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Steve Starnes | Director of Schools
Steve Starnes | Director of Schools

A Message from Mr. Steve Starnes, Director of Schools

Welcome to the Hawkins County School System. Thank you for your interest in our system. The Hawkins County School System is comprised of 18 schools and one alternative school. Our schools are located in the towns and cities of Bulls Gap, Rogersville, Surgoinsville, Church Hill, Mt. Carmel, and surrounding communities. We serve nearly seven thousand students. Our eighteen schools are composed of 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, two comprehensive high schools and a kindergarten through twelfth grade school located in the beautiful Clinch Valley. Our hard working and dedicated staff works diligently each and every day to accomplish the mission of “Educating and Graduating” each student and realizing the vision of producing graduates that are college and career ready.

Our system strives to provide high quality educational programs using the latest technologies and teaching strategies. We offer our students Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Dual Credit courses in conjunction with area colleges enabling our students to compete globally. Our Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) is one of the finest around and consistently receives superior marks in annual inspections by the Navy. We also offer a comprehensive and varied Career and Technical Education (CTE) program with courses in Agriculture, Automotive Maintenance and Repair, Business and Computer Applications, Construction, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Digital and Printing Arts, Family and Consumer Sciences, Industrial Electricity, Health Sciences, Robotics and Automation, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), and Welding. The graduating class of 2016 was the first class that had the opportunity to earn a “Work Ethic Diploma.” A total of eighty-eight (88) students earned this designation. The “Work Ethic” diploma is a set of standards related to the soft skills that local business and industry are looking for in their prospective employees and students who earn this designation are guaranteed an interview at 32 area companies if they meet the job posting qualifications. In addition, we have developed student internship programs with ZF TRW, Cooper Standard Automotive, Wellmont Health Systems, USave Pharmacy, and Hawkins Medical Center. We continue to recruit additional partners. Additionally, we offer industry certification in the following areas; EKG Technician, Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Responder, Snap-on Tool and Multi Meter, ServSafe Food Handler, and National Center for Construction Education and Research. Additionally, we offer students an opportunity to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate which is recognized by over 14,000 employers nationwide. We also offer post-secondary credit in CTE fields with the following institutions; TN College of Applied Technology, Walters State Community College, Northeast State Community College, and Sullivan University.

As Director of Schools, I am very proud of the many accomplishments of our schools, students, and staff. Hawkins County Schools was named a 2014-15 Exemplary School System by the TN Department of Education. Church Hill Elementary, Mt. Carmel Elementary, and Surgoinsville Elementary received straight A’s in both student achievement and student value-added growth on the TN Department of Education School Report Card. Church Hill Elementary was recognized as a National Title Distinguished School for closing the achievement gap between students. McPheeters Bend Elementary was recognized by the Education Consumers Foundation for the third consecutive year for student growth in 2015. Hawkins County Schools was named to the 2015 College Board Advanced Placement Honor Roll and Cherokee High School was recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as a 2015 top performing high school in the Bronze category. A report released by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) recognized Hawkins County Schools as one of the top ten systems for ACT Composite Score growth for the years 2011-2015 and our ACT Composite average for the graduating class of 2016 was a 20.4 which exceeds the state average of 19.9. Additionally, Hawkins County Schools is proud of the fact that we have three of the sixteen East TN State University Roan Scholars selected over the last two years.

Through the use of a continuous improvement model and data-driven decisions, we are a fast improving system. Hawkins County Schools improved its graduation rate from 74.9% in 2005-06 to 95.09% in 2015-16. Our ACT composite score has improved 2.4 points over the past three years from an 18.0 in 2013 to a 20.4 in 2016. The number of students meeting all four college readiness indicators (math, English, reading, and science) on the ACT increased 5.8% from 2014-15 to 2015-16 and the percentage of students meeting ACT Hope Scholarship eligibility (21 ACT Composite or 3.0 G.P.A.) rose 12.4% from 2014-15 to 2015-16.  

As a school system, we are dedicated to providing the best leadership possible for our students and our schools. A Teacher Leader program was implemented in 2014-15. This program encourages teachers who aspire to lead within their school or become future school administrators to participate in training, activities and offer support to the administration and teachers within their school.

The Hawkins County School District is fortunate to have a caring and supportive Board of Education who establish policy, and provide planning and fiscal oversight. Our Board was selected as the TN School Boards Association School Board of the Year for 2016. The Hawkins County School Board was selected out of 141 school boards across the state. To earn the award, the School Board was judged in six areas: Policy, long-range planning, promoting quality education, Board development activities, communication, and being a TSBA Board of Distinction. Our Board Members include: Chairman Bob Larkins, Vice-Chairman Debbie Shedden, members Jackie Charles, Chris Christian, Kathy Cradic, Holly Helton, and Tecky Hicks. We feel that along with our staff, students, parents, community, business partners, and Board of Education, Hawkins County Schools is truly an “exemplary school system.” We invite you to visit our website at www.hck12.net to learn more about our school system and “like” us on Facebook at Hawkins County School District. Both sites highlight the outstanding achievements of our system, schools, staff, and students. Thank you for your interest in our system.


Steve Starnes

Hawkins County Board of Education

200 N. Depot St.

Rogersville, TN 37857


It is the policy of the Hawkins County School System not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its educational programs or employment policies as required by Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title IX (1972 Educational Amendments), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.