From Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy/The King’s Academy
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 assumes 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. 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.
STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
Board Chair D. Carter Davis issued the following statement:
“Following the February 2018 announcement by Dr. Walter Grubb of his retirement, effective July 31, 2018, the Board of 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.
“Mr. Mercer is a person of experience and 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.’ We thank God for His leading us to Matthew Mercer. We welcome him, his wife Angie, and their three children to The King’s Academy family.”
MATTHEW MERCER BACKGROUND:
• 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 is also well known in Knoxville basketball circles. He coached the FBA high school boys’ team, taking them from a 0-26 record prior to his arrival to a series of consecutive winning seasons. At GCA Mercer coached the high school boys to a 85-33 record. The GCA Rams ranked 8th in Tennessee in 2012, earned a state tourney appearance in 2013 and made it to the State Sectionals in 2014. In recognition of his efforts, Mercer was named 2017 TSSAA-East Region A.F. Bridges Principal of the Year.
• Mercer took over a girls’ program at Fulton High School in 2003 that had won only one game in two years. His teams won nine games in 2004, fourteen games in 2005 and seventeen games in 2006. Moving to Central High School in 2007, he coached the boys for three years, leading the Bobcats to back-to-back district championships. He was named the 2010 Knoxville News-Sentinel Prep-Extra Stan Ballard Courage Award Winner, 2010 Lexus of Knoxville Coach of the Year, and 2009 and 2010 District 3-AAA Coach of the Year.
• Mercer was an All-State basketball and football player at Powell High School. He played football briefly for Coach Ken Sparks at Carson-Newman College and then transferred to the University of Tennessee where he played basketball briefly for Coach Jerry Green.
• 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.
MORE ON THE KING’S ACADEMY:
The historic 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.
The academy is one of three educational institutions affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Since 1932 TBC has elected the academy’s board of trustees and supported the school through the Cooperative Program. During that time, over 1,000 students from 98 nations enrolled in its boarding program. TBC has a similar relationship with Carson-Newman University and Union University.