Rocky Fork Middle Names New Principal


Dr. James “Jimmy” Sullivan has a history of leading teachers and students to high performance, which impresses Director of Schools Don Odom.

Within two years of becoming principal of Harris Middle School in Bedford County, for example, Sullivan served as a change agent to help the school reach a Level 5, the highest performance designation a school can receive by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Sullivan, a resident of the Christiana community and a former teacher for Rutherford County Schools, has been named the first principal of Rocky Fork Middle School, which will open in Smyrna in August.

In making the announcement, Director of Schools Don Odom cited Sullivan’s effectiveness as a principal, his familiarity with Rutherford County and his extensive education research.

“Dr. Sullivan has a proven record as a principal of leading educators in becoming high performing and effective instructional professionals,” Director Odom said. “The school that he currently leads has been recognized for attaining academic gains for its students.”

Sullivan is a graduate of Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, and earned his doctoral degree from Lipscomb University in 2014 in “Learning Organizations and Strategic Change.” He serves as an adjunct professor at Lipscomb and previously taught and coached at Blackman Middle School from 2006-2011.

“I am humbled and honored with the opportunity to lead Rocky Fork Middle School,” Sullivan said. “As a resident of Rutherford County who benefited from the education provided to me at both Walter Hill Elementary and Oakland High School, I am excited to return to the district in which I began my career.

“At Rocky Fork Middle School, my vision is to foster an environment dedicated to student learning. As a middle school it will be our responsibility to prepare students for high school, for post-secondary success, and just as importantly, for life,” Sullivan added. “I am excited to begin as the principal at Rocky Fork Middle School, and look forward to partnering with the community to build a high performing school.”

Sullivan will begin his duties with Rutherford County Schools in February, where he will work from the district’s Central Office until the new school is ready to be occupied. During his first few months, he will hire a faculty and staff, as well as work with parents and students to develop the school’s programs.

Rocky Fork Middle School is currently under construction on Rocky Fork Road in Smyrna. The school will serve grades 6-8 and is scheduled to open in August 2017.