Golden Apple Award: Ritchie Stevenson, Lake Forest Middle
CLEVELAND, TN (WDEF) – When you think of educators, teachers naturally come to mind first, but good principals play a vital role in assembling a caring and professional staff and establishing a school in their community. Lake Forest Middle School Principal Ritchie Stevenson checks those boxes and many more.
Andy Jenkins is the Dean of Students at Lake Forest.
He says,”Mr. Ritchie Stevenson is the absolute and in my opinion the best administrator that a staff member, a coworker could ask for. He has taken a school that was a place that was discarded and nobody wanted to be at, to a school that everybody wants to be at and wants to go to school here.”
When asked to describe himself, Mr. Stevenson says, “Richie Stevenson is a Native Bradley Countian, a product of Bradley County schools, actually attended school here in the late, mid-late 70s, a person who I’ve feel like has been a huge heart for children. I love what I do. I love being with the children. I had some wonderful teachers in my experience, and I had, I had a wonderful principal that was a very kind gentle man. He really was as much a motivator in me becoming an administrator, and having the desire of becoming an administrator.”
Seth Lee is a Special Education Teacher at Lake Forest.
He remembers, “So, I was a student at Lake Forest back in 2008. and my middle school years were some of my favorite years. Mr. Stevenson hired me to teach, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Lake Forest was a place that I knew I felt valued, and I knew the culture was something that Mr. Stevenson works really hard on.”
Andy Jenkins continues,”We truly are, he says all the time, ‘Forest Family’. All about championship culture, and that extends not only from the basketball courts, football field, but to the classrooms.”
Mr. Stevenson concludes, “The people and the children are what makes Lake Forest. No place is totally perfect, nor are we, but we try our dead level best to do the very best we can to serve the children, and to work with them, and to help and educate them, and that’s why we’re here.”