Dr. Jessie Shields Strickland
2000 Distinguished in Education
Dr. Jessie Shields Strickland is a firm believer in education -- preschool through higher ed. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from East Tennessee State University in 1969 and began teaching in the Carter County School System while she was working on a master's degree. From 1970 to 1973, she taught English and world history at Happy Valley High School and language arts and English at Cloudland High and Middle Schools. She was the district winner of Teacher of the Year. Strickland received a master's in reading in 1973 from ETSU. That same year, she began teaching English in the Vocational Improvement Program at Elizabethton High School and was a state finalist for Teacher of the Year. From 1976 to 1981, Strickland was one of two statewide Language Arts Specialists for the Tennessee Department of Education. In 1981, Strickland was promoted to Language Arts Statewide Coordinator II for the Upper East Tennessee Cooperative. In 1986, she began working with Elizabethton City Schools as Supervisor of Instruction/Director of Federal Projects. During this time, she also was an adjunct faculty member at ETSU in the departments of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and Curriculum and Instruction from 1992 to 1993. Strickland earned her Ed.D. at ETSU in 1992.
Strickland was promoted in 1995 to the position of Superintendent of Elizabethton City Schools. She directed the school organization and overall operation to one of the most recognized and successful school systems in the state and was recognized with one of 24 awards for program excellence in the nation in 1998.
She was selected as Superintendent of the Year for 2000 by the Tennessee Organization of Superintendents, Distinguished Administrator of the Year by the Tennessee Educational Association, Distinguished Alumna of the Year by the ETSU Educational Leadership Department, and Distinguished Classroom Teacher by the National Education Association. Strickland has also co-authored nine history books, edited and co-authored segments of curriculum units for national publishers, consulted as author for the Tennessee History book for Macmillan McGraw Hill Publishing Company, and co-authored anecdotal tales of Appalachian culture called Growing Up Country and Liking It.
She is a member of the American Association of School Administrators, the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents, the Upper East Tennessee Educational Cooperative, the Tennessee Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society, the Tennessee School Boards Association, the Civitan Club, and Memorial Presbyterian Church.
In addition, Dr. Strickland was recognized in 1996 by the ETSU Alumni Association with the Award of Honor for her outstanding professional achievement in the field of education. Her success continues to set an important example for aspiring educators, administrators and College of Education alumni alike. She and her husband, Robert, reside in Elizabethton. They have one daughter, Virginia "Jenna" Elizabeth Strickland.