Buckley-Carpenter Elementary School Information
Many questions have been asked about the name given to the new elementary school which opened its doors to students in January 2015.
The name was an easy decision for the School Board. The new school is the key element in resolving the desegregation lawsuit filed in 1965. As such, it seemed appropriate for the school’s name to reflect the coming together of the community by honoring two individuals who made outstanding contributions to education and sports in Fayette County. Buckley-Carpenter Elementary memorializes the accomplishments of Dan Buckley and Samuel Carpenter who each led their girls’ basketball teams to State Championships.
Coach Dan Ray Buckley was born on May 19, 1921 in Palmerville, Weakley County, TN. From 1938 to 1940, he attended the University of Tennessee at Martin. In 1942 he received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and began teaching at Fayette County High School. He married Miss Eleanor Booth and they had one daughter, Dana Cowan Buckley.
During Coach Buckley’s 20 years of teaching vocational agriculture, he won a number of honors through Future Farmers of America. In 1963 he was awarded the Honorary State Farmer Award, which was one of the highest awards for a teacher of agriculture at the time. That same year the alumni of the University of Tennessee elected him to serve on their board of governors.
In 1945, Mr. Buckley began coaching boys’ basketball. The following year, he changed to girls’ basketball and coached for two more seasons. After doing some coaching in baseball, he went back to girls’ basketball in 1958. In 1960 and the years that followed, his teams had three undefeated seasons and won six District Championships, five Regional Championships and the 1965 State Championship. From 1960 to the time of his death, Coach Buckley had a record of 153 victories and only nine losses. Many said he didn’t want just an average ball team, he wanted a championship team.
Coach Buckley instilled the following attitude into his teams, “To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays by our todays, to give as we have never given, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever before - this is the true ideal - to get ahead of ourselves. To beat someone else in a game, or to be beaten, may mean much or little. Whether we win or not, we are playing better than we ever did, and that is the point.”
The night of Coach Buckley’s death, Dr. Frank McKnight stated, “Coach Buckley will be the most missed man in this county. He had more influence on the kids here than any other one or several persons.”
Coach Buckley died on January 21, 1967, at the age of only 45, but his commitment to achieving greatness lives on in the hearts of many of those he taught and coached. He was always willing to share his knowledge and his techniques on how to make a good team. He will be remembered as a teacher, a leader, and an outstanding coach of the FCHS Pantherettes.
Principal, Coach, Teacher, Sergeant and Mickey are the names Mr. Samuel Carpenter was known by. Mr. Carpenter was born on April 25, 1919 in Fayette County, TN. He was the oldest of eight children born to U.S. and Indiana Carpenter. He graduated with honors from the Fayette County Training School. At the age of 19, he entered Lane College in Jackson, TN and joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity while there. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in English and Speech with high honors. After receiving his teaching degree from Lane College, he was drafted and served as a sergeant in the Red Ball Express for two years during World War II.
Following his military service, Mr. Carpenter was employed by the Fayette County Board of Education as an English instructor at the Fayette County Training School. He married Miss Hortense Coleman, and they had two sons, Tyrone and Karl Carpenter. He later received a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Memphis State University.
During his time as a teacher, he was asked to consider coaching the girls’ high school basketball team as well. Mr. Carpenter immediately accepted and became one of the best coaches in the State of Tennessee. His teams never missed entering the State Tournament and won many State Championships.
Later in his career, Mr. Carpenter was appointed Principal of the Fayette County Training School, which was re-named Fayette-Ware South Campus during his tenure. Upon becoming principal, he gave up coaching because he felt it was too much to continue on in both roles. When he discovered he had a small health problem, he decided to return to the classroom for several years before finally retiring.
Mr. Carpenter was a man of many dreams and always had a smile for everyone. Many remember his dedication as a strong teacher and leader for over 37 years. He passed away on Friday, February 13, 1987, but his legacy lives on through the community, his family and friends, and the winning Lady Hornettes.
Fayette County Schools would like to thank the following people for their assistance with this article: CAPT Wendell Wainwright, Mr. and Mrs. Karl Carpenter, Evangeline Shaw (one of Coach Carpenter’s Lady Hornettes), Dana Pittman, Molly McCarley, Donna Lewis, Garland Goddard, Derek Goddard, Butch and Carolyn Rhea and all those who wrote articles in years past. Without these individuals, this wonderful piece of history would have gone unknown to so many.
April 2014 Fayette Falcon Article
Buckley-Carpenter Elementary: A Shining Example of Learning Excellence
Next January, Buckley-Carpenter Elementary School will open its doors to welcome students from preschool through fifth grade. As one of the two “choice” schools in the district’s new Controlled Choice Program, the school will not only serve students from Central, Jefferson, Northwest and Somerville, but also from Oakland.
Students will find themselves in a technologically sophisticated environment where every classroom has been provided with infrastructure for computers, internet access, smart boards, and other state-of-the-art educational equipment. Beyond the classrooms, there will be two fully equipped 30-station computer labs and six mobile laptop carts which can be deployed when a laptop is needed in every student’s hands for a class activity. The library will include a media center with individual study desks with computers, as well as a laptop, projector and screen setup for presentations. Hands-on technology throughout will make the new facility a teaching tool at virtually every turn.
The new school has also been designed with safety in mind. There will be controlled access to ensure only people with legitimate business at the school are admitted into the building. The hub and spoke layout will enable staff to see down all hallways from one central location. Intercoms will connect all classrooms with the administration both for regular communications and for directions in case of an emergency.
A dedicated science lab will enhance the science curriculum by giving students the opportunity to perform experiments and more fully explore areas of interest in a room specifically designed for that purpose. The lab will also be home to a pilot STEM program for third graders in the first year and expanding to the fourth and fifth grades in subsequent years.
STEM is a curriculum based on the concept of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in a blended learning environment and showing them how the scientific method can be applied to everyday life. It teaches students computational thinking and focuses on real world applications of problem solving. Danita Zeliniski, the new STEM instructor, is already working on plans for next year and will be attending a four-day training program in June.
In addition to a strong focus on science and technology, Buckley-Carpenter will offer expanded opportunities in the arts. Next door to the science lab will be a beautiful new art room where students can create traditional art projects and learn how to use graphic arts software. Both the science lab and the art room will feature tables that accommodate four students in order to facilitate collaboration and provide plenty of work space.
Across the hall from the art room and the science lab will be the music room where students can sing to their hearts’ content and learn to play musical instruments. The music rooom will back up to the stage in the gym using the same layout which has proven very effective at LaGrange/Moscow. This arrangement allows students to dress and prepare for productions in the music room then walk out onto the stage to perform.
For students with special needs there will be three state-of-the-art comprehensive development classrooms, one of which will be for PreK, and one resource classroom that will all provide a setting for individual instruction. Two speech rooms with a soundproof area for testing hearing, a private IEP meeting room, and an office for the occupational and physical therapists will round out the robust special education facitilies.
According to newly appointed Principal Constance Wright, “Buckley-Carpenter Elementary School will have a promising academic program that encompasses the ever-evolving world of technology. It will be integrating the Common Core State Standards, Response to Intervention practices, and the High Achiever Program. The passion to empower the total child will be quite evident in raising achievement while closing the gap among subgroups.”
“Opening a brand new school can be daunting”, admits new Assistant Principal Theron Sanders, “but I welcome this opportunity to work alongside Principal Wright to meet the challenges in order to build a school culture that will prove successful for both students and teachers. We want to provide instruction at levels of great depth and rigor. And we want a true professional learning community in which everyone involved with our school - students, teachers, parents, community members - are committed to lifelong learning and are willing to create and provide opportunities to do so.”
Principal Wright concludes, “With all the advantages Buckley-Carpenter Elementary is offering, who wouldn’t want their child to attend?”
March 26, 2014 Fayette Falcon Article
Leadership Team for New School Announced
Last Friday, March 21, Director of Schools James Teague announced his appointments to the leadership team for the new school, Buckley-Carpenter Elementary. Constance Wright, principal at Somerville Elementary, was named as the new principal and will be joined by Theron Sanders, principal at Jefferson Elementary, as the new assistant principal. Also announced were Allien Dacus and Cindy Treadway as Instructional Facilitators, Teresa Threet as Librarian, Narilyn Mayo as HAP Instructor, Deborah Stevens as Guidance Counselor, and Danita Zelinski as STEM Instructor. All other appointments to the Buckley-Carpenter teaching staff will be made by May 15.
Construction on Buckley-Carpenter will be completed in late fall. Although the school will not be open for students until the spring semester, Principal Wright, Asst Principal Sanders, and STEM Instructor Zelinski are already hard at work on plans for staff development. Ms. Zelinski will be attending a four-day STEM training program in June. The entire leadership team along with the district’s system-wide support staff will have a busy fall preparing for the January opening.
The new leadership team for Buckley-Carpenter Elementary has many years of educational training and dedicated service to Fayette County Schools. Following is an overview of their credentials and experience.
Principal, Constance Wright has been a member of the teaching staff at Fayette County Schools since 2004 and is currently the principal of Somerville Elementary. Growing up in Piperton, Mrs. Wright attended the county’s public schools. Upon graduation from Fayette-Ware High School, she was awarded the Fayette County Alumni Association Scholarship. She graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and later attended Crichton College where she received her certification in education.
Mrs. Wright earned her master’s degree from Bethel University in administration and supervision then went on to receive her Education Specialist Degree in School Leadership from Freed-Hardeman University. Presently, she is pursuing a doctorate in school leadership at the University of Memphis through the National Institute of School Leadership Program.
Assistant Principal, Theron Sanders joined the teaching staff of Fayette County Schools in 2003 and serves as the principal of Jefferson Elementary. He received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Jackson State University, a master’s degree in education from Union University, and his Educational Specialist Degree in Leadership from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA. Mr. Sanders is now working on his educational doctorate at the University of Memphis. (Is now the principal at Oakland Elementary.)
Instructional Facilitator, Allien Dacus has worked in education for over 30 years in Fayette County. For the past seven years she has been an instructional facilitator - five years at Somerville Elementary and currently at Jefferson Elementary. She has a bachelor’s degree in education specializing in elementary and special education. Ms. Dacus says, "I am truly blessed to be a part of the Fayette County school system and have made many lifelong friends along the way." She thoroughly enjoys teaching and encouraging the educators in Fayette County Schools. She is looking forward to being part of Buckley-Carpenter Elementary and continuing to empower students and educators to reach their highest goals.
Instructional Facilitator, Cindy Treadway received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Union University in Jackson, TN. She began teaching at Somerville Elementary in 1986 and has been there for 28 years. After teaching first grade for 18½ years, she became the Literacy Leader for seven years and has served as the Instructional Facilitator for the last two years. Ms. Treadway has lived in Fayette County her entire life and says she would not want to live or work anywhere else. Published in The Fayette Falcon on 03/26/14 Page 2
Librarian, Teresa Threet first discovered her interest in education many years ago when she attended Somerville Elementary as a young child. After receiving a degree, she returned to Somerville Elementary as a kindergarten teacher. In 1991 she decided a change was needed and became the school’s librarian. Ms. Threet reports, "It’s a job I love! There’s always something interesting going on from preschool to fifth grade." She is looking forward to the challenges of starting up a new library. Her goals are to encourage the love of reading and to advance the ability of students and teachers to use technology and thus to enhance the classroom curriculum.
High Achiever Program (HAP) Instructor, Narilyn Mayo was born and raised in Somerville where she attended Central Elementary and Fayette-Ware High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis with a major in elementary education. She went on to earn her master's degree from Bethel University with a major in education and to complete her Educational Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision at Union University in Jackson, TN. Ms. Mayo has been a teacher at Oakland Elementary since 2002 and says she is "very passionate about teaching".
Guidance Counselor, Deborah Stevens is a long-time county resident and has been an educator with Fayette County Schools for 36 years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Union University in 1978 and began teaching kindergarten the same year. In 1992 she received her master’s degree in school counseling from the University of Memphis and became a school counselor. Ms. Stevens says, "I enjoy working with students and watching them grow academically and socially. It has been my privilege to work with wonderful students, parents, and colleagues these many years."
STEM Instructor, Danita Zelinski came to Fayette County Schools in 2012 as a third grade teacher at Somerville Elementary. She has taught for more than 30 years in public and private schools in the Memphis area. Her undergraduate and graduate work were completed at the University of Memphis. Ms. Zelinksi says her greatest joy is watching students grasp new ideas and concepts. She is looking forward to advancing students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Oakland Elementary School Information
New Leadership: Principal Theron Sanders
When school starts next August, Oakland Elementary School will again be a full pre-kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school after six years of being split with Southwest. In addition to welcoming back fourth and fifth graders who recently attended Oakland, the school will also be the new home for many Northwest students. Oakland is also one of the two "choice" schools in the district’s new Controlled Choice Program which will further contribute to a more diverse student membership.
Students at Oakland will find themselves in a safe, caring and stimulating environment. The warm, responsive staff is a close knit team that has worked together for quite a few years and is known for fostering a nurturing culture and supportive learning atmosphere. Teachers and staff have an intense focus on high standards and expectations for all students. Student progress is paramount as is demonstrated by frequent monitoring and early intervention if problems emerge. Teachers ensure instructional goals are well matched to students’ skill levels and interests through continual observation and analyzed data. Instruction delivery is highly structured and interactive so students stay engaged, and instruction time on the core curriculum is maximized during the regular school day with classroom time being carefully protected.
Commitment to academic success starts at the top with Oakland’s strong administration team. Principal Kathy Redditt and Assistant Principal Brian Cunningham have worked together through two school years and represent a wealth of educational background and teaching experience.
After growing up next door in Hardeman County, Principal Redditt received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Memphis then began her 20-year career with Fayette County Schools. Starting out as a teacher at Oakland, she later served as Literacy Leader at Southwest and at Oakland, before moving up to Assistant Principal at Oakland then at East Jr High. Mrs. Redditt is a graduate of the U of M Leadership Fellows Program and is currently enrolled in the National Institute for School Leaders doctoral program at the U of M. From 2002 to 2006 she was the recipient of the TCAP award for the highest percentage of advanced and proficient students in Language Arts.
Although Assistant Principal Brian Cunningham was born in Memphis, he grew up in Oakland and attended Oakland Elementary then Fayette-Ware High School. He graduated magna cum laude from Lane College with a major in elementary education then earned his master’s degree from Cambridge College in Massachusetts majoring in teaching skills and methodologies. His teaching career began back home in Fayette County as a second grade teacher at Central where he later taught an all male fifth grade class as well as coached both the boys’ and the girls’ basketball teams. He is currently working on an Education Specialist degree in school leadership at Freed-Hardeman University. While at Lane College, Mr. Cunningham was honored by being included in Who’s Who Among College Students in American Colleges and Universities. In his role as assistant principal at Oakland, he "loves that he has the chance to have a major influence on empowering and enlightening students’ futures."
Oakland takes pride in its High Achiever Program (HAP) led by Carol Ann Neill. The program brings high academic performers together to experience a variety of challenging activities and to propel each student to their greatest potential. Participants have the opportunity to explore different areas such as enriched academics, creative and performing arts, environmental science and technology. Through activities designed to promote taking risks and thinking outside of the box, HAP’s rigorous lessons encourage students to become critical thinkers in a global society. Parents of HAP students also receive education and support in the best ways to help their top performing child succeed.
Technology is moving ahead at Oakland. Students will find two fully equipped computer labs, 15 mobile laptop carts for classroom deployment, a growing number of smart boards, and three to four computers in each classroom. The equipment provided at the school will help students embrace the technological advancements taking place every day.
The aviation program for fourth graders, which was developed by Principal Judi Sipowicz at Northwest Elementary, will become one of the special programs available at Oakland next year.
Utilizing Microsoft software and a single engine aircraft flight simulator, students will actually experience flying a plane. The associated academic curriculum will teach students Bernoulli’s Principle, cloud formations, a new vocabulary and other aspects of the science of flight along with hands-on experiments to demonstrate the principles learned. This performance-based learning experience was highly successful at Northwest and will offer students the opportunity to see first-hand how what they are studying in their classroom applies to the real world around them.
Oakland has provided continual services for students with special needs for many years. It offers one comprehensive development classroom and inclusive services. Speech provides methods for children to engage in developing speech and language abilities. Also on board at Oakland is a physical therapist and a occupational therapist. The physical therapist works individually with students with physical disabilities and focuses on a child's ability to move independently as possible in a school environment and the occupational therapist works with students on their fine motor skills, such as how to properly hold a pencil.
The Oakland Stars basketball team will once again be in full swing with the return of fourth and fifth graders next fall. In preparation for team sports and other extracurricular activities, the large gym will receive a new floor this summer.
Strong family and community involvement has always been an important part of Oakland Elementary. "Our community is constantly growing. Every day it is changing", reports Principal Kathy Redditt. "If it weren’t for our community partnerships with local churches, it wouldn’t be possible for the growth. The churches are there to assist us with the needs of families and children." Some of the community activities held in conjunction with the school are movie nights, award programs and festivals.
"At Oakland we believe in teamwork and that together everyone achieves more," says Mrs. Redditt. She sees education as the key to unlocking the doors to the future for students. Her favorite quote is from Les Brown, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars." Oakland Elementary is the home of the STARS.
For more information on the Controlled Choice program, and other changes for next fall, please contact the Fayette County School Attendance and Records Office.