KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Outgoing superintendent of Knox County Schools, Bob Thomas, was thanked by the district Friday, which is his last day before retiring. He had been appointed to superintendent in the spring of 2017.

“On his last day as superintendent, we want to thank Bob Thomas for his leadership, and his service to our district for nearly 50 years,” KCS tweeted Friday morning. “Mr. Thomas, you have done amazing work for our students, staff and families, and you will be missed. Best wishes in your retirement!”

Thomas had announced his retirement in September 2021. A search began for his replacement, where candidates were narrowed down to two including Dr. Jon Rysewyk in a series of interviews and meetings. Rysewyk, who worked as the assistant superintendent and chief academic officer of the school district since 2017, was chosen to replace Thomas.

Thomas has served Knox County Schools for nearly 50 years, according to the school district, beginning as a teacher with Knoxville City Schools at Bearden Junior High, then later teaching at Bearden High School; where he taught general business, accounting, business law, business math and health classes.

While at Bearden High School, he also served as the athletic director and assistant coach for football and track. Thomas was named Bearden High School’s Teacher of the Year in 1982.

After leaving Bearden, he moved into administration positions at Rule High School. Then in 1985, he joined the administrative staff as a personnel specialist with Knoxville City Schools in 1985.

By the 1990s, Thomas moved up into the superintendent’s office as an assistant superintendent of finance and human resources; then later was appointed as the assistant superintendent. In March 2017, the Knox County Schools Board of Education appointed Thomas to superintendent and he officially took the superintendent’s seat in April 2017.

Thomas is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Education.  Additionally, he completed extensive course work beyond his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision at the University of Tennessee. 

Rysewyk said in April he was looking forward to serving as the new superintendent of Knox County Schools: “I’m super excited to have this opportunity starting on June 4,” Rysewyk said at a meet-and-greet event hosted by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “I’ve been a guy in Knox County, my kids go to Knox County Schools, and I’m just super-excited to be able to serve this community that has been so good to me and my family.”