Innovation Academy in Kingsport plans grand opening Aug. 3

8:52 am | July 30, 2012

KINGSPORT — Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools officials will hold a grand opening ceremony for the region’s first STEM middle school — the Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, 149 Brookside School Lane, — on Friday, Aug. 3, at 1 p.m.

A meet and greet will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The public is invited to attend.

Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee is a platform school of the Tennessee STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Innovation Network.

This new school of excellence is a joint venture between Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools and is located in the former Brookside Elementary School Building in Bloomingdale.

“The Kingsport City Schools are proud to be a partner in the creation of the region’s first STEM middle school,” said Kingsport City Schools Superintendent Dr. Lyle Ailshie. “It is an exciting time for Kingsport and Sullivan County and the school’s students and teachers are blazing a trail for others to follow. I look forward to finding ways to expand and promote what is learned from Innovation Academy.”

“We are proud to be working with Kingsport City Schools on this important milestone for public education,” said Sullivan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie. “The STEM initiative is a national focus, and Northeast Tennessee has a rich tradition of STEM related careers. I appreciate the hard work of our team who moved the academy from a novel idea to a school building full of students. We are looking forward to an exciting launch, and we intend for Innovation Academy to be a significant contributor to the Tennessee Stem Innovation Network for the foreseeable future.”

Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools partnered with Domtar, Eastman Chemical Company, East Tennessee State University, Wellmont Health System and other regional partners to make the school a reality.

Innovation Academy will initially host sixth and seventh grade, with 80 students per grade, and will expand to eighth grade next year.

School will start Monday, Aug. 6, and end Thursday, May 23, 2013, with 184 school days in between. Innovation Academy’s snow schedule matches that of Kingsport City Schools.

Innovation Academy students will engage in rigorous course work and experience hands-on projects.

A typical day at Innovation Academy will start at 7:30 a.m. and will include science, math, English and social studies classes, as well as STEM project work, STEM internships and lunch.

After lunch, students will attend related arts classes at one of several schools within Kingsport City and Sullivan County school systems.

“The stem school is a great model bringing our city and county schools, along with ETSU, together to help us keep on the cutting edge of education technologies,” said Kingsport City Mayor Dennis Phillips. “Our school heads and superintendents are to be commended for working together to make this become a reality.”

“I am very excited about the new STEM School,” said Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey. “Our first year and we had over 500 students apply to get in. This tells you that our children want to be the brightest they can be.”

For more information on the Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee, call Brenda Barnicki, Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee project manager, at 292-2271 or go to

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