TOSS March Feature on Cindy Blevins

 

 

“I learned from her that a smile costs you nothing but effort and you receive something money can never buy in return.” – Cindy Blevins

 

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Cindy Blevins, Richard City Schools Director, began her career in education as a special education aide. She has been in the education field for ten years and superintendent at Richard City Schools for the past two years. Richard City K-12 is housed in the historical Richard Hardy Memorial School building. When asked about some of the advantages/challenges to having this age range of students in the same building Ms. Blevins answered, “Being a K-12 school you get to watch each student grow from kindergarten to graduation. RHMS faculty, staff, and students are like family. Our class sizes are small [and] everyone chips in to make things work.” Some of the challenges Ms. Blevins described were those of making schedules work with small faculty/staff. “We all wear multiple hats.” Also, “As always, making our money stretch as far as possible is a constant challenge.”

Ms. Blevins favorite children's book is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.

Some of the exciting things happening in the Richard City school system right now have to do with technology. “Our school system was very fortunate to be able to purchase 100 much needed computers this year. This will free up enough computers to complete our Elementary computer lab! Also, Richard Hardy Memorial School will “start an early college expansion with our juniors next year.” As the students continue to grow through the use of technology and a valuable connection to their futures by experiencing learning in the college classroom for the first time, I wanted to ask Ms. Blevins about a past experience where she watched a student grow that had impacted her life.  She shared with me about a student she’s never forgotten. “I worked with a student that had a physical disability that kept her wheelchair bound. Each day she came to school with a smile and greeted each person with a big ‘Good Morning.’ No matter how your morning started out, you’d always catch yourself giving a smile back and returning her morning greeting. I learned from her that a smile costs you nothing but effort and you receive something money can never buy in return.”

When asked some advice she would give new directors, Ms. Blevins relates, “There is never a ‘dumb question.’ The job is always changing and challenging. Rely on your peers for help and get advice from veteran directors.” Ms. Blevins shared that it was her favorite teacher that taught her growing up who was the first to congratulate her upon her appointment as director. “My favorite teacher taught me that with a good education you can achieve what you want in life.” Seeing that Ms. Blevins was encouraged by good leaders in her life, I asked her how she keeps her own staff encouraged and uplifted, “I never ask any more of them than I’m not willing to do myself.”

When Ms. Blevins has time to relax outside of work she does so through farming. “I enjoy helping on our small cattle farm.” She states that South Pittsburg, TN “has a small, hometown feel, but [is] close enough to a big city if anything is needed. Our city has the National Cornbread Festival that everyone helps with.” Ms. Blevins would someday like to visit Germany because of her ancestry connections there and is looking forward to spring – “spring brings a revitalization of nature and the human spirit.”

Richard Hardy Memorial School -- A Piece of History Richard Hardy Memorial School opened in 1926 as the Dixie Portland Memorial School, bearing the original name of the company, at a cost of approximately three hundred thousand dollars. Considered a memorial to the community's soldiers who served in World War I, the company spared no expense to ensure a modern and progressive building that would serve as a model school promoting the highest standards of education. To meet these high standards, Penn-Dixie employed nationally respected education specialist Fletcher B. Dresslar of the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville in an advisory capacity. Chattanooga architect Charles Bearden designed the building in Classical Revival style. Richard Hardy used personal funds to purchase books for the library and an art collection, as well as other educational tools. By providing progressive education, Hardy hoped that the entire community would benefit. When it opened in 1926 and for many years after, the school was hailed as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the country and was used as a "model school" by teachers, administrators, school builders, and communities.Upon Hardy's death in 1927, the name of the school changed to the Richard Hardy Memorial School.  In 1995 the school expanded by adding an additional freestanding building as well as the addition of grades nine through twelve. This distinctive building has retained much of its original character and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Richard Hardy Memorial School -- A Piece of History

Richard Hardy Memorial School opened in 1926 as the Dixie Portland Memorial School, bearing the original name of the company, at a cost of approximately three hundred thousand dollars. Considered a memorial to the community's soldiers who served in World War I, the company spared no expense to ensure a modern and progressive building that would serve as a model school promoting the highest standards of education. To meet these high standards, Penn-Dixie employed nationally respected education specialist Fletcher B. Dresslar of the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville in an advisory capacity. Chattanooga architect Charles Bearden designed the building in Classical Revival style. Richard Hardy used personal funds to purchase books for the library and an art collection, as well as other educational tools. By providing progressive education, Hardy hoped that the entire community would benefit. When it opened in 1926 and for many years after, the school was hailed as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the country and was used as a "model school" by teachers, administrators, school builders, and communities.Upon Hardy's death in 1927, the name of the school changed to the Richard Hardy Memorial School.  In 1995 the school expanded by adding an additional freestanding building as well as the addition of grades nine through twelve. This distinctive building has retained much of its original character and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.