As Monroe County schools prepare to get
back to the books next week, Trey Ferguson is gearing up for his new
role as special education director.
Ferguson, a Tellico Plains native,
began work on Thursday, taking over for outgoing Amanda Vance. Vance,
who had worked in the school system since 1998, had served as the
Monroe County School System's special education director since 2008.
She left in July to become the special education supervisor for
Blount County Schools.
"I'm from Monroe County; I've lived
her my whole life," said Ferguson. "My whole life, my family, is
here. When this position became available, I felt it would be a great
opportunity for me to come home and give back to the school system
that helped produce my success."
Ferguson, 40, is a Tellico Plains High
School alum, who continued his education at Vanderbilt University,
obtaining a bachelor's degree in psychology. He later attended the
University of Tennessee for his master's degree and then Tennessee
Technological University for his educational specialist degree in
He worked as a guidance counselor at
Madisonville Middle School for six years, before becoming a school
psychologist with the McMinn County School System for the past 10
"McMinn County was amazing to me," said Ferguson. "They helped me grow and I'm so grateful for the
opportunity to work with them for the past 10 years."
Ferguson believes his 16 years of
experience in education, both in regular education and with special
education, will bring a different perspective to the table in Monroe
"I'm bringing heart, care and concern
for our students with disabilities," he said. "I have a vast
knowledge of special education law and procedures and as a trained
psychologist, I'm a fairly good communicator and mediator."
Monroe County Director of Schools Mike
Lowry believes Ferguson is the right person to continue building on
the success of the special education department.
"Trey will bring a new sense of
ingenuity to the office," said Lowry. "His experience as a former
counselor and psychologist, plus his experience working with people
in various capacities, will be a tremendous asset to the school
Ferguson said his goal is to continue
to provide a "high-quality educational service" for the students
with disability in Monroe County.
"I know there's always room
for improvement, and I definitely want to continue to build upon the
successful services and programs that are already in place, moving in
the direction that is best for our students with disabilities," he
said. "Our students with disabilities deserve the same quality of
education as all our regular education students are getting."
Ferguson also hopes to build parental
involvement in the department.
"I have some ideas of ways to involve
parents more," he said. "Providing high-quality educational
services to students is the main goal, but I also don't want to
forget the parents' role in the process. I value their input. They're
the ones who are with these students and have a life-long commitment
to them. I hope that's something we can see increase over the next
few years--parents working with us to provide the best educational
In the coming months, Ferguson hopes to
have the opportunity to speak with parents and get to know the
"I look forward to working with
parents, who have a lot of background in special education and are
very strong advocates for their children," he said. "I hope
everyone can be patient with me as we enter this transition period."
Ferguson said he will always have a
policy that he will be available for both students and parents.
"I have a passion and drive for these
students and I want to ensure we have the services in place that will
help them to be a contributing member of society. I'm also a
Christian and that's the set of values I bring--of being honest,
open, compassionate. That's my strongest asset. I'm bring heart, care
and concern for our students with disabilities."
As Ferguson gets settled in, he's
filled with "excited anticipation."
"I just want to get in there and get
going!" he exclaimed. "I'm excited to be working with the
students and families here, where I live and where my heart is."