22 years. There, she worked to help students build individual success plans and organized summer school for county high school students.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary students-elementary education from Tennessee Technological University and returned to the university for her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and educational specialist degree in instructional leadership. She holds an instructional leadership license and is a certified trainer for Adverse Childhood Experiences.
She has served on external review teams for AdvancEd accreditation, chaired school improvement committees, and presented training in math standards and served as a mentor teacher. She has also coached boys and girls basketball teams and football teams.
She was a finalist for Tennessee Principal of the Year in 2020 and has been recognized as a Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.
Michelle (England) Barnett
Barnes has served as the dean of the School of Education at South College in Knoxville since 2018. There, she leads planning, assessment and evaluation for the education preparation program, recruits qualified faculty, and oversees instructional programs and course offerings. She is an instructor for bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist courses.
Barnett began her education career with Cumberland County Schools in 1993 as a teacher at North Cumberland Elementary, teaching fourth, fifth and sixth grades. She worked as an academic facilitator and grant writer from 2008 to 2012, identifying grant opportunities to assist teachers and acted as vice principal when the administrator was on leave. She served as principal from 2012-’13 at North Cumberland. She also served as principal at Pine View Elementary from 2013-’25 and Crab Orchard Elementary 2015-’18.
She has served as a student-teacher supervisor for Grand Canyon University and an adjunct and associate professor with South College while serving Cumberland County Schools.
She also taught adult education in Cumberland County.
Since 2018, Barnett has worked with the Tennessee Department of Education as a reviewer for Tennessee Education Preparation Provider and Literacy Standards Initiative for Teacher Preparation Providers.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education and master’s degree in education from Tennessee Technological University. She also holds a mater’s degree in reading and literacy from Walden University, educational specialist degree from TTU, and doctorate in education from University of the Cumberlands.
She has taken part in TEAM evaluation training, grant writing workshops, conferences related to reading and writing, and training on poverty, inclusion and differentiated instruction.
Farley is currently the supervisor of instruction for pre-K through eighth grade for Cumberland County Schools, a position she has held since 2016. In this position, she works with principals and teachers to implement and maintain services and programs that support educational goals.
Before moving to Central Services, Farley served as principal of Crab Orchard Elementary for 10 years. There, she implemented research-based programs to improve academic achievement and strengthen community relationships.
She began her education career in 1999 as a classroom teacher at North Cumberland Elementary, where she also served as assistant principal from 2005-’06.
She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Tennessee Technological University and a doctorate in education from Argosy University.
She has been certified as a reliable observer in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale observer and Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model evaluator-teacher and administrator. She was named Cumberland County Supervisor of the Year in 2020-’21 and 2022-’23, and the Upper Cumberland CORE Region Supervisor of the Year in 2020-’21.
Joseph A. Miller
Miller currently teaches physical education in the Morgan County School District. His experience includes several administrative positions, including director of Alvin C. York Institute from 2019-’21; director of Claiborne County Schools from 2017-’19; and career and technical education director for Morgan County Schools from 2012-’17.
He has earned endorsements and certifications from the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching BEST Teacher Practices, TEAM Teacher Evaluation and Career and Technical Education Professional Matrix.
He has led several initiatives during his administrative postings, including seeing the Claiborne County School District move from a Level 1 District to a Level 5 District, placing School Resource Officers in schools and hiring social workers to address chronic absenteeism.
Miller earned an associates degree from Cleveland State Community College and bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee. He earned his master’s in educational leadership and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from University of Central Florida.
Owens currently serves as the federal, state and local budget consultant for Scott County Schools, overseeing a $23 million general purpose budget and $2 million federal programs budget. He is also the ESSER budget consultant for the school system, planning, budgeting and monitoring the ESSER 2.0 and 3.0 budgets and evaluating summer learning programs and managing the TN All Corps state grant.
Owens began his education career as a physical education teacher for Scott High School in 1995. He was named assistant principal and athletic director for the school in 2007, a position he held until 2015. In 2015, he was named assistant director of schools overseeing federal programs and the general purpose budget director.
He also serves as an assistant coach for the football team from 1995 to 2006 and a bus driver from 1995 to 2006 and 2017 to current.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Wesleyan University and a master’s and educational specialist in educational leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
William G. Stepp
Stepp is principal of Upperman High School in Putnam County, a position he has held since 2015. The school was named a Reward School for Growth in 2018-’19.
In 2022, he was selected as a candidate in the Prospective Superintendents Academy sponsored by the Tennessee School Boards Association and Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.
He is part of the Putnam County district leadership team and a co-facilitator of the Principal Pipeline.
He has held principal positions at Upperman Middle School and Cornerstone Middle School, and assistant principal positions at Avery Trace Middle School and Cookeville High School.
Stepp began his education career as assistant band director for Coffee County Schools and worked in Rutherford County Schools before joining Putnam County in 2003 as the band director at Avery Trace Middle School and assistant band director at Prescott Middle School and Cookeville High School.
He has held leadership positions with the Tennessee Music Educators Association Conference and Middle Tennessee Band and Orchestra Association Conference and served as president of the Putnam County Education Association in 2009. He is also a member of the Tennessee Army National Guard, with a current rank of chief warrant officer 3 for the 129th Army Band based in Nashville.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University, a master’s in music education from Florida State University, and educational specialist degree in instructional leadership from TTU.
Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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