KCS superintendent announces retirement

Moorhouse steps down from top-job as of November 1st



RETIRED. After four years as superintendent of Kingsport City Schools, Jeff Moorhouse has decided to retire from the position. Moorhouse is not sure yet what the future holds after he retires.

Jeff Moorhouse, the superintendent of Kingsport City Schools, has retired in the middle of the school year. On August 31st, Moorhouse publicly announced that he was retiring from KCS. His retirement went into effect on November 1st.

Moorhouse said that his retirement plans will be tranquil and calm.

“My wife and I have inherited a family farm, so I’m gonna have to learn a little about farming,” Moorhouse said. “I’ve got several opportunities to ponder about what to do here that I need to make some decisions on. I hope to be able to continue to work closely with the education field.”

His biggest challenge throughout his time with KCS was the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is proud that he steered the district through this crisis.

“I think that helping to navigate our school district through the pandemic, in a successful manner, is something that I’m proud of,” he said.

COVID was far from the only challenge he faced, however.

“I came in and we had to initially make some budget adjustments, cut $1.6 million out of our budget, where the county had made some changes that caused us to lose revenue,” he said.

Moorhouse’s history with KCS goes back four years, when he first took the job opportunity as superintendent.

“Growing up in Northeast Tennessee, Kingsport, in the education world, is a pinnacle position,” Moorhouse said. “It’s the things that are done in Kingsport that get repeated and replicated across our region.”

Moorhouse grew up in Mountain City, which is a small rural community in Northeast Tennessee, about an hour from Kingsport. His mother was a teacher and a principal there.

“When I was in college, I would ask her why she does the things that she does in school,” he said. “She would tell me ‘well, that’s what they do in Kingsport’ and so she would just try to take the things that were working in Kingsport, and those would be the things that she would focus on in her school.”

Naturally, when the opportunity came along to lead Kingsport City Schools, Moorhouse was all too glad to take the job.

“When your goal is to have as broad an impact as you can, for as many people as you can, for as long as you can [you come to Kingsport],” he said. “My career in this position was a dream come true.”

Moorhouse was inspired to become an educator early on in life.

“I had a few influences in my life that were educators,” he said. “I wanted to be able to do the same thing for other people what those people had done for me. My mother was a teacher and a principal, and then I had a basketball coach who was really influential in my life.”

He started his career as an elementary school teacher for half a day in first grade and half a day in fifth grade. Then he was a system-wide elementary physical education teacher for a while.

“I saw everybody in that particular county, every elementary student, once a week for 30 minutes,” he said. “So I had about 2400 students a week that I would see; that’s a lot of students.”

He then moved into high school biology and taught that for four years.

As a teacher, he coached many sports, such as basketball and soccer.

“I felt like I was being called to coach,” he said. “Early on in my career, I was a teacher and a basketball coach, track coach, soccer coach, and many different sports.”

Moorhouse eventually decided to leave coaching sports and instead start coaching teachers.

“I had an administrator come to me and ask if I had ever thought about being a principal,” he said. “Truthfully, at that point in time, very early in my career, I had not thought about being a principal.”

One of the assistant principals at his school had to miss work for health reasons for a while, and they asked Moorhouse to fill that role.

“What I found is that a lot of the things that I was doing as a sports coach crossed over to being an administrator: helping people to achieve goals, processes and procedures for how to execute game plans, same kind of things,” he said. “It was a little bit later in my career that I realized that I had been called to coach, I had just misinterpreted that as thinking that the only place that you could coach was on the sports field or on the court.”

Next, he went to the state of South Carolina and was the director of the state alternative school.

“Students from across the state would come to live with me at our facility,” he said. “As a residential facility, and we had cows, horses, goats, we ran a farm in addition to the school. That was a real learning experience.”

When he came back to Tennessee, he worked as an elementary and high school principal for several years before becoming superintendent of Greeneville schools. That’s when he got the offer to join KCS.

“It’s the culmination of [a career]; that’s about 31 years worth of experience,” he said.

Looking back at his time as superintendent, there isn’t much he’d do differently.

“If I had a choice whether I wanted to do the pandemic, no, I wouldn’t want to do that,” he said. “But there was a lot that was learned there. There’s opportunity on the other side of this, as we move forward, so I don’t know that there’s a lot that I would do differently. I feel like we all did the absolute best that we could with the information we had at the time to make the most effective decisions possible. I don’t spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror as to what could have been done, but try to look out the front windshield at the future we want to create now.”

What Moorhouse will miss most about working with Kingsport City Schools is being able to interact with people, students and teachers alike.

“The everyday challenge of trying to unlock the potential of every student you are responsible for, and making sure that they have all the tools they need to succeed in their future [is what I’ll miss most],” he said.

Moorhouse is proud of his record.

“I am proud of our community,” he said. “I’m proud of our students. I count it a great honor that the final chapters of my book on K-12 education are going to be written as the superintendent in Kingsport City Schools. It’s been a true honor for me to have been able to serve and to be able to contribute to the story of Kingsport City Schools and wish nothing but the best for the system, the students, and the community.”