Virtual Real Estate Solutions : Tennessee: Pleasant Hill

My Interview with Pleasant Hill Elementary School Principal, Leadership Cumberland, Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce


Pleasant Hill Elementary School located at 486 Main Street, Pleasant Hill, Tennessee enrolled some 605 students for the 2007-2008 school year. With a pupil / teacher ratio on average of 20/1 and 14/2 for it's Pre - K classes Principal Maryann Kotus , Teachers, Faculty and Staff believe in "Educating the whole child". Although keeping academics up, meeting State objectives and standards are crucial and important to them they believe in "mastering it all" on both the academic and personal level of the child.

With strict and enforced policies and procedures such as "dressing for success" , "respect of teachers as well as other students" the tight ship Principal MaryAnn conducts does not show with her ability to be loved by students and staff. With a paddle hanging in her office students still love her more than fear her. Throughout the halls of PHS students wave on to their Principal, stop and throw out a hug and think nothing of yelling "Hey, Miss MaryAnn." Which seemingly brings a smile to her face. The level of pride Principal MaryAnn Kotus takes for her School, Staff and Students not only reflects throughout the halls and classrooms of PHS but shows in the "attitudes" of every student and staff member as they flood the halls of this old school.

Although students would probably say as Miss MaryAnn explained to me, "Lunch"and "Gym" are high on the list of "what's important" surprisingly like Staff, Academics ranked high on what's important to the students. Where good old fashion "pep rally's exist for sport teams prior to a match...PHS also believes in the importance of a "pep rally" before the great competition of Standardized Testing such as TCAP's. The "pep rally's" prove to be a hit with a report card such as this :

2007 TCAP Scores :

Pleasant Hill Elementary School            vs                   The State of Tennesse

Math                                                             A                                            A

Reading / Language Arts                       B                                             B

Social Studies                                        C ( average 53 )                 B ( average 54 )


Science                                                          B                                         B

Writing Assessments 5th grade            A                                          A

8th grade                                                     A                                           A

Pleasant Hill Elementary School also received straight A's against the State's A's for 2 consecutive years now mastering Academic Growth ....simply put, Pleasant Hill School continues to grow academically every year with an increase in overall test scores and there efforts are simply astounding.

Pleasant Hill School and "Miss MaryAnn" award the students of her school three times a year beginning one week after report cards are distributed with an :

  • A Honor Roll Programs and Awards,
  • A-B Honor Roll Programs and Awards

Principal Kotus also congratulates her students with an award for "perfect attendance". At the end of the year which is quickly approaching there are awards for both academic and perfect attendance for grades K-8. Followed by a grand and tearful farewell and graduation ceremony honoring those 8th grade students who will be moving on to High School the next school year. The Guidance Counselor also believes in honoring those students who have gone above and beyond throughout the year with an award ceremony and "character awards".

As Kindergarten students prepare to be "big boys and girls" throughout the year, Kindergarten teachers also prepare a Kindergarten Celebration/Graduation for the students moving on to the First Grade the following year.

During my interview on May 6, 2008 with Maryann Kotus, Principal of Pleasant Hill School she shared with me the the School's Motto : "Where everybody is somebody". Principal Kotus, Faculty, Staff and Students all take pride in being like a family at Pleasant Hill School.

The motto of "Where Everybody is Somebody" proves itself true when we spoke of Clubs and Special Activities that you could clearly see both students and staff take pride in. This year for example :

  • The PHS Explorers Jr High Science Club, open to grades 6th - 8th built and man a green house where some $80.00 was raised on May 3, 2008 after selling their "greenhouse treasures". These proceeds will go back to the Explorers Science Club to assist in other projects and project materials for the class.
  • Another Club to be proud of is The Chess Club. This is really exciting because The Chess Club is open to grades K-8. Mrs. Ruth Nash, Kindergarten Teacher at Pleasant Hill is the Founder and "Couch" while her Husband who is currently employed at the National Chess Federation teaches the Fundamentals of Chess and gives the children a strong pat on the back for all of their efforts, improvements and winnings.
  • The girl's Vollyball Team is two year running State Champions. The Girl's Vollyball team is open to grades 6-8. Whereas, the Girl's Softball team open to grades 3-8 are co-champions in the West Division.
  • This year both the Boys and Girls Basketball Team have excelled and show their pride for Pleasant Hill Elementary. The Basketball teams are made up of two teams , JV, open to grades 3-8 as well as Varsity, also made up of grades 3-8.
  • Principal Mary Ann Kotus, known to students as "Miss Maryann" shared her enthusiasm with me on a new and exciting Book Club founded and hosted by Miss Theresa Thompson and Miss Sandy Helton, 3rd and 5th grade teachers. Inspired by " Oprah's Book Club" these two extraordinary teachers took the fundamentals of teaching to a higher level and have grabbed the importance of reading. The Book Club meets once a month where staff and students share some fresh juice and donuts as well as exchange books and share stories of the books they have read over the past month.
  • The Clover Bowl Team made up of 4th - 8th grade scholars is something to be proud of and Principle MaryAnn Kotus displayed her "awe" for this Club brought to the school by the 4H Club. On 5/3/08 the 4th grade Clover Bowl Team took First Place in the County Championships while the 5th grade class came in an amazing 2nd. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade Clover Bowl Team advanced to the State Championships. The Clover Bowl Team is a Club like no other offered in the school. This club focuses on the State of Tennessee and it's facts. From the History of Tennessee to the State Flag and everything in between. Principle Kotus shared with me how proud she is of this team and stated " I recently went to a "meet" they had and I didn't even know some of the things about Tennessee that they did, I learned alot from this group of students".

With 605 students and a cafeteria of 250 maximum capacity, I asked Principal Kotus "How do you schedule students lunch breaks while not exceeding your capacity for the cafeteria " ? She explained, " Students have 30 minutes for lunch. Pre-K is the first to arrive beginning at 10:20am. Thereafter each classroom from Kindergarten through 8th grade rotates, exiting and arriving every 5 minutes. Lunch stops being served and all students have returned to normal classes by 1:10pm. What appears to you and I as a daunting and stressful task comes to Principal MaryAnn Kotus with ease.

"Returned to normal classes", what does this mean ? "What is the normal day, the normal class schedule I asked " ?Principal Kotus explained that each child receives the same level of education per their grade level in classes such as Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies and Writing/Spelling. Each student also receives extra curricular activities such as Music, Gym, Library and Art.

Each classroom as Principal MaryAnn and I discussed is equipped with at least 4 computers to be shared amongst students grades K-8. There is also a mobile lab which host's 28 computers and Teachers are permitted to "check out" more computers on a first come first serve basis to "enrich the learning of their students".

Computer Class is also offered once a week for grades Pre-K through 8th grade. The cutting edge " Computer Lab on wheels" is also a mobile unit that carries 30 computers and arrives each week to it's scheduled class for 30 minutes of hands on "computer training".

As a parent of two children with disabilities I could not help but to bring up and ask about the Special Education Classes and what these classes, classrooms and teachers offer to students with disabilities both minor and long term ? It was wonderful to hear that the Special Education department has been on the rise for several years now with yearly increases in academics. Principal Kotus is very proud of not only her Special Education Teachers but also her students as they excel on State Standardized Test's such as TCAP's. Pleasant Hill Elementary School offers Special Education to those qualifying in Reading, Language, Math, Spelling and also has a Full - Time Speech Pathologist. We are blessed to have Miss Montgomery, Special Ed teacher for grades K-4, Miss Tanner, Special Ed teacher for grades 5-6 as well as Miss Boswell, Special Ed teacher for grades 7-8. Mr. Boswell, the School Psychologist for Pleasant Hill Elementary conducts all testing in regards to assisting in diagnosing a specific learning, speech or developmental disability that would require a student to obtain special education and/or speech pathology services within the school. "What about children who are gifted. Who perhaps based on age, law requirements etc are in say the 4th grade but their level of education exceeds their maturity. Are their specific programs for a child who is considered "gifted" and what measures do you, does the school take to challenge them or test them "?" Unfortunately, that is a level of education we are currently lacking, however are making strides in improving it, says Principal Kotus." It was explained that if a child was tested and is in fact considered "gifted" a "Key Class" is offered once a week to them and because once a week is not enough and Pleasant Hill has not yet perfected their "gifted program" teachers work very hard on their own within their classroom to challenge these excelling students.

"Principal Kotus, financially, within your budget for the year, how are you doing? I know as an individual myself the rising fuel and food prices are alarming to me. With the economy in as much turmoil as it is and the questions of "where is the relief" still hanging in the balance, do you have concerns " and what are you doing as a school working together to raise any funds needed to provide supplies, extra curricular activities or programs for the students"? On a much more serious note now Principal MaryAnn Kotus shared both the good news and potentially the bad...The good news is that because the school year is quickly coming to an end there IS enough money within the budget to continue the normal activities as they are today. Unsure if monies within the District have had to be moved around or not is very unclear Principle Kotus remains hopeful that whatever will be needed for next school year will be determined and resolution will be made over the summer break. Potentially, if prices of things such as food and fuel continue to either stay the same or rise they could be looking at stopping "field trips" for example until things settle down. Principal Kotus told me, the Field Trips would be the first to go if a decision ultimately had to be made.

In their efforts to keep field trips, clubs and sports alive many fundraisers are held throughout the year. Sport Clubs for example hold several dances throughout the year for grades K-4, then also grades 5-8. For $5.00 a student receives 2 fun filled hours of pizza, soda pop and a live DJ. All proceeds from the dance go to the specific clubs hosting these dances where uniforms, equipment and any other specific materials are needed to keep their games alive.

The PTO also sponsers a "Hornet Hike". This year's "Hornet Hike" sponsored by the PTO and the funds raised went directly into finishing the PHS Softball field. In earlier years as well as any future Hornet Hikes, funds will also be dispursed for any new projects within the school and to also replenish playground materials, sporting goods and wherever this past, present and future raised money can benefit the children of Pleasant Hill Elementary.

Principal Kotus shared with me the fund raiser that carries an extreme importance to her because it benefits the entire school. In the beginning of each school year the Cookie Dough Fundraiser takes off. From Peanut Butter Cookie Dough to Auntie Ann's soft pretzels proceeds go directly back into the school to provide students and teachers with the neccessary supplies to last them throughout the school year.

Each year Lifetouch captures the smiles of our children and the students of Pleasant Hill School and provides us with the milestone of a missing tooth, cap and gown and the memories of that school year. Lifetouch "pays it foward" by remitting back proceeds to Pleasant Hill Elementary School and these proceeds make possible the end of the school year Honor Program for students who have worked hard throughout the year.

As I concluded my interview with Principal Kotus I could not help but to "catch the spirit of teamwork" that permiates throughout this family orientated school. It is no wonder, students, staff and faculty take such pride in their school, their performance and more importantly each other. There motto : "Where Everybody is Somebody" shows no boundries and every student who enters the doors of Pleasant Hill Elementary School will leave both academically and emotionally.... ready for whatever tomorrow has in store for them.........

Melissa Grant, Affiliate Broker 931-210-8277 Cell





Mobile : 757-694-7013  Email : 

Website :

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” ― Helen Keller




Comment balloon 4 commentsMelissa Grant • May 07 2008 05:27AM
My Interview with Pleasant Hill Elementary School Principal,…
05/06/08 Pleasant Hill Elementary School located at 486 Main Street, Pleasant Hill, Tennessee enrolled some 605 students for the 2007-2008 school year. With a pupil / teacher ratio on average of 20/1 and 14/2 for it's Pre - K classes Principal… more
Roll On Home to Crossville TN… Relocation Information for the…
Are you one who prefers a rolling stone to gathering moss As an RV owner your RV is your home away from home. As you travel the byways and highways of our Great Nation visiting friends, family and the countryside where will you park when your… more