New KCS superintendent announces first changes

Dr. Jon Rysewyk

Knox County Schools’ new leader, Dr. Jon Rysewyk, hit the ground running this week by announcing an administrative restructuring as well as a goal of “putting students at the center of every decision.”

“Knox County is blessed with incredible educators and talented students. By setting a clear vision of our goals and strategies, I believe our community can work together to achieve great things,” Rysewyk said.

Rysewyk, who previously held the posts of assistant superintendent and chief academic officer, said he wants to create five regional teams comprised of a regional director and regional supervisor.  The regions will be based on feeder patterns and geographic proximity.

“As one of the largest districts in Tennessee, a one-size-fits-all approach will not provide the level of responsiveness that our school communities deserve,” said Rysewyk. “I believe that regional teams will help us foster community engagement and ownership in the educational process, and will shift the educational focus away from the Central Office back to individual schools, where the most important work happens.” 

Details of the restructuring, such as personnel appointments and the composition of the five regions, will be provided in the coming days.

As part of the restructuring, Rysewyk wants the school system to create five assistant superintendents:

  • The Assistant Superintendent of Academics will include oversight of Learning and Literacy, Academic Supports, College and Career Readiness and Regions 1 through 4;
  • The Assistant Superintendent of Business and Talent will oversee HR and the Chief Financial Officer;
  • The Assistant Superintendent of Student Success will oversee functions including English Language Learning, Health Services, School Culture, Special Education and Region 5;
  • The Assistant Superintendent of Operations will oversee functions including Security, Transportation, and Maintenance; and
  • The Assistant Superintendent of Strategy will oversee Communications; Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA); and ESSER programming.

Also, to achieve the goal of making every decision student-centered, Rysewyk said there are four “key priorities” that he will focus on: 

  • Excellence in foundational skills, particularly early literacy and middle-school math;
  • Providing great educators in every school;
  • Career empowerment and preparation; and
  • Success for every student.

  Rysewyk was appointed as superintendent of Knox County Schools by the Knox County Board of Education in February and officially took over the post on June 4. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Knox County and have two daughters.

Rysewyk replaced Bob Thomas, who was appointed superintendent in 2017.

Published on June 9, 2022.