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Q&A with director of schools finalists
Warren County Schools logo.jpg
Roger Alsup.jpg
Alsup

Q: What is your budgeting experience?

I have always been a good fiscal manager with both school and military budgets. I consider myself to be frugal with finances. I look for ways to get the most out of every dollar in the budget, cut costs, and reduce expenses where possible. I have had to operate a school when money was tight during a downturn in the economy so I have experience making difficult decisions because of budgetary constraints.

I currently manage a budget of $4.1 million following established priorities/goals and sound fiscal management. I successfully wrote a grant which provides Franklin County High School with a full-time college advisor who assist students with completing college applications and FAFSA. I also wrote a grant which provided over $250,000 for health science, cybersecurity, machining, and welding equipment.

During my time as an assistant superintendent, one of my responsibilities was the federal programs supervisor for the school district. 

While deployed in Iraq, I successfully executed and supervised over 75 projects, contracted under the Federal Acquisition Regulations with a program value exceeding $110 million.


Q: What is your managerial experience?

I have been in education for 29 years, 23 of those as an administrator. I also served in the military for 27 years, retiring as a major. My education experience includes being a middle school and high school assistant principal, middle school and high school principal, and an assistant superintendent.

As a military officer, I served as a platoon leader, company commander, battalion logistics officer, training officer, and training site manager. Additionally, I served as the senior military engineer officer supervising a joint engineering team of military, civilian, and Iraqi local national engineers. During my 12 months in Iraq, I developed a strong rapport with the Marine Regimental Combat team, the Marine Civil Affairs Group, Iraqi contractors, and the local Iraqi city leaders and engineers.


Q: What is your history/ background?

Coming from a loving, but poor family, I did not place much value in education. Once I graduated from high school, with only a 2.0 GPA, I decided to join the military. Although I had no confidence in my ability to learn, I decided to try to obtain an associate’s degree. 

After unexpected success, I took my education further and received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education in biology and became a middle school science teacher. While I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and found satisfaction in helping students succeed, I felt a desire to provide an even greater impact. It was then I decided to go further in my education by receiving my master’s degree then doctorate degree, all while serving in the National Guard and raising a family.


Q: What is your vision for Warren County Schools?

Warren County already has a longstanding history of educational success. I want to add my skills to an already well-established team. My vision is the same no matter what position in education I hold. It is simple, but to the point:

• I am committed to excellence in all areas of education and life

• I am future-focused, planning and making decisions based on students in their future lives

• I am dedicated to serving others and making where I live and work a better place

The vision I see for Warren County Schools will be one created with feedback from internal and external stakeholders. I will build support throughout the community by evaluating where we are, by encouraging others to share their ideas, and by listening closely to the internal and external stakeholders.

I want Warren County students to graduate from high school with a high school diploma, plus something such as an associate’s degree or an industry certification. I want students to have the level of achievement that will allow them to attend any university or vocational school they desire. I want Warren County Schools to be a showcase, one which other schools will want to model after.


Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position?

One of my best attributes is my ability to communicate effectively, and I consider myself to be someone willing to listen to others. I have demonstrated in my past positions that I have the ability to build and lead a cohesive team focused on student success. 

I believe my proven leadership skills, effectiveness, and success as a teacher, a building principal, and a central office administrator, make me a strong candidate for the Warren County Director of Schools. 

Autumn Turner.jpg
Turner

Q: What is your budgeting experience?

I have extensive experience developing and managing budgets related to state funding, federal funding, and also with nonprofit organizations. My current position with the school system includes the responsibility of overseeing several budgets and grant-related funding. 

My experience with federal grants and budgeting includes managing the last three years of the Race to the Top/ First to the Top program, developing and executing the budget for our current multi-district collaborative grant for the Principal Pipeline Program with Warren County serving as the lead fiscal agent, and the New Skills for Youth federal grant. In total, I have managed approximately $8.5 million in grant funds and budgets. 

In addition to managing these various grants, other budget-related experience includes managing the school-level budget while serving as principal at Centertown Elementary School and managing the state-level budget for our regional tech prep office while I served as Highland Rim Tech Prep Coordinator at Motlow State Community College (Moore County campus). 

I oversee the local nonprofit, Warren County Books from Birth program, which involves fundraising to ensure our local organization is able to cover the cost of the monthly book bill. 

 

Q: What is your managerial experience?

I was fortunate enough to serve as principal at Centertown Elementary School which included the honor of working with over 500 students and about 60 faculty and staff members every day. Although I would describe a principal’s role to be more aligned with instructional leadership, the role of a principal also involves aspects of management. This experience allowed me to gain experience in leading adults, ensuring the school continued with a high-quality instructional program for students, and working with stakeholder groups such as our Parent Involvement Club and the Partners In Education. 

I was also responsible for overseeing other aspects such as building and grounds management and school-level budget and financial management.

When I moved to the Warren County Schools central office, I was able to extend my experience in effective management with a focus on improving the instructional programs throughout the district. I have managed and led district-wide initiatives such as the school system and school-level accreditation process, the district-wide professional development program for all teachers, and the school improvement planning process


Q: What is your history/ background?

I started my career at WCMS as a special education teacher in sixth grade and eighth grade. I served as team leader for the special education department while at WCMS. I worked for one year at MSCC in Tullahoma as the Highland Rim Tech Prep Coordinator. During that year, state-level funding for Tech Prep was discontinued, and I missed my home with Warren County Schools. 

When I returned, I served as Middle Grades Instructional Coordinator for the system which allowed me to work in many of our schools. When Janie Moore retired as principal of Centertown Elementary, I became the interim principal to finish out the year. I applied for the permanent position and became principal. After a few years there, Dr. Hale retired and Mr. Cox became Director of Schools. Although it was a very tough decision to leave Centertown at the time, I applied for the Director of Teaching & Learning, PreK-6 position and was hired. I am now finishing my eighth year in this position, and am part of the core leadership team at central office. 


Q: What is your vision for Warren County Schools?

Warren County is already seen as a high-quality school system in our state. I want to continue to build upon our successes while also building a structure to address the areas where we can improve in order to serve the comprehensive needs of all our students. My vision for the school system is to provide an education that prepares our students, academically, for success during and after their school career while also addressing and developing the other non-academic factors that are important for success in life. 

These non-academic factors include developing students in the social, emotional, moral, aesthetic (arts), and physical (health) domains. 


Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position?

I have experience in all levels from pre-K all the way through to postsecondary. I have served as teacher, department head, secondary/ postsecondary transition specialist, instructional coordinator, principal, and central office supervisor. I have spent the last eight years learning about the responsibilities of this position through my close work with Director Cox, and I have been involved in the work through the organizational structure of our roles. 

With all that being said, the thing that makes me the best candidate for this position is my love for our students and all they represent for the community of Warren County. That is what has always driven me in my work with Warren County Schools, and it will continue to do so.