KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The new Knox County Schools superintendent spent his first Monday on the job going classroom to classroom at local elementary and middle schools.

Dr. Jon Rysewyk replaced former KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas.

Rysewyk started the new work week by visiting a summer learning camp at Christenberry Elementary, meeting teachers, students, and sitting in on reading and math classes.

“Any time you can start at a school, that’s what we’re about, and being able to see students learning really focused in on reading and math, that was great to see the summer opportunities they have. It kind of gets it back to the core of what we’re about,” he said.

Rysewyk’s takeover comes on the heels of the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“School safety has to be our number one priority. We are academic, preparing students for their careers after high school, is the most important thing that we do, but we can’t do that if we’re not in a safe environment,” Rysewyk said. “We continue to review all of our safety procedures and processes every day to try to continue to get better. We really appreciate our security team and Chief Periard and what they do, and we really appreciate the training our officers have done.”

The new superintendent also outlined his other priorities, some of which were on display on Monday.

“What we’re doing in these summer programs and summer camps I think is priceless for students who are behind, really working on their early literacy skills, and we’ll see math skills as well. That’s really the key to unlock everything for their future. We’ll continue to look at that on a day-to-day basis, what we do in the schools, so that’s our first one. Our second is career empowerment and preparation, that we’re preparing students for life after they graduate. Great educators in every building, none of this can happen without that. If we don’t have great teachers and great administrators who have a laser focus on preparing students for that, relating to students. And then finally success for all students, which really means we know different students have different obstacles and barriers, and it’s our job to try to remove those so they can be successful,” he said.

Rysewyk also visited Amherst Elementary and Karns Middle schools on Monday.