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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 a quality education 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 will become the first class eligible to earn a Work Ethic Diploma and students who earn this recognition will be guaranteed an interview at 25 surrounding industries if they meet the job posting qualifications. In addition, we have developed internship programs with ZF TRW, 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 Multi Meter, ServSafe Food Handler, National Center for Construction Education and Research, and ACT Work Keys. 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. Additionally, Hawkins County Schools is proud of the fact that we have two of the eight East TN State University Roan Scholars selected this year.

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 74.8% in 2004-05 to 90.4% in 2014-15. Our ACT composite score has improved 1.3 points over the past two years from an 18.0 to a 19.3. The number of students meeting all four college readiness indicators (math, English, reading, and science) on the ACT increased 6% from 2012-13 to 2014-15 and the percentage of students meeting ACT Hope Scholarship eligibility (21 ACT Composite or 3.0 G.P.A.) rose 6.6% from 2012-13 to 2014-15.  

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 Members include: Chairman Chris Christian, Vice-Chairman Bob Larkins, members Kathy Cradic, Holly Helton, Tecky Hicks, Debbie Shedden, and Mike Williams. 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.