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Further consolidation of adult education in Tennessee means big changes locally

By Rebecca Herman

Big changes are coming to the Adult Education (AE) that could greatly affect people who are seeking to earn their GED in Johnson County. Three years ago, the state consolidated the AE program from 98 programs to 46. At that time, Johnson and Carter counties and Northeast State Community College all wrote grants in order to be the command center for AE for the two counties. Jewell Hamm, former supervisor of AE in Johnson County, was successful with the grant and Johnson County was awarded the contract.
Now the state wants to consolidate the program again from 46 programs to 8 district programs.
“District 1 would consist of Johnson, Carter, Sullivan, Hawkins, Hancock, Unicoi, Washington, and Greene,” said Carol Russom, current Supervisor for the Johnson/Carter County AE.
Russom contacted Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Johnson County schools, to discuss the upcoming changes in the AE program. After meeting with Johnson County School Board members, a decision was made to not write a grant proposal that would make Johnson County responsible for District 1. Russom said that she has spoken to a couple of secondary schools and a few other AE supervisors in East Tennessee, who have shown interest in completing this grant proposal, in order to be the headquarters of District 1 AE. The grant proposals will reviewed and chosen by an “impartial team from Louisiana’s Adult Education. The newly consolidated Adult Education programs will officially start on July 1, 2016,” said Russom.
Another change with this new consolidation deals with personnel and the budget, which is projected to be approximately $797,782.
“There would be one district supervisor for all of District 1, one lead teacher at each county, one main para-professional, and multiple part-time teachers/secretaries in each location where needed,” said Russom.
With this consolidation, many supervisors, teachers, and para-professionals are at risk of losing their jobs. Many of these teachers have been in education for decades and have a passion for education. Russom, who has been working in the AE program in Johnson and more recently, Carter County, for over 15 years.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.