Photo by Dan Andrews.
Knox County School’s “Coupon Book Lady,” Mary Kerr (red), with her family at her retirement party in December. Pictured left to right: Jack Kerr, Mason Phillips, Mary Kerr, Jeremy Kerr, Jaycee Phillips, Kristin Phillips, and Todd Phillips.

By Mike Steely

What would you do after 47 years with Public Affairs for the Knox County Schools?

Mary Kerr plans to stay busy. Even following her retirement party last month, she and her boss, Scott Bacon, headed over to the new Sea Ray headquarters in the First Tennessee Building to pick up supplies for teachers and classrooms.

Donations by De Royal of medical trays, for example, are used by art teachers and the schools often get donations like vases, terracotta pots, shirts and other items that are useful.  But that’s only a very small part that Mrs. Kerr has played in supplying the schools.

“Programs like Partners in Education, Dine Out for Education, Principal for a Day, the Career Fair, Teacher of the Year, and the Teachers Supply Depot,” she mentions as another part of her duties.

She’s been recognized for her successful effort in the system’s Coupon Book campaign, earning her the nickname “Coupon Book Lady.” Last year the Coupon Book sales brought in $1,360,376 into the school system. Students sell the books and, of the $10 cost, $8 returns to the school that sold them. Over the past 25 years more than $28 million has been raised.

Even after retirement she said she will still be involved in the Teachers Supply Depot board.

“I’m looking forward to cooking, do some farming, and traveling. My husband has retired and I’m sure we’ll be going to Anderson County often to visit our two grandchildren,” she said.