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KNOXVILLE — Betty Brown, principal at Johnson County High School, has been named Tennessee Educator of the Year by the Tennessee Appalachian Center for Higher Education, or TnACHE.

Betty Brown (in blue), principal of Johnson County High School, shown here with TnACHE Co-Director Karla Kirby, has been named TnACHE Educator of the Year.

Brown was honored recently at the annual conference of Appalachian centers in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

As TnACHE coordinator for Johnson County High School, Brown led a program to help increase students’ college-going rates from 34 percent in 2002 to 59 percent in 2003.

She credits “campus visits to colleges from Memphis to Mountain City” as the strongest influence on students who decided to continue their education after high school.

TnACHE was established at UT in March 2002. Supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, it seeks to encourage high school graduates in the region to pursue post-secondary education.

Center Director Terry Lashley said the program is working with high schools in Fentress, Johnson, Meigs and Scott counties.

Similar programs have helped low college-going rates at high schools in Ohio and West Virginia rise above 70 percent, Lashley said.