The Great Schools Partnership is pleased to announce that Stephanie Welch has been hired to oversee the expansion of their Community Schools initiative. Ms. Welch is the Director of Community Development and Planning for the Knox County Health Department and a Major in the U. S. Army Reserve. In these capacities, she has had extensive experience in managing people and developing community resources.

Welch earned a bachelor’s degree in nutritional services from the University of New Hampshire in 1995 and a master’s degree in public health nutrition and public health planning and administration from the University of Tennessee in 1997. She will begin her role as Vice President of Operations for Community Schools on July 16 and will be responsible for providing strategic leadership for the program by establishing and fulfilling long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies which support the mission of enhancing student learning and creating healthy communities.

“Stephanie brings a wealth of community knowledge and a deep understanding of public process and civic engagement. She is well-respected for the collaborative projects she led at the health department. We are fortunate that she has accepted this new challenge to improve outcomes for our youth and their families through community schools,” said Madeline Rogero, City of Knoxville Mayor and Board Member of the Great Schools Partnership.

“Stephanie has done a tremendous job for Knox County and we hate to see her leave the health department, but I am glad she will be continuing to work in our community and have no doubt she will do an excellent job for the Community Schools program,” said
Dean Rice, Chief of Staff for the Knox County Mayor.

“The Community Schools initiative is an extremely promising effort to provide additional educational opportunities while facilitating services to minimize distractions to learning, so that students are more likely to experience academic success,” said Dr. Jim McIntyre,
Superintendent of the Knox County Schools. “Ms. Welch is an outstanding, proven leader who will be an excellent addition to the Great Schools Partnership team in helping to ensure every child comes to school ready to learn.”

Community Schools are a strategy for aligning community resources for student success, family health and neighborhood safety. Community Schools stay open into the evening and offer additional instructional time as well as recreational, arts, mental health, adult education and other services. Each Community School is managed by a site-steering committee composed of school staff, teachers, parents, businesses and other community leaders. Community Schools are funded through a blend of public and private contributions.

The Knox County Schools and the Great Schools Partnership recently announced the expansion of their Community Schools partnership to include three new campuses: Christenberry Elementary, Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Academy and Vine Middle
Magnet School. In all, the Knox County Schools has seven Community Schools which also include Pond Gap Elementary, Lonsdale Elementary, Green Magnet Academy and Norwood Elementary Schools.