Dr. Kathleen Airhart
In January, Dr. Kathleen Airhart started her new job as the Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Education.
As Putnam County’s Director of Schools since 2007, she has lead the charge on “school system academic achievements, facilities upgrades and staff improvements.” Recently she was named the 2012 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year. She has made a positive difference in the Putnam County School System and we have confidence that, in her new position, she will do the same for our state.
When Dr. Airhart was invited to become a member of the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council (UCBC), the governing body of WCTE, she gladly accepted.
“WCTE has always been a part of the community since I have lived here,” she said. “I have always appreciated the access and coverage of local interest.”
A young Kathleen moved to Putnam County from Pennsylvania in 1982 and earned her BS and Masters at Tennessee Tech. Except for a 3-year stint in the early 90’s when she directed a horticulture therapeutic/educational program at a Rehab Hospital closer to her parents’ home, she has lived in Putnam County.
“I watched WCTE with my children (daughters Jessica and Elizabeth) when they were pre-school age,” said Dr. Airhart. “That was 30 years ago. Their favorite shows then were Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. Until they went to school, that was the only television they ever watched.”
“Personally I’m a news junkie. I like to watch the PBS NewsHour and Washington Week. I also enjoy the Antiques Roadshow and Tennessee Crossroads regularly as well as the special music programs. My grandson and I watch Sesame Street, Arthur, Curious George and his favorite program, Super Why.”
Dr. Airhart has devoted her career to education and appreciates the strong educational component to PBS and WCTE.
“I believe in the link between educational programming and student learning. I also see it as an untapped tool for teacher professional development.”
While her new position means she’ll be spending a lot of time in Nashville, she and her husband, Dr. Douglas Airhart, who is a professor of Horticulture at Tennessee Tech, will continue to live in Putnam County.
“The Upper Cumberland is something special,” explained Dr. Airhart. “You know that if you have ever lived elsewhere.”
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