Richard Rawlings, the July 2019 Superintendent Spotlight, has been the Humphreys County Director of Schools for three years.
In Humphreys County Schools, they are partnering with local industries in advancing STEM education and Early Post-Secondary Opportunities for their students. This began when a local plant manager (needing a strong pool of local workers) reached out to the school system and other industry leaders to form a partnership. The immediate result was a renewed emphasis on students obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Industrial Process Control before graduating from high school. The partnership then expanded as other industries joined. The newest partner has a strong interest in STEM. His company, along with others, funded every STEM project presented to them by the school district.
They are also very proud of their federal Farm to School curriculum. One of their high schools provides lettuce and tomatoes to their schools' cafeterias. Students participate in educational activities related to agriculture, food, health, and nutrition. The program now provides hydroponic produce to all of cafeterias. Through cooperation with the school nutrition department, they have overcome such obstacles as preparation, freshness, longevity, and delivery of produce to the school cafeterias.
Mr. Rawlings’ favorite part of his job is working with a school board and administrators that recognize the importance of student growth. He also says that he is constantly amazed by how supportive his fellow Directors when he asks for advice. [<- That is what we love to hear at TOSS! Keep it up, members.]
When we asked Mr. Rawlings to share a funny memory from his time as a superintendent, he said, “I think I can safely say I am probably one of the most knowledgeable Directors when it comes to stacking sand bags to prevent a school from flooding (since we have 3 schools on the banks of a creek that constantly comes out of it banks). Yes, there is a correct way to stack sand bags. I forgot to take that class in college.” He joked, “As we interview teachers for a position at these schools, I always ask, ‘How many sand bags can you stack in 30 minutes?’”