By Ken Lay

It was a little late but the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2010 finally celebrated its 10-year reunion late Thursday afternoon at the Knoxville Museum of Art.

The event was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020 at Cherokee Country Club.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, put the reunion on hold.

Last week’s event was conceived and coordinated by Knox County School Board member Virginia Babb, a 2010 graduate of Leadership Knoxville.

Thursday’s event, in addition to celebrating a reunion, served as a welcome to new KCS Superintendent Dr. Jon Rysewyk, who recently replaced the retired Bob Thomas in June.

Board members Babb, Susan Horn and Daniel Watson were in attendance along with Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Knoxville City Mayor Indya Kincannon, Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay and state House Representatives Sam McKenzie and Dave Wright.

State House candidate Janet Testerman also attended the event hosted by Knoxville Museum of Art Executive Director David Butler and emceed by Leadership Knoxville graduate Mike Parton, who introduced Rysewyk.

“I’m excited for our schools. I’m excited for our teachers and I’m excited for our janitors, but most of all, I’m excited for our students,” said Parton. “I want Dr. Rysewyk to know that we have his back.

“We’re honored to have him here.”

Rysewyk addressed the crowd briefly and said that he wanted parental and community involvement in the district.

“My wife, Rebecca, is here tonight and this means so much to me,” Rysewyk said. “We really feel like God has called us.

“I’ve worked for so many of the people in this room over the last 20 years.”

Rysewyk was pleased with the turnout.

“This just shows the strength of this community,” he said. “I have some big shoes to fill, no doubt and I want the community to know that we want their help.

“If you have suggestions, tell us.”

Parton commended Rysewyk’s work as a school administrator.

“We went to Fulton and I liked the things he was doing with our kids,” Parton said.