North Tazewell Elementary School/Tazewell Intermediate School traces its origins to a one-room frame schoolhouse that stood very near the location of the current school. The deed for this property was recorded on March 7, 1894 when a tract of land was sold by W. W. Peery and his wife in the town of Kelly to the Jeffersonville School District. A five-month school term was the norm for this early school on the Clinch River. Eventually two front rooms and a hall were added to this structure as enrollment increased. This three-room structure became known as “Clinch Academy.” This school served the community well but as the population increased so did the school enrollment and the need for a larger facility. In fact, for a short time the school board made an agreement with the street car company to take some of the students to the school on Main Street in Tazewell. That was, however, a temporary solution.
In 1931, the Tazewell County School Board decided to build two new schools to handle the growing school-age population in the northern parts of the county. As a result, North Tazewell Elementary and Bishop Elementary both saw new buildings erected. The North Tazewell building was a seven classroom structure plus a large auditorium. Grades one through seven were taught in the classrooms with six teachers, a principal and 240 students. As enrollment continued to climb two new rooms were added, one of the new rooms was used for band and music. The other room became a library. During this period membership steadily increased peaking at 659 students in 1953.
About that same time or in 1951 to be exact a hot lunch program began at NTES. Meals were served from a room just barely large enough in which to cook. That room is the present principal’s office. Trays were carried from here by the students to their classrooms where they ate. In 1976 a large outside unit was placed on the school’s parking lot. That unit was used as a cafeteria until 1994. On September 12 of that year the most recent wing to the main building was dedicated with the addition of a large cafeteria, a new library, a computer room, a teachers’ lounge and additional student bathrooms. This structure was rather large two-story addition. Through the years several small rural schools have been consolidated with North Tazewell Elementary School. In addition, a substantial number of students were added to NTES with the later consolidations of Baptist Valley, Bishop and Rivermont Schools. In 2019, the name of the school was changed to Tazewell Intermediate School. The principals who have served at the current building include Jack Witten, 1932-43 and 1946-74, Lillian Harman, 1943-46, William Rhodes 1974-75, Fred Dean, 1975-89, James Hammond, 1989-90, Nyoka Money, 1990-93, Sally Blankenship, 1993-95, Patty Reece, 1995-1997, Jean Nicholson, 1997 - 2005, Bonnie Cash, 2005 - 2008, Sara Reed, 2008-2012, Irene Mullins from 2012 - 2017, Suzanne Grindstaff 2017 to 2020 and Karrie Kinder 2020 to present.
With thanks to:
Louise Leslie, Historic Memories, Clinch Valley News, May 1982.
Carolyn Kitts, Tazewell County Historical Society Heritage Book, 1995.