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After eight years as Knox County Schools Superintendent, Jim McIntyre will join UT as director of the Center for Educational Leadership effective August 1.

McIntyre announced in January that he will step down from his current position in July.

Jim McIntyreHoused within the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, the center provides leadership development for the next generation of school leaders.

The position was formerly held by Autumn Tooms-Cypres, who left in 2013 for a position at Virginia Commonwealth University. The center has been directed since then by Betty Sue Sparks, associate professor of practice, and interim director Mary Lynne Derrington, assistant professor of educational administration.

“I am delighted to become part of the UT team,” said McIntyre, who will also serve as a non-tenure-track assistant professor of practice. “Our nationally recognized flagship university is doing remarkable work in the field of education, and I look forward to joining the outstanding faculty in contributing to that effort. I can now wear my Volunteer orange with even more pride.”

McIntyre holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Boston College, a Master of Science degree in education administration from Canisius College, a Master of Urban Affairs degree from Boston University, and a PhD in public policy from the University of Massachusetts.

Established in June 2010, the Center for Educational Leadership provides rigorous training for aspiring school leaders in a way that bridges the gap between theory and practice.

The center’s components include the Leadership Academy, which provides an intensive 15-month postgraduate degree program in educational administration for a select group of fellows, a professional development task force that works with aspiring and new school administrators around the state of Tennessee, and a repository that houses current research on the best practices in the field of educational leadership.

A collaboration between UT and Knox County Schools, the Leadership Academy combines graduate-level coursework with a full-time four-day-a-week leadership residency in a public school to work with a licensed principal. Graduates receive a master’s or education specialist degree and a beginning instructional leader license from the state of Tennessee.

For the past six years, McIntyre has taught classes and played an integral role in the selection and placement of Leadership Academy fellows.

“The Leadership Academy has benefited from Dr. McIntyre’s involvement over the years,” said Norma Mertz, department head for educational leadership and policy studies and professor of higher education administration. “Our program is known for producing exemplary principals. We look forward to him having an even greater impact in his new role as director.”

UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said McIntyre’s broad experience will further enrich UT’s program.

“The center is based on the premise that great leaders make great schools. We’re fortunate to have someone with his experience and perspective join our excellent team of educators,” Cheek said.

McIntyre has been named Tennessee Superintendent of the Year four out of the past eight years.

As superintendent, McIntyre oversees one of the state’s largest school systems, which includes ninety schools and nearly 5,000 teachers. Test scores and graduation rates improved under his leadership and the system has received several state and national accolades.

“I want to congratulate Dr. McIntyre on his new position, which I think is a going to be a good fit,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “I know he enjoys living in Knox County, and I’m happy he and his family will be able to stay in our community. I look forward to working with him in the future.”

In 2015, Tennessee’s Department of Education recognized Knox County Schools as “exemplary” for narrowing achievement gaps and improving student performance. Only twelve out of more than 140 school districts statewide were given this honor.

“I am thrilled that Dr. McIntyre will be joining our faculty,” said Bob Rider, dean of the college. “He brings a unique set of leadership skills to our college and department of educational leadership and policy studies that will serve us very well.”


Jules Morris (865-974-8916,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,