Bearden’s new teachers highlight school culture, tradition as reasons for wanting to join the staff


Millie Lovett

Mrs. Ashleigh Griswold oversees a group discussion in her sophomore English class this week.

Bearden is welcoming a total of 38 new teachers for the 2022-23 school year. 

With so many schools in Knox County, why Bearden? What makes the West Knoxville school stand out from others?

Sophomore English teacher Mrs. Ashleigh Griswold was an intern at Bearden when the pandemic hit. She got a job at another school, but soon realized how much she missed the Bearden community.

“Bearden High School has a community of both students and teachers that makes it feel like you have unending support every direction that you look,” Mrs. Griswold said. “Every one of your co-workers and administrators want you to just absolutely be the best you can be.” 

Bearden’s supportive community is seen all throughout the school – not just in the classroom, but on the field, the court, the stage, and throughout the administration. These aspects are viewed all over the county, which is the leading factor in drawing new staff to Bearden. 

“The school’s been around for a long time, they have an established community,” said Coach Jay Whinery, a physical education teacher and assistant football coach. “There is a ton of alumni, a ton of people around, that still love Bearden High School. 

“I have seen that from the outside looking in. And now getting here, you can feel that there [is] something special about the place because of that.”

When he was offered the opportunity to come to Bearden, he knew he could not turn down the offer as he knew his own goals and virtues aligned with Bearden’s.

“If you give me an opportunity to be great, I’m gonna grab onto that,” Coach Whinery said.