Alumnus at the helm of a Maury County middle school reflects on his Trevecca experience

When Tim Drinkwine first came to Trevecca, he didn’t realize the impact it would have on him as a leader one day.

Now serving as the new principal of Mount Pleasant Middle School of the Visual and Performing Arts in Maury County, Tenn., Drinkwine enrolled in Trevecca’s graduate program on a whim after a friend suggested they do it together.

“I went away for undergrad, and I came back and saw a friend of mine who went to high school with me,” Drinkwine said. “We were both first year teachers in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and he says, ‘Hey, I’m going to go after my master's at Trevecca. What do you think?’ So, basically, he talked me into it and we were in the same cohort with the master’s program.”

Drinkwine went on to receive his doctorate of education (Ed.D.) in leadership and professional practice from Trevecca, as well. During that time, he spent 11 years as a teacher and coach, before taking a job as principal of Eakin Elementary School in 2014. He said it was the words of one of his professors that made him realize he needed to take a break three years later.

“It was the first year of my doctoral program, and we were in a class called intrapersonal leadership,” Drinkwine said. “Dr. Gary Streit was the professor, and he said, ‘You cannot lead others if you’re not leading yourself well.’ At the time I made the decision to take a year off, it had been six years since I had heard that, but it had stuck with me, and it just hit me hard. I realized that I was not leading myself well, and I felt as if the way for me to restructure my life was to essentially take a sabbatical, which generally doesn’t happen in public education. I had to resign.”

Drinkwine spent the next year traveling around the world with his wife and two kids. After returning to Nashville in May, Drinkwine accepted the position at Mount Pleasant. He said they are still adjusting back to “normal” life.

“It has been strange,” he said. “There is reverse culture shock. That really is a thing. Coming back to America after traveling to 12 different countries has forced me to have a perspective where gratitude is more of a centerpiece in my life.”

Now that he has returned to the education world, Drinkwine is excited to implement the new STEAM program this year at Mount Pleasant Middle School.

“It’s really nothing new, per se. It’s just a way that we can say we’re going to be intentional about some things,” Drinkwine said. “Now, what are we being intentional about? We’re being intentional about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition, we are a visual and performing arts school so, that “A” that stands for art is really conducive in what we’re able to offer kids.”

Drinkwine is also excited to be working with fellow Trevecca alumnus Ryan Jackson, who serves as the principal at Mount Pleasant High School.

“Meeting at Trevecca, we collaborated as classmates, as friends and as colleagues before I came to Mount Pleasant.,” Drinkwine said. “And so now, it’s just a matter of making it kind of official, and that’s been pretty fun and exciting really,” he said.

Drinkwine said relationships like that are what he loved most about his experience at Trevecca.

“At the end of the day, what did I like about the master's degree and the doctoral program at Trevecca? It was these relationships that are lasting, and they’re still happening,” he said. “There’s no way that I would be able to collaborate with people that I’ve collaborated with if it weren’t for a place like Trevecca. They designed these programs with these relationships in mind.”

By Olivia Kelley
Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695