New principal takes charge of school

A NEW LEADER. Kyle Loudermilk, right, sits for an interview with Scribe staff. Loudermilk has taken charge as principal of Sevier Middle, replacing former principal Kelli Seymour.


A NEW LEADER. Kyle Loudermilk, right, sits for an interview with Scribe staff. Loudermilk has taken charge as principal of Sevier Middle, replacing former principal Kelli Seymour.

After Kelli Seymour was Sevier Middle’s principal for two years, the school has now received a new leader once again: Kyle Loudermilk. Loudermilk was most recently a principal at Jackson Elementary.

“I’ve been an assistant or associate principal at both middle schools and Lincoln Elementary and at Kennedy Elementary,” he said. “Before that, I taught fifth-grade math.”

Loudermilk was born in Blountville and still lives there today. He has a 25-minute drive to and from Sevier each day.

“I enjoy it because it gives me time to think about the day ahead or to reflect on all the things that happened on the way home,” he said.

Loudermilk attended Blountville Middle School and did not participate in many extracurricular activities like sports or music.

Loudermilk wanted to become a teacher to help students and teachers grow. Also, his mom was a teacher.

“I enjoyed just seeing how her students always talked about her and enjoy being in her classroom,” he said.

He started his education studies at Northeast State Community College and then continued to the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at East Tennessee State University, then attended Union College to get his Master’s degree in administration.

He also received an educational specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University before returning to ETSU to earn his Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Loudermilk decided to become a school administrator because he gets to work with teachers and is able to impact more students. Although he enjoys being principal he doesn’t “get to see all the fun and engaging things that happen in a classroom”.

The extra hours, before and after school, and the extra responsibilities can be challenging, but Loudermilk still enjoys his work.

“The best thing about being a principal is working with teachers, and getting to hear teachers talk about how their students are being successful,” he said.

The job of the principal is a lot more complicated than most students may suspect.

“My job is making sure that students have an environment where they can learn, making sure the students have the resources they need in the classroom, and making sure that teachers have an environment where they can teach,” Loudermilk said. “I make sure they have all the resources they need to prepare lessons, make sure that we’re as a school following our district policy, our state laws, and make sure that we just have a good environment for learning.”

He does miss some of the engagement with students inside the classrooms while teaching.

“Sometimes, I don’t get to see the light bulb moments that students have when they learn something,” he said.

Kevin Stafford, one of Loudermilk’s best friends, is one of his biggest role models.

“He and I share very similar thoughts about life, about faith, about just the way that things should be done, the way we should conduct ourselves,” he said. “I think it’s important for students to have a role model as far as someone they look up to, they respect, and somebody that’s already gone through different challenges, different grade levels, different opportunities, so they can see how other people have handled themselves in different situations.”

Since he has attended and worked in schools most of his life, he has a lot of fond memories of school.

“My favorite school memory is attending prom my senior year because it was the first official date that I had with my wife,” Loudermilk said.

Loudermilk decided to come to Sevier Middle because there was a great opportunity to come to a school that has a rich history and a lot of school pride from the community.

“It was an exciting opportunity to come here to be the principal, and to just really help students and staff shine and to make sure our community knows about the great things that are happening,” he said.

Under Loudermilk, some important changes have been happening at Sevier, including the cell phone policy and dress code. Last year, cell phones were a big problem; students had them out a lot and played on them during class time. A new rule was made that keeps them on students’ backpacks. Many students were also wearing hoodies in hallways, which was a safety issue because it made the students hard to identify.

Stephanie Kilgore, an 8th-grade language arts teacher, appreciates the changes made to create a better work environment for students and teachers.

“I miss the music that was played over the intercom every morning,” Kilgore said. “I hope that this school year brings growth in education, student-teacher relationships, community and family connections, and overall morale.”

Chris Carr, a 7th-grade social studies teacher, also likes the changes to Sevier. He enjoys having Social Emotional Learning first thing in the morning.

“The delay in starting academic instruction benefits classes with students that are habitually tardy,” Carr said. “They do not interrupt instructional time as often when they come to school late.”

After working with elementary students for many years, Loudermilk has noticed big differences between middle school students and younger kids.

“The difference between a middle schooler and an elementary schooler is when you work with middle school students, consequences become more significant and lessons that they have to learn can sometimes be harder to learn,” Loudermilk said.

Loudermilk enjoys his position as Sevier’s new principal.

“There are a lot of great teachers and staff here at Sevier Middle School that truly care about the students, care about the school,” he said.

In the end, Loudermilk wants to be an advocate and cheerleader for Sevier Middle.

“I want our community our parents, families, students that have been to Sevier in years past so our alumni, I want everybody to know and to appreciate that there are great things happening and that our students are accomplishing amazing things, whether it’s in their classes, academic classrooms, or the extracurricular activities,” he said. “Our students are amazing and I want our community to know that and to celebrate that.”