HCBA News Release
SEYMOUR — The board of trustees of Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy/The King’s Academy unanimously elected Matthew Mercer as president/headmaster in a specially called board meeting on the academy campus Thursday, June 28. Mercer currently serves as headmaster of First Baptist Academy in Powell. He assumed his new duties July 1.
Mercer becomes the eighth person to hold the title “president” since 1932 when the academy began operations as Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy.
Mercer will replace Walter Grubb, who will retire July 31, after seven years of service as principal and 24 years as academy president/headmaster.
“Our family believes the Lord has sovereignly guided us to TKA and the Seymour community,” Mercer said.
“We are grateful for Dr. and Mrs. Grubb and the Presidential Search Committee that was so helpful through this process. We are eager to see what God is going to do in and through our family at TKA. I am looking forward to meeting our staff, students, families and community,” Mercer added. “I am very excited about leading TKA that has such a rich history and the potential for an extremely bright future.”
Under Mercer’s leadership, First Baptist Academy was recognized as one of the fastest growing private schools in Tennessee, with enrollment increasing from 175 to 410 the past four years. At times during his tenure at FBA he served as headmaster, elementary principal, athletic director and coach.
Mercer earned the bachelor of science in human ecology with an emphasis in business education from the University of Tennessee. He holds the master of arts in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
Mercer and his wife, Angie, also from Powell, have three children: Cameron, Cayden, and Madison. They are active members of First Baptist Church, Powell.
D. Carter Davis, chair of the academy’s board of trustees observed that following Grubb’s decision to retire, the trustees “made a commitment to the students, parents, administration, faculty and staff of The King’s Academy that under the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit we would be diligent in our search for the next president/headmaster of our academy.
“We pledged that we would seek a person who exemplifies servant leadership. The search committee spent concerted time in prayer for God’s direction and guidance as we communicated with individuals across the southeastern United States in this search.
“We believe that under God’s divine wisdom and in answer to prayer, we have met this person in Matthew Mercer,” he said.
In a statement released on behalf of the board, Davis called Mercer “a person of experience who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in Christian education throughout our community.
“We firmly believe that he has the experience and vision to build upon the accomplishments of past presidents of the academy. His vision is consistent with the vision of TKA, which is ‘transformed lives, empowered by Christ-like character, pursuing excellence and lifelong service.’ ”
Prior to joining First Baptist Academy, Mercer served on the administrative leadership team at Grace Christian Academy, Knoxville. As GCA’s campus pastor from 2010 to 2014 he oversaw major school events, chapels and retreats.
He began his career teaching business classes at Fulton High School in 2003. He served as business department head there from 2007 to 2010, and was instrumental in the development of the Fulton Freshman Academy, which resulted in significantly improved graduation rates.
Mercer, a former all-state basketball and football player from Powell High School, is also well known in Knoxville basketball circles, coaching at several local schools, including First Baptist Academy, GCA, Fulton High School and Central High School. He won several coach of the year awards.
Mercer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the master of arts degree from Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville.
The King’s Academy offers grades Pre-K through 12, with a boarding program for grades 7-12. Originally chartered with the State of Tennessee in 1880, HCBA has been doing business as The King’s Academy since 1993.
It has been affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention since 1932.