May 16, 2018
By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools
Long-time Assistant Principal Dr. Sherri Southerland has been named the next principal of Smyrna High School, Director of Schools Don Odom and Director of Schools-Elect Bill Spurlock have announced.
Southerland has been with the school for 13 years and served for 12 as one of four assistant principals. She originally came to the school from Metro-Nashville as an English teacher and girls’ soccer coach at Smyrna.
In all, she has 20 years experience as an educator.
“Dr. Southerland has a longterm commitment with Smyrna High School since 2005 when she was selected by then Principal Robert Raikes,” Odom said. “She has a noteworthy resume statement of ‘All students can learn through high expectations, clear goals and compassion.’”
Southerland earned her bachelor’s in English from Middle Tennessee State University before completing her master’s in Educational Leadership. She completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Carson-Newman University in July 2017.
“Dr. Southerland understands the importance of Smyrna High’s past and traditions but also has a clear vision to move the school forward,” said Director-Elect Spurlock, a 1978 graduate of Smyrna High School.
Southerland succeeds Rick Powell, who has served as the principal of the school since July 2011 and has announced his retirement. Powell previously worked for longtime Smyrna High School legend, Robert “Bud” Raikes, who served as principal from 1973-2011.
Southerland said raising ACT scores for all students will be one of her first priorities. She thanked both Directors Odom and Spurlock for a chance to continue contributing to the Smyrna High School legacy.
“I am honored and excited to follow in the footsteps of great leaders like Mr. Raikes and Mr. Powell,” Southerland said. “Smyrna High School is rich in tradition with a strong sense of community pride. I look forward to maintaining that pride and tradition, while at the same time implementing new programs and initiatives that will benefit all students at SHS.”