Deidre Helton is the current vice-principal at Grundy County High School. In addition to her daily duties, she coaches Grundy County Middle School softball, and is an active member of her church.
Deidre was born at Dr. Harbolt’s clinic in Coalmont, to Earl David and Brenda Campbell of Altamont. She has five siblings: Jody, Nathan, and Matthew Campbell of Altamont, Jessica Huntley of Altamont, and Sarah Layne of Monteagle.
“I attended Kindergarten through second grade at Altamont, and third through eighth grade at North Elementary,” says Deidre.
“I had many great teachers in elementary school that inspired me to do my best and enjoy learning. I have fond memories of Bonnie Sue Rieben, and still imagine her standing in front of the classroom reading us a story and feeling like I was actually at the place and in the time that the story was talking about.
“I also have fond memories of being in Gwen Hill’s and Lucette Richard’s classrooms and the structure they provided, but at the same time the love and security I felt from them. It was after I had these teachers early in my childhood that I envisioned having a classroom of my own someday.
“I attended all four years of high school at Grundy County High School. I also had many teachers there that inspired me and several of which I had the pleasure of teaching with later. Wanda Sanders, Christine Price, Buford Newsome, Pam Pickett, Odea Newsome, Lana Ray, Ms. Pattie, and many more, provided me with the skills and knowledge that I needed to continue with my education after leaving GCHS.”
Upon graduation from high school, Deidre attended Middle Tennessee State University. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Education. She attended Tennessee Technological University and received a Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership.
“When I first attended MTSU, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. But, I took several classes and decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I changed my major to accounting. I really enjoyed the business courses but still had in my heart that I needed to pursue a degree in the education field. I changed my major again to Business Education and didn’t look back. I also enjoyed the math classes, so I completed enough of those to be certified to teach math.”
Deidre starting working at an early age.
“When I was in seventh grade, I started working at a café in Altamont. I worked there until I graduated from college. After graduating, I began my career in teaching as the keyboarding teacher at GCHS. The following year, I began teaching math and now I am the Assistant Principal at GCHS.
“I love my job because of the people I get to work with – students and staff. I love seeing the light come on when a student learns something new, or even when they find out that there are many people that care about them when they are having a hard time.
“I feel one of the biggest challenges in education this year is the new testing and standards.
“The staff at GCHS loves the students and spend many hours not only preparing lessons for their classes, but worrying about the wellbeing of the students. I must also express a sincere thanks to Principal Jamie Ruehling for all the help his has given me in the transition from teacher to administrator.”
Deidre is married to Gene Helton, and the two recently celebrated their eighteenth wedding anniversary.
“Gene is employed by Yorozu in Morrison. We have a daughter, Jenna. We enjoy doing lots of things as a family, including going to zoos, Disney World, and softball fields.”
Softball fields are beginning to feel like a second home to Deidre after a season coaching girls’ softball.
“I have never been a very athletic person, although I gave it my all in elementary school on the basketball team. I enjoyed playing five years as a North Warrior and learned many things from the coaches about basketball and life.
“I recently had the privilege of coaching the Grundy County Middle School Softball team. I am truly going to miss the time that I got to spend with these young ladies. I hope that they learned something about softball in our time together but I also hope that they learned that you should always give 110 percent – sometimes we let only the scoreboard reflect our victories and we miss out on some of the celebrations that we should enjoy.”
Deidre’s parents have been two of the biggest influences in her life.
“They have always taught me, through example, the value of an honest day’s work, and that if you want something you have to work for it. They have always been my biggest supporters and my fan club. They have always encouraged me to go after what I want and to be strong. They have also taught me the importance of family and that we can count on each other in good times or bad.
“I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have been raised within a church family that are strong believers of Christ. I try to live a life by following Christ’s example and I am thankful for the atoning sacrifice that God made for us for when I fall short He makes up the difference and I can try again.”
What will surprise Deidre’s students at GCHS?
“My love for roller coasters!”