By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools
November is a wonderful time to reflect on the positive and express our appreciation for all that is good in our lives and our community. In the Knox County Schools we have much for which to be grateful. Excellent teachers, strong school leaders, committed staff, caring parents, great kids, a dedicated School Board and an engaged supportive community are among the many ways that we are fortunate.
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to our teachers and staff who are making a difference in the lives of our students each and every day. I strongly believe it is critical for us to reward our most valuable assets in the school system: our people.
I am pleased to report that many of our teachers are now beginning to enjoy financial recognition through a strategic compensation system that acknowledges and rewards the inputs and outcomes that support greater student academic achievement and growth. This is a very tangible way for our community to express its thanks for highly effective teaching and the resulting student academic success.
Elementary and middle school teachers in the Knox County Schools began receiving award notification in October as part of the APEX (Advance , Perform, EXcel) strategic compensation initiative. Approximately 58 percent of Knox County School teachers earned financial incentives ranging from $1,500 to $2,000 for outstanding performance. This translates into approximately 2,100 teachers receiving awards that totaled $3.6 million (funded through grant resources). High school teachers and school administrators will be notified this month of their APEX awards.
While we strive to ensure our teachers feel appreciated every day, APEX is a wonderful additional incentive we can now offer using grants received through the federal Race to the Top competition and Innovation Acceleration Fund. The Knox County Schools secured more than $10 million in federal competitive-grant funding to use in the design and implementation of our district-wide strategic compensation plan. The grant funding for APEX is available over the next three to five years, with a goal of incorporating APEX in our general operating budget if proven successful.
I also want to take a moment to say “thank you” to our parents who work so hard in partnering with our valued teachers each day as we work together to reach our ambitious goal of Excellence for All Children.
Dr. Jim McIntyre
Superintendent, Knox County Schools