About Us » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Welcome to Thomas Jefferson Elementary website. I appreciate your interest in our school. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself as principal and provide a little insight to the path that led me to Jefferson.  As a child growing up in Southwest Virginia I always dreamed of being a teacher.  I am entering my 26th year of living that dream of educating others and helping to make connections for students in the classroom, teachers in a building, and district-wide learning for all groups.  

I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with Elementary Education (PreK-8) from Carson Newman College. I obtained my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction (K-12) from Tusculum College. My research focus for my Master’s program was the effects of fostering positive peer relationships in the elementary school classroom. I received my Education Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University with a research focus on the relationship between teacher job satisfaction and positive relationships among colleagues. My Doctorate of Education in Teaching and Learning was conferred from Liberty University with a dissertation focus on the relationship of administrators’ gender on teachers’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

My teaching career began on the elementary level (PK-7) in Lee County, VA teaching a combined second and third grade class.  After one year, I taught second grade where I remained for eight years.  I also completed interim as principal/teacher for one semester. After moving to Kingsport, I secured a job in Scott County, VA where I taught first grade one year and fourth grade math the remaining three years I was there.  The next three years I served as the Assistant to the Principal at Robinson Middle School and the Kingsport City Schools Section 504 Coordinator for two of those three years. I was then blessed with four wonderful years as Principal at John Adams Elementary and then served three years at the Administrative Support Center as Director of Professional Learning.  

I am so proud to be entering my third year at Jefferson Elementary School.  As a mom to twin boys who attend this school, I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of creating the environment and education we all want for our children.  As an educator, I am excited to continue carrying out the vision so thoughtfully created at Jefferson Elementary for a culture of growth, learning opportunities, and innovative thinking through leadership, creativity, and discovery for all students - guaranteeing all children are appropriately challenged and equipped for success in schools.  As a leader, I am excited to share leadership experiences and the learning that resulted, to build capacity in all areas to reach and exceed potential, inspiring goals larger than ourselves.

Jefferson has a culture of excellence and recognizes the value of community and family.   Jefferson has and will continue to maintain a focus on service and leadership creating opportunities to realize their ability to contribute and add value to the lives of others, both locally and globally.  


  • Jefferson Elementary was recognized as a TVAAS Level 5 School.  
  • Jefferson Elementary recognized as a 2017-18 REWARD School.
  • Jefferserson Elementary was #4, out of 200, in the region for the Kids Heart Challenge with the American Heart Association fundraising efforts. 
  • FEED Project. Feel, Engage, Empower, Do! (Jefferson Elementary joins all Kingsport City Schools during the month of November for F.E.E.D. service projects. Students participate in ways to F.E.E.D the needs of our community and our world) 
  • Extra-Curricular Activities. (T.J. Singers, Math Olympiad, Lego League Clubs, SWAG running Club, Yearbook Club, Writing & Book Clubs)
  • Dedicated Faculty & Staff consisting of 23 classroom teachers and specialists in the areas of art, literacy, library, music, and physical education who are assisted by over a dozen dedicated teaching assistants. Support services include a School Counselor, two Special Education teachers, two Speech Therapists, Instructional Design Specialist, EL teacher, Instructional Design Specialist, and a full-time nurse
    • Jefferson teacher representation as district-wide Teacher Leaders and Mentors
    • Learning Walkthroughs focused on overall school improvement where teachers observe colleagues, share feedback, and reflect on highly effective instructional strategies
    • Vertical team meetings allowing multi-grade level teachers time to collaborate ensuring alignment and continuity throughout a student’s educational experience at Jefferson
    • Innovative approaches including flexible seating and flexible small groups allowing for equitable access to receive instruction and express learning
    • Coding instruction and STEM for all students through the library rotation fostering a culture of creativity and discovery

We look forward to your support and involvement. You are encouraged to participate in our PTO and join us for volunteer opportunities and school activities and events. If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 423.378.2270 or [email protected].

Dr. Stephanie Potter, Principal