Rynkiewicz happy to find ‘positive’ community at Bearden as new curriculum principal


Ella Parker

Dr. Dave Rynkiewicz talks with librarian Mrs. Kristen Heffern at a faculty meet-and-greet in September.

After traveling 1,925 miles from California to Tennessee, Dr. David Rynkiewicz has taken up his role as assistant principal of curriculum at Bearden High School. 

Dr. Rynkiewicz had been the principal of Gabrielino High School in the greater Los Angeles area, but he and his family were interested in moving to Tennessee.

“I had an opportunity to think a little bigger for my family and what was best for them and me,” Dr. Rynkiewicz said of the move. “Tennessee has values and a way of life that I like, and I think it’s a great place.”

Bearden is the first place that Dr. Rynkiewicz applied to. He was immediately drawn to this school especially after speaking with Principal Mrs. Debbie Sayers and the administrative team. 

“Within a couple minutes, I knew this place is about kids and that it was positive and that people love Bearden and that the adults here really love students,” Dr. Rynkiewicz said. “So my first impression has only been positive, and it feels like I’ve hit the gold mine by being here.”

Dr. Rynkiewicz’s role of assistant principal overseeing curriculum consists of forming the master schedule as well as the annual schedule by working collaboratively to figure out how many students will be in each class and the number of sections there will be for each class. He also works with the counseling department to ensure that students get the classes they need and want. 

“When I was principal, I remember really enjoying the position but also realizing, ‘Wow, I’m the only one that could do this right now and I have to make the decisions now,’ so sometimes it can be a lonely place to be and it could be a very hard place to be,” Dr. Rynkiewicz said. “Coming here to Bearden High School and being assistant principal, it’s not the principal, but I’m here to support the principal and support the school.” 

“So it’s a little bit of less stress, and it’s a good place to be because I get to learn about the Tennessee way, the Knoxville way, and the Bearden way while being able to follow a great leader.”

Dr. Rynkiewicz will also play a significant role in the rollout of the academy system, ensuring that students are placed in the right academy and have classes that are tailored to them.

“Dr. Rynkiewicz brings a wealth of knowledge as a past teacher and administrator from California,” sophomore assistant principal Mrs. Denise Watts said. “He will bring a fresh look to things and will allow the team to maybe see things differently.

“As a curriculum principal, he will be able to ensure that students receive an equitable educational experience at Bearden.”