Rick A. Wilson
John Sevier Elementary School
Maryville City School District
Maryville, Tennessee

Rick A. WilsonIn his career as a principal since 2001, Rick Wilson has led two elementary schools to attain exemplary reputations in his state. The schools, which Wilson has successively served, have very different demographics. In both cases, however, his leadership significantly boosted student achievement and “value-added growth,” a criterion in Tennessee’s school assessments. Wilson arrived at John Sevier Elementary in 2003. The small-town school has 593 Pre-K-4 students. Nearly half the children are poor, and one-fifth are of minority cultural backgrounds. His previous school served a population of about 250 students. Fewer than a quarter were classified as low-income, and only 2 percent were of minority backgrounds. At both schools, Wilson developed data analysis programs that enable staff members to recognize and track student progress. The programs allow for individual plans for student achievement. He also ensured that teachers received training on using data to improve student performance. By working collaboratively to support students and families, particularly those facing economic challenges, Wilson has built positive relationships in his school community. He also has dramatically increased parent involvement. “The foundation for a positive school climate rests on the integration of academic and behavior approaches that address the individual as a whole person,” he says. He has a B.S. from East Tennessee State University and an M.Ed. from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.