For Mickey Blevins, director of McMinn County Schools, Cleveland State was the “obvious choice” to start his education. Mr. Blevins grew up in Calhoun and never strayed too far from home returning to Calhoun after college at both CSCC and Lee College (now University).
“It was close to home, so the location was key,” stated Mr. Blevins. “I thought it was a great environment. I loved the small school setting which allowed me to be in a class of 15-20 instead of being one of 200 students. All of my professors knew my name when I saw them on campus.”
For Mr. Blevins, there was one professor that that stood out from the rest. “Dr. Spencer Culbreth was one of my favorite instructors. I was a history major, so I loved the curriculum, but Dr. Culbreth was humble and kind, and he had a great sense of humor. You could just tell he enjoyed being around all of the students. I took every class he taught.”
Mr. Blevins credits his instructors for preparing him for his smooth transition to Lee where he received his bachelor of science in education. He later received his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) in administration and supervision, as well as his Ed.S. in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University (LMU).
Although he is an alum of four different schools, Mr. Blevins said he has fond memories of CSCC. “I remember hanging out in the Student Center, playing pool, going to ballgames and getting involved in the Baptist Student Union on campus…Cleveland State rarely closed for inclement weather, so I can also remember a lot of snowball fights on campus.”
According to Mr. Blevins, he recommends CSCC to others and calls the college a “no brainer” because of programs such as the Tennessee Promise and the Tennessee Reconnect coming this fall.
“I’ve never regretted a moment of additional education,” stated Mr. Blevins. “It has made my life better and created more opportunities for me, so why would someone not take advantage of that?”
Mr. Blevins continued, “I really enjoyed my time at CSCC, and I want to see it grow and prosper. I really want the Athens campus to grow for my kids in McMinn County. That facility has really opened a lot of doors for us as a school system, and I think the key to that campus is to find the right space, and I think it will grow tremendously.”
Mr. Blevins has had some major accomplishments over his career. He earned the title of Distinguished Teacher of the Year at Calhoun Elementary School in 1986 and 1995. He was named McMinn County Supervisor of the Year and Southeast Study Council Supervisor of the Year and was a finalist for the Tennessee Department of Education Supervisor of the Year. Under his supervision, McMinn County Schools have undergone three standard changes, several technological and security upgrades, as well as a new building. Although these will all be things he will look back on and make him proud, the real reward for Mr. Blevins is when his former students seek him out to tell him what a difference he made in their lives.
“Just last week, I had a former Calhoun Elementary School student show up to my door to tell me he never felt more at home at a school than his time at Calhoun. I hadn’t seen him since he was in 4th grade and now he is 28. His family moved to Miami, and he left a boy and came back a man. That was a good surprise for me. Moments like that are definitely highlights for.me.”