In 2015, The Cumberland University Board of Trust named Dr. Paul C. Stumb IV as the 26th president in the school's 174-year history. The appointment came after an extensive nationwide search.
Stumb, 55, has served the university since 2003, when he became an adjunct professor - a capacity in which he served for two years before becoming dean of the Labry School, a position he has held while the division evolved to its current incarnation as the Labry School of Science, Technology and Business.
TN Promise offers free 2-year degree
Higher education was a focus in 2015 for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as he released Tennessee Promise, a program to offer last-dollar scholarship to students who are enrolled in associate's degree programs.
According to Wilson County Schools, every high school senior in the county applied for the program which would essentially guarantee a free associate's degree for any student in the state who met the requirements. Hundreds of mentors also signed up to participate in the program, which is one of the only of its kind in the nation.
Universities and community colleges across the state were eligible as participants for the scholarship money, including Cumberland University, which would be eligible for its associate's degree programs.
TCAT opens Lebanon site
Another technical school which participates in TN Promise is the newly-opened Tennessee College of Applied Technology Lebanon site, which is housed in the former Lebanon High's Vocational School.
The school, which opened in February 2015, began offering courses and certifications in Computer Information Technology and Practical Nursing (LPN). Later in the year, they added Advanced Manufacturing, Machine Tool Technology and Welding Technology certifications.
County invests $55 million in schools
The Wilson County Commission approved $55 million construction bond, which will be used for expansion and renovation at Tuckers Crossroads, Southside, Gladeville and Watertown Elementaries and Mt. Juliet Middle School.
A new elementary in the Mt. Juliet area will also be included in the funding package. The school board is also considering the location of a new high school in Mt. Juliet.
Carroll-Oakland expansion completed
Carroll-Oakland Elementary School Principal Carol Ferrell noted last spring how impressed she has been with students, parents and faculty since construction started on the school's expansion last fall.
"Everyone has been amazing. Even with the gravel parking lot, everybody has kept a smile on their face and their eyes on the final prize coming soon," she said.
The expansion, which kicked off with a ceremony in August 2014, was completed in the fall. The approx. $15 million project created a new gym to seat 1,000 and new classrooms, eliminating more than a dozen portable classrooms used in recent years due to an increase in enrollment. It also renovated the old gymnasium into a new library and kitchen space.
Longtime principals retire
Wilson County Schools Director Dr. Donna Wright announced in May four new principals at Lebanon High, Wilson Central High, Tuckers Crossroads Elementary and West Elementary.
Scott Walters was announced as the new principal for Lebanon High School, following the retirement of Myra Sloan. Travis Mayfield took the helm at Wilson Central High School as Pat Suddarth retired at the end of the school year.
Anna Raines became the new principal for Tuckers Crossroads following Susie Breedwell's retirement. And former Assistant Principal Chris Plummer at West Elementary moved up to replace Becky Siever, who left to become principal at Byars Dowdy Elementary School in the Lebanon Special School District.
"I am extremely pleased to make these announcements," said Wright. "All candidates were interviewed by a Central Office team, and I feel we have the best possible new leaders for each of these schools as we strive to provide excellence in education for all of our students."
Ten schools earn straight 'A's'
Ten of the 14 eligible Wilson County Schools received all "A's" in achievement for 2014-15, according to the Tennessee Department of Education Report Card.
According to Jennifer Cothron, supervisor of testing and accountability, only schools in the grades three through eight receive a grade in achievement.
"Wilson County has 15 schools in that category, but only 14 were eligible because Watertown Middle School does not have data for three years, and the grades are based on a three-year average for the school," she said.
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