Former high school teacher begins administrative placement

GETTING TO KNOW THE STUDENTS. Luke Douthat, right, has joined Sevier Middle after teaching at Dobyns-Bennett High School. He replaces Kyle Loudermillk, who has become the new principal at Jackson Elementary.

Amber Cowden

GETTING TO KNOW THE STUDENTS. Luke Douthat, right, has joined Sevier Middle after teaching at Dobyns-Bennett High School. He replaces Kyle Loudermillk, who has become the new principal at Jackson Elementary.

Amber Cowden, Staff

Luke Douthat has started his first year as the new Associate Principal in John Sevier Middle School. Douthat was previously a biology teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

He is married, and has two dogs named Lemon, a Goldendoodle, and Rosey, a Frenchton. In his free time, Douthat enjoys biking, golfing and hiking. He is also restoring a 1970 VW bus.

Douthat grew up in Morristown and graduated from Morristown East High School in 2005.

“Growing up in Morristown was probably pretty similar to growing up in Kingsport,” he said.

Douthat was friends with all the kids in his neighborhood and most days they would be found playing at someone’s house after finishing their homework. Besides moving away for college, the only two places he has permanently lived are Morristown and Johnson City, where he currently lives.

“I do love Kingsport, though, so maybe one day we will move a little closer to Sevier,” he said.

Douthat attended East Ridge Middle School in Morristown and was a member of the Beta Club. He also played on a basketball team.

“I actually broke my ankle in a scrimmage at the start of my eighth grade year and I had to miss the entire season,” douthat said. “Although I was disappointed to not be playing basketball, the injury did allow me the opportunity to pursue other interests and spend more time with my friends and family.”

Before becoming an Associate Principal, Douhat was a teacher at Dobyns-Bennett. He taught Biology, sponsored the Key Club, and coached the Underwater Robotics team.

“I really enjoyed teaching and will definitely miss being in the classroom everyday,” he said “However, I am very excited for this new opportunity to serve as the Associate Principal at Sevier.”

Douhat has always wanted to make the move from being a teacher to becoming an administrator. Over the last couple of years, he was taking the necessary classes and completed a licensure test that qualified him to be a school principal.

“Once I completed this work, I felt that it was time to start looking for opportunities to advance in the world of education,” he said.

Douthat has several degrees, including a Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Exercise Science from East Tennessee State University, a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Belmont University in Nashville and an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

“My day is very similar to that of Dr. Flora and Mr. Roebke,” Douthat said. “I oversee 7th grade students on a daily basis.”

Douthat works closely with the science teachers since science is in his background. Douthat’s  other big job at Sevier is that he is responsible for all things testing.

“I have to make sure that the end of the year testing goes smoothly and that all students take the correct test on the correct day,” he said.

Douthat feels that the hardest, but most enjoyable part of his job is that every day is different.

“Every day has some things that do not change, but there is always a level of uncertainty about what is going to happen next,” he said.

Working as an administrator has definitely been an adjustment for Douthat.

“As a teacher, you are responsible for the lessons that you create and the ultimate outcome of your class,” he said. “In this position, I get to experience many more things.”

Although he had no control over which school he would end up at, Douthat was hopeful it would be Sevier.

“When you are interviewed for an Associate Principal position, you do not have any control over which school you are placed at if you are hired,” he said. “Instead, the head principals and district level administrators collaborate on which school would be the best fit for each person being hired.”

Douthat has always respected Holly Flora and Nick Roebke and felt like he would work well with them.

“I also felt like moving from high school to middle school would be a smoother transition because my time at DB had allowed me to get to know many of the Sevier students,” he said. Lastly, I always enjoyed having Sevier students in my classes at DB and enjoyed the idea of being able to work with them on a daily basis.”

So far, Douthat hasn’t seen a big difference between working with middle school and high school students.

“I have really enjoyed Sevier so far,” he said. “Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and helpful as I have made the adjustment from DB to Sevier. I believe Sevier has a great student body that is destined to accomplish great things.”

As a teacher at DB, Douthat’s greatest memory is when the robotics team he coached qualified for the International Competition in Seattle, Washington.

“Our students made a huge commitment to the program and we qualified for Internationals even though we had only been a time for four months,” he said. “I am incredibly proud of what the students accomplished.”

As an Associate Principal, Douthat’s ultimate goal is to simply make a positive impact on Sevier Middle.

“One area that I am very passionate about is equity,” he said. “As a result, I hope to continue to work alongside everyone at Sevier to ensure that all students have an opportunity to be successful.”

He thinks the greatest challenge so far is adjusting to a new school.

“Although everyone has been really supportive and welcoming, it always takes some time to get used to a new job and new responsibilities,” he said.

Douthat also has some advice for Sevier students.

“Challenge yourself, be a good friend, be respectful and responsible, choose kindness, and seek happiness in all that you do,” he said.

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