Lake Forest Middle School Principal Ritchie Stevenson has been named president of the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools.
“I’m honored for the opportunity (and) that my colleagues across the state saw fit to choose me,” Stevenson said.
Increasing the association’s membership is one of the new president’s goals.
Planning the summer conference is the largest responsibility of the association president, Stevenson said. This conference is held annually and usually has about 500 teachers and administrators from middle schools across the state.
He said the professional development offered by the organization will continue to be important as the state continues the transition to common core standards and other changes in education.
Stevenson found the association immensely helpful during the school’s transition from junior high to the middle school format. He said the process presented a challenge.
“The system had made the decision to go in the direction of middle school, but there hadn’t been anything done here to prepare for it,” Stevenson said. “So we tried to seek outside assistance and help. I discovered the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools. We went to their summer conference that summer and they literally helped us in developing a road map.”
This is the principal’s 14th year at Lake Forest.
“It’s my 17th year as an administrator for Bradley County Schools. It’s my 26th year of service as an educator. Being a native-born Bradley Countian, I don’t think there is any better place to be,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson had served as an assistant principal for Trewhitt Elementary School before becoming the principal of Trewhitt Junior High, which became Lake Forest Middle School.
The guidance and support he had received from the organization during the transition gave the principal a desire to become more involved with the organization.
“I saw so much good that they were doing,” Stevenson said. “The professional development they provide to teachers is phenomenal.”
His involvement on the organization’s board began when he was asked to run for the position of East Tennessee administrator representative. He was elected to the post and served in the role for two years. He was then elected vice president of the association last year. This year he was elected president during the organization’s summer conference. Each president serves a one-year term.
“It’s really a support organization,” Stevenson said.
Members of the organization also receive publications discussing educational issues facing middle school educators.