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Sevier teacher becomes private school principal

Harrison Barnes, Co-Editor In Chief

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Saint Dominic Catholic School is a small school for families who are fairly religious and enjoy smaller school communities. Students spend a couple hours, two days per week, holding mass inside of the private school.
Since it is a private school, parents have to pay a tuition fee for their child to go there. Saint Dominic is only a very short distance from Sevier Middle School, and several St. Dominic students eventually attend Sevier Middle.
One of Sevier Middle School’s former teachers, Tucker Davis, has been the principle at St. Dominic for the past few years.
Davis is 60 years old. He has a wife, a daughter and a son, and lives in Kingsport. He graduated from Tennessee Tech, where he also happened to meet his wife. Davis received a Bachelor of Science degree in English and journalism at the college and a Master of Science degree in educational psychology.
Davis started teaching as a substitute and fell in love with it. He specifically liked teaching elementary students and has described it as “different from any other school I had ever been around”.
“It was exactly where I wanted to be,” he said.
During Davis’s time at Sevier, he was in charge of teaching sixth grade Social Studies.
“I came to Sevier to be with the best principal I’ve ever known, Cookie Greer,” Davis said. “I was also able to come with two of my very best friends, Kristen Duncan and Mindy Utsman. We all joined
the sixth grade team at the same time. That was a blessing for me.”
Even though Davis was at Sevier for only a short time, he got the chance to coach the softball team, which was the highlight of his time at Sevier.
“Those girls were great to be around,” Davis said. “My time at Sevier was incredibly special for me. I was only there for one year, but loved the students, faculty and staff very much. I still consider it one of my favorite places.”
Then, he began to feel disappointed in public schools.
“After nine years as a teacher, I became disillusioned by some things which were taking place
in public education,” he said. “I chose to head to Sevier, where I was reunited with a wonderful principal who helped me fall in love with teaching. In my year there, I continued to be disillusioned by public education and chose to leave,” Davis said.
Shortly after Davis left, Saint Dominic reached out to him with a job at the school.
“I’m not sure exactly why I joined SDCS, but it is one of the best things I have ever done in
my life,” Davis said.
Davis prefers being principal over being a teacher. He feels like being a principal offers more opportunities to have an impact.
“The best thing about being a principal is knowing that you have a little more control over the total school environment,” Davis said.
He believes that being a principal is the best job a person could ever have due to the amount of variety each day presents.
“No two days are alike,” he said. “Of course, no two principals are alike, either. In my mind, as principal, I strive to keep everyone engaged in getting a little better every day. I have the best job in the world. I have been embraced by a faithcentered, child-focused, familydriven group of like-minded people in a way I just can’ t explain. I am blessed.”
Saint Dominic is a private school, which means it is not part of Kingsport City Schools or controlled by a superintendent. Private schools are quite different from public schools due to their small communities and are often religious, like Saint Dominic.
Davis naturally prefers private schools over public schools.
“Our smaller classes are better for learning and teaching,” he said. “Our smaller school environment creates a greater sense of community. That’s especially true when you can weave faith into everything you do. That’s just the right environment for children and their families.”
Davis reports a thirty-three percent increase in enrollment at the school; only 1 student has left Saint Dominic this year.
They have also succeeded financially, according to Davis, with a 32 percent increase in income, so the school will be able continue to make improvements.
Davis feels like the most important part of Saint Dominic, and life in general, is faith.
“At Saint Dominic School,faith is kind of like the air we breathe,” he said. “You don’ t think about it, but it is all around you and you come to recognize that you need it to truly live. The stronger your faith, the more opportunity you have for success in life.”
Since Saint Dominic is a prekindergarten through 5th grade school, the students there will eventually have to transition from a private school with a small community to a public school with a much larger
community.
Davis feels like the students that graduate from Saint Dominic are well prepared for the changes they will face in middle school.
“We are confident that Saint Dominic School children go on to success beyond our walls because we hear it all the time – from the schools they go to; from the adults they are involved with beyond SDCS; from those former families and from our former students,” Davis said.
“Just last year, we sent children to five different middle schools. All have been successful and a
credit to those schools.”
Although he now runs a private school, Davis believes there is a place for both public and private schools in Kingsport.
“In Kingsport, we are blessed to have a solid public school system and a solid faith-based educational opportunity,” he said. “Having a choice is healthy for all of us. Having a choice should cause people to reflect and consider carefully the right option for their child.”

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Hundreds of students. Thousands of stories. The Sequoyah Scribe.
Sevier teacher becomes private school principal