PUTNAM COUNTY – The Prospective Superintendent Academy by the Tennessee School Board Association and Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents is a year-long program to prepare potential candidates for a superintendent position in Tennessee’s public schools. Dr. Trey Upchurch, Student Services Supervisor for the Putnam County School System, and Dr. Chris Winningham, Principal at Algood Middle School, have completed the academy and officially received their endorsement letter from the Tennessee School Board Association to pursue superintendency.
“This was a learning opportunity for me to continue gaining knowledge on a different side of education. I have completed the Governor’s Academy for School Leadership and understood the principal’s side of education. This academy was excellently done as you engage in real-world superintendent cases and hear from current superintendents allowing you to collaborate and network,” said Dr. Winningham. “I learned through the academy that it is like being a principal but on a larger and more political scale that you don’t always see as a principal. It was great learning that side of education as well as learn how to handle crises that may occur as a superintendent.”
“I saw an opportunity to broaden my understanding of Central Office and school board procedures as the newly hired student services supervisor,” Upchurch added. “Before working at Central Office, I served as a Prescott South Middle School principal. So, one of the key takeaways from the academy is that much like being a teacher and principal, having a peer group that you can use as a sounding board is key to a successful superintendency. As Dr. Winningham said, we were fortunate to hear the reflections of superintendents from across the state. We saw the different mindsets, thought processes, and methods of leadership that is utilized throughout the state.”
The academy is held once a year, and they accept 15-20 applicants into the program. The program provides intensive in-depth preparation for the challenging job of being a public school superintendent.
“I am very proud of Dr. Winningham and Dr. Upchurch for their ambition to further their knowledge and careers as well as show their passion for education,” said Corby King, Director of Schools for Putnam County. “I attended this same academy, and there is a lot to gain from attending. We are thankful to have them in our system and congratulate them on this accomplishment.”