Miss Annie Lee Mitchell -Kingsport’s Pioneer Educator
Annie Lee Mitchell, born December 21, 1872, was instrumental in the development and direction of education in early Kingsport. Born and raised in the Lovedale section of Kingsport, Miss Mitchell was a dedicated educator that taught in various locales until settling back home in Kingsport.
Miss Mitchell began her teaching career at Cloud’s Bend School with a salary of $25 a month. Cloud’s Bend was located at the foot of Bays Mountain in the area presently known as Ridgefields.
Around 1900, Miss Mitchell attended Holbrook Normal School near Knoxville and from there went to American Temperance University in Harriman, Tennessee.
Miss Mitchell graduated from the Normal School at American Temperance University in 1902. On a side note, American Temperance University was only open from 1893-1908.
After leaving Harriman, Miss Mitchell went on to teach in Asheville, North Carolina, at Martha Washington College in Abingdon, Virginia, and at Tennessee High School in Bristol. Sometime around 1910, Miss Mitchell came back to Kingsport and taught at War Path School in the Litz Manor Community.
Miss Mitchell eventually became the first principal at Kingsport’s first city school, Kingsport High School/Kingsport Public School. The school was located at the present site of the First Presbyterian Church on Church Circle. At the school she spearheaded and organized the first PTA and added a Home Economics and Music Department. Miss Mitchell also successfully launched a campaign to get the school year lengthened from 6 to 8 months.
It appears that Miss Mitchell never married or had children of her own. She was a beloved educator who dedicated her life to teaching the children of Kingsport. Her early efforts to strengthen the Kingsport school system had a huge impact on education in Kingsport. Almost 100 years later, Kinsgport still has an outstanding school system.