Kingsport City Schools Announces 2021 Principal, Supervisor, and Teachers of the Year

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Kingsport City Schools is proud to announce its 2021 Principal, Supervisor, district-level and building-level Teachers of the Year. Dr. Chris Hampton was named Principal of the Year and Vicki Johnston was named Supervisor of the Year. Teachers of the Year include, Jackilyn Heller (grades Pre-K–4), Mona Fulkerson (grades 5–8), and Dr. Andy Irvin (grades 9–12).

Dr. Chris Hampton, Principal of Dobyns-Bennett High School, has been named district Principal of the Year. Counting this school year, Hampton is in his twenty-fourth year as an educator with Kingsport City Schools, with ten years in his present position. Hampton has previously served as a special education teacher, a school counselor, and an assistant principal at Dobyns-Bennett. He was the 2019 recipient of the William J. and Lucille H. Field Award for Excellence in Secondary Principalship for the State of Tennessee and was a member of the inaugural Aspire Mastermind Group for Excellence in Rural Education through the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Education. Hampton holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education, a Master's degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership, all from East Tennessee State University.

“I am excited for Dr. Hampton on being recognized by his peers for the outstanding work that is going on at Dobyns-Bennett, especially in such a challenging year,” said KCS Superintendent Dr. Jeff Moorhouse. “I am grateful for his meaningful contributions in making D-B and KCS a lighthouse district.”

Vicki Johnston, Supervisor of Nursing for Kingsport City Schools, has been named district Supervisor of the Year. She is the first nursing supervisor for Kingsport City Schools and has been employed in various positions of the healthcare system. Johnston has attended the University of Charleston and holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a West Virginia school nurse certification from West Virginia University. Additionally, she is a registered nurse from Saint Mary's School of Nursing in Knoxville. She has been a Walters State Community College Foundation Board of Trustee member since 2014 and the President of the Tennessee Association of School Nurses since 2019.

“To have the tireless efforts of Vicki Johnston during this past year recognized by her peers could not make me more proud of our team,” said KCS Superintendent Dr. Jeff Moorhouse. “Her selection is a testament to their appreciation for the tremendous support she gave to all of our schools.”

“During the past year, Vicki Johnston has done an exemplary job of leading our school nurses and working with our staff and families as we continue to navigate through COVID-19 as a school district,” said Jim Nash, KCS Chief Student Services Officer. “She has served as a tremendous resource for staff and families to address medical concerns and COVID-19 related questions. Vicki has worked countless hours to address COVID-19 needs while working with our nurses to maintain a high level of care in our clinics across our schools. I am extremely appreciative of her work, expertise, and dedication to our district during these challenging times.  I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the supervisor of the year."

Jackilyn Heller, 4th Grade Math Teacher at Jackson Elementary School, has been named the district winner for grades Pre-K–4. She began her teaching career at Jackson Elementary School, where she has taught for the past five years. Heller serves as the LEGO Robotics coach, the Math Olympiad coach, and is co-chair of the BRAVES Club program at Jackson Elementary. In addition, she tutors students before school and is actively involved in her school's Emotional Bank Account team. She holds a Master's degree in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University and serves as a Math Teacher Leader for Kingsport City Schools.

“Mrs. Heller is an excellent teacher who uses data to reflect on teaching strategies and student progress,” said Jackson Elementary Principal Dr. Kyle Loudermilk. “Her determination and desire to support students is evident both in her classroom and in the after-school FIRST LEGO League she leads at Jackson. Mrs. Heller is knowledgeable about the content she teaches and she ensures that students have a true understanding of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations. We are blessed to have Mrs. Heller as a teacher at Jackson!”

Mona Fulkerson, 5th Grade Math Teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, has been named the district winner for grades 5–8. In the past twenty-three years, Fulkerson has taught at Bristol City Schools, Sullivan County Schools, and Kingsport City Schools. She coached football and softball at Holston Valley Middle School and later coached softball and sponsored the Builder’s Club at Robinson Middle School. She has spent the past sixteen years at Lincoln Elementary School, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. In addition, she has received distinguished recognition for a STEM Lesson Plan and Presentation as a 2019 SciencElites participant and was invited to address the 2020 panel of participants.

“Mona is an exemplar teacher who without question always puts students first. She builds strong relationships with all of her students and lets each one know that she loves them, they are special, and she believes they can do great things,” said Lincoln Elementary School Principal Suzanne Zahner. “She is a leader among her peers and frequently works with other math teachers in our school and across the district to discuss instructional strategies and learning tools that will benefit students. We are incredibly proud to have Mona on our staff at Lincoln.”

Dr. Andy Irvin, Social Studies Teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School, has been named the district winner for grades 9–12. He has been teaching in Kingsport City Schools for the past eleven years and is entering his fourteenth year in education. Irvin began his teaching career at David Crockett High School in Washington County, Tenn. and has since taught in both non-traditional and traditional learning environments. He has taught several English courses and a Global Affairs class, and currently teaches United States History and World History. Irvin earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from Milligan College and holds a Doctorate degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis - Administration from East Tennessee State University.

"Dr. Irvin is an incredible asset to Dobyns-Bennett and Kingsport City Schools,” said Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal Dr. Chris Hampton. “He is committed to supporting student success and the overall success and wellbeing of Kingsport. His love for our school and community is evident through each and every role he serves. It is a great honor to work side-by-side with Dr. Irvin and the dozens of others who contribute to the lives of our students on a daily basis."

In addition to the three district winners, 2021 individual school winners are:

Grades Pre-K–4
  • Carrie Morrison, Pre-K, Palmer Center
  • Beth Ward, 4th Grade Math,  Adams Elementary School
  • Jackilyn Heller, 4th Grade Math, Jackson Elementary School
  • Brandi Conkin, 4th Grade English Language Arts, Johnson Elementary School
  • Amy Nida, 1st Grade, Kennedy Elementary School
  • Marti Harrison, 1st Grade, Roosevelt Elementary School
  • Mary Ellen Smith, Kindergarten, Washington Elementary School
Grades 5–8
  • Darin Trent, 5th Grade Math, Jefferson Elementary School
  • Mona Fulkerson, 5th Grade Math, Lincoln Elementary School
  • Chris Carr, 7th Grade Social Studies, Sevier Middle School
  • Virginia Marshall, 6th Grade Science, Sevier Middle School
  • Clint Bingham, 7th Grade Social Studies, Robinson Middle School
  • Melissa Al-Salim, 6-8th Grade Literary Intervention - Spanish, Robinson Middle School
Grades 9–12
  • Nathan Bailey, CTE Information Technology - Coding, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Jenny Bishop, Math, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Amanda Blackburn, Biology 1, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Katie Beth Boggan, Pre-AP English/CP English, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Dr. Andy Irvin, Social Studies, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Bryan Kerns, Math, Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Erica Gardner, Algebra 1, D-B EXCEL   
Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice, and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,600 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to Inspire. Cultivate. Impact.

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, download our mobile app for Apple/Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Instagram (@kcs_district), Twitter (@KCS_District), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools), and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).