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New Knox Co. Schools Superintendent to officially start on Saturday

Jon Rysewyk said he would focus on boosting teacher pay and expanding teacher diversity moving forward.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Starting Saturday, Knox County Schools will have a new leader — Jon Rysewyk.

One of his major focuses will be on increasing teacher pay, he said. He previously said that Knox County Schools ranks last among the state's five biggest school systems for teacher pay. Locally, Maryville teachers average $63,000 per year while KCS teachers average around $56,000 per year.

It's a point Rysewyk made during his pitch for the job this month to the Knox County Board of Education, and he said he would work to change that. 

He also said he was committed to finding ways to improve the ratio of minority teachers in the county's more than 80 schools. The current split is about 17% Black students with a teaching force that's less than 3% Black.

Similar wide disparities exist when it comes to Hispanic teachers compared with the number of Hispanic students. KCS has to figure out "alternative pathways" to recruit and certify more teachers, including more minority teachers, he said.

Rysewyk was chosen by the board of education in February to lead the district. It has around 65,000 students, teachers and staff. He will be replacing current superintendent Bob Thomas, who is retiring after around 40 years in education.

Editors note: This story was corrected after a typo that incorrectly spelled "superintendent."

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