The Wilson County Commission honored several personnel and students of Wilson County Schools on Monday in the group’s first meeting since the 2016-2017 school year ended.
The group honored Mt. Juliet High School’s Rodney Parks and principal Mel Brown, as well as Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright, for their accomplishments.
Parks heads Mt. Juliet’s theater department, which consists of nine classes, beginning with theater I for beginners and theater IV for advanced students. There are about 250 students involved in the school’s theater classes or productions, which allows the department to present productions year round.
The group welcomed upcoming senior Amanda Dowswell. Dowswell, who played the lead female role in the school’s recent rendition of “Phantom of the Opera,” sang two songs for the group, including “God Bless America.”
Commissioner Frank Bush led the honoring after he said Commissioner John Gentry boasted about the Mt. Juliet High School production.
The commission also honored Mt. Juliet principal Mel Brown, who was named principal of the year by the Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals.
Brown has served as Mt. Juliet High School principal for 13 years, beginning in 2004.
“I really want to emphasize this is a family thing. It starts with immediate family, but this is a Wilson County thing. We can’t do anything in education without you. We can’t do anything without Dr. Wright. We can’t do it without the board of education,” Brown said. “This is a very humbling thing. The key is it takes everybody for anybody to do anything.”
The commission also honored Wright after the Professional Educators of Tennessee, a nonpartisan statewide association of Tennessee teachers, named Wright its superintendent of the year for 2016.
“I’m blessed and I feel privileged to not only live and reside in this county, but to work for this school district. It was here all along. I’m a great cheerleader. I will say that,” Wright said.
“[School educators and staff] create the magic and I’m the one that makes sure they have the resources, tools and everything they need to do it. Once again, thank you, but I thank them for making this job what it is.”
The commission also approved a continuing budget and tax rate for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
It is possible the fiscal year budget will not be approved until after the beginning of the fiscal year, and under the provisions of the 1981 Financial Management Act, Wilson County does not have to adopt a budget for the new fiscal year until Aug. 31 but must adopt it during July or August or get the approval of the comptroller.
The amounts set in the current appropriations budget will be continued until a new budget is adopted.
By Xavier Smith