Matt Conley

Former Vonore Middle School Principal Debi Tipton’s second-in-command will take helm when school starts back this fall.

On Thursday, Monroe County Director of Schools Tim Blankenship announced that he had named Matt Conley the new principal at Vonore Middle School. Last year, Conley was the split assistant principal between Vonore Elementary and Vonore Middle schools. Tipton will be the new principal at Sequoyah High School in the fall.


“I look forward to Mr. Conley’s leadership at Vonore Middle School and the continuation of success for the faculty, staff and students at the school,” said Blankenship.

Conley obtained his bachelor of the arts in behavioral science from Tennessee Wesleyan College and a master’s degree in education and administration from Lincoln Memorial University. 

Before becoming an educator in 2004, Conley worked in law enforcement at the Madisonville Police Department for 11 years. His career in education includes eight years of teaching at Madisonville Middle School, where he also served as assistant principal for two years, in addition to being the assistant principal at Vonore Elementary and Vonore Middle.

“I learned a lot from Debi Tipton and Mike Wiggins last year,” said Conley. “And from Kristi Windsor when I was assistant principal at Madisonville Middle under her. I really think I’m ready for this after learning from the three of them. They all knew a lot about administration and were great to work with.”

Conley said he is looking forward to the new opportunity to be principal at Vonore Middle School.

“The community has been very open and accepting,” he said. “I grew up in Madisonville, but coming into Vonore, I got to see what a great community they have here.”

Conley’s goals for the school is simple—keep it on the same track that it has been on.

“Debi Tipton really has the school running well,” he said. “There’s not a whole of things that I need to come in and change. The staff is great and I’m really looking forward to working with them and especially the students.”

“Everyone wants to talk about test scores all the time and we all want to see improvement in that area,” he added. “But, I really want to see the kids enjoy coming to school. With all the pressure of the new standards, both teachers and students are under so much stress that it has taken some of the joy out of it. I want to see some of that come back, but at the same time, see the school striving to reach goals and meet the standards set before us.”

Conley has been married to his wife, Elisha, a seventh-grade math teacher at Madisonville Middle School, for 21 years. The couple has a 13-year-old daughter, Madlen, and a 15-year-old son, Ben. 

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