Mt. Juliet Middle School principal Leigh Anne Rainey was tapped to replace longtime Mt. Juliet High School principal Mel Brown when he retires at the end of the school year.
Rainey came to Wilson County Schools in January 2017, when Tim Bell retired as principal at Mt. Juliet Middle School at the beginning of winter break in December 2016.
“While Leigh Anne has done a tremendous job over the past year and a half, leading one of the state’s largest middle school, she has always expressed a strong desire to work with high school students, and she has a proven track record working with students at this level,” said Wilson County Schools spokesperson Jennifer Johnson.
Prior to joining Wilson County Schools, Rainey spent the previous four years as executive principal for Jonesboro High School in Arkansas.
Wilson County Director of Schools Donna Wright said while it’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved principal like Mel Brown, she’s pleased to have someone who with the experience and knowledge of our community to continue building on the strong foundation that’s already been laid at Mt. Juliet High School.
“Leigh Ann has developed such a strong rapport with our students and parents, even in the short time she’s been in our district,” Wright said. “I have no doubt that it will serve her well as she transitions to the high school. We’re truly blessed to have someone who already lives in our community and with the skills and experience to help make this a seamless transition.”
From 1997-2009, Rainey taught several subjects, including AP biology and environmental science. In 2009, Rainey was chosen to be the school intervention and response to intervention specialist for Jonesboro High School in Arkansas, where she was later promoted to assistant principal and executive principal.
Rainey is no stranger to Middle Tennessee. She graduated from Franklin High School in Williamson County, where many of her relatives still live.
Brown is set to retire June 30. His 45-year career features numerous roles, resulting in several personal and school awards and recognition.
Brown started his education career at Two Rivers High School in 1966. In 1972, he moved to McGavock High School, where he also served as assistant football coach and head baseball coach, after several Metro Nashville schools closed.
As head baseball coach, he amassed 582 wins, three Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association state championships, three TSSAA state runner-ups, seven “coach of the year” honors and averaged 29 wins per season. The McGavock High School baseball field is named “Mel Brown Field” in his honor.
He was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 1999. He is also a member of the Clay County High School, Lipscomb and Tennessee baseball halls of fame.
Brown served as assistant principal at Hillsboro High School from 1992-96 and Lebanon High School during the 2003-2004 school year before he was appointed principal at Mt. Juliet High School.
Brown is regarded as one of the state’s best high school principals. During his tenure, Mt. Juliet High School received state recognition and championships in athletics and the fine arts.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education named Mt. Juliet the No. 1 academic school in the state. Brown followed up the recognition with several Reward School recognitions by the Tennessee Department of Education, as well as a “principal of the year” award by the Tennessee Association of Secondary School Principals.
Bell joined Wilson County Schools in 1987, when he taught health and physical education at Mt. Juliet Middle School.
He served as assistant principal, varsity baseball and varsity basketball coach at Mt. Juliet High School. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees from Trevecca Nazarene University.