Dobyns-Bennett High School's Hampton Named Tennessee Principal of the Year

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) has announced the two 2021-22 Tennessee Principals of the Year at the December 2, 2021 Excellence in Education celebration held in Nashville. For the first time in recent program history, scoring for the Tennessee Principal of the Year award was so close that two outstanding educators were selected - Dr. Chris Hampton of Dobyns-Bennett High School was one of the two.
"It is an honor to be selected for this recognition by the Tennessee Department of Education," said Dr. Chris Hampton, Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal. "It is and has always been an honor to represent Dobyns-Bennett, Kingsport City Schools, and the City of Kingsport through my work as principal. The level of support from the community, combined with an incredible staff and remarkable students, are necessary ingredients for an individual to be recognized at this level. I accepted the recognition on behalf of our faculty and staff. There would be no recognition without the excellence and effort they contribute to our school." 
"I was honored to be able to attend the awards ceremony for principal of the year and supervisor of the year to support Dr. Chris Hampton and Mrs. Vicki Johnston," said Dr. Jeff Moorhouse, Kingsport City Schools Superintendent. "I am so grateful for their service to Kingsport City Schools. Kingsport was the only district to have two finalists. The cherry was put on top when we learned Dr. Hampton was selected as principal of the year. Certainly well deserved and is a testament to the great work that has been going on at Dobyns-Bennett for several years."
For 10 years, Dr. Hampton has served as the principal of Dobyns-Bennett. Before becoming principal at D-B, Dr. Hampton served as a special education teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, and secondary curriculum coordinator.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from East Tennessee State University (ETSU), a Master’s degree in Counseling from ETSU, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Policy and Leadership Analysis from ETSU.
Dr. Hampton grew up in Erwin, TN and has stated his early life was full of challenges. His earliest recollections of school were of kind and caring teachers who exposed him to a world of hope and possibilities. Over time, his experiences at school, relationships with teachers, and dreams of a brighter future proved invaluable to him understanding the importance of education, how it could change his life, and the lives of those around him.

He had many teachers who encouraged him through his formative years and Dr. Hampton knew public education was his calling by the time he reached high school.  He was inspired to pursue the field of Special Education by a family member.  He later discovered his life’s mission and passion, serving at-risk students like himself, through the Upward Bound program at ETSU. This experience led to a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He went on to serve students and his community in different capacities before becoming the principal of D-B.

Dr. Hampton’s mission is to, "Meet every student where they are, and to support them in maximizing their potential for success, through high-quality learning experiences and relationships." He has stated his greatest joys and most significant accomplishments come when, "Students overcome adverse challenges and excel beyond where they ever dreamed they could."
In addition to numerous accolades earned by Dobyns-Bennett High School and numerous presentations over the years, Dr. Hampton has also received the 2019 University of Tennessee Field Award for Secondary Principal of the Year, named the 2019 Distinguished Trip Alumni by ETSU, proclaimed by the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman that April 15, 2002 was Chris Hampton Day, and named the 2000 TARGET Tennessee Teacher of the Year.
“As a former school principal, I’m continually inspired by the caliber of principals and district supervisors that we have across the great state of Tennessee, and after all that our leaders in our school communities have done to help their students overcome challenges associated with the pandemic, I am honored to recognize these four truly outstanding individuals this year,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The success of our students, educators, and state depends on strong leadership, and I am grateful to all the finalists and awardees for their dedication to providing the best all for all students.”
Dr. Hampton and Tyler Salyer of West Collierville Middle School in Collierville Schools were selected as the 2021-22 Tennessee Principals of the Year out of nine Principal of the Year finalists representing Tennessee’s eight CORE regions, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area.
The annual Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year awards recognize administrators who have helped provide educational opportunities for Tennessee students through leadership, programs, and vision. Nominations of one principal and one supervisor were accepted from the state’s school districts. Out of more than 60 applications, up to three regional semifinalists were identified by selection committees in each region, and the region-level finalists for each award were then selected by a state-level selection committee. Overall winners were identified from the finalists following a panel interview.
Kingsport City Schools Supervisor of Nursing, Vicki Johnston was named a finalist for the 2021-22 Tennessee Supervisor of the Year award.

For information about the 2021-22 Tennessee Principal and Supervisor of the Year finalists, click here. For more information on the Tennessee Principal of the Year award, the Tennessee Supervisor of the Year award, and the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) award, click here. For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact [email protected].  

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice, and an alternative learning program; with a total enrollment of over 7,600 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to Inspire. Cultivate. Impact.

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, download our mobile app for Apple/Android devices or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Instagram (@kcs_district), Twitter (@KCS_District), LinkedIn (Kingsport City Schools), and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).