Blount Press Row

Donna Wortham

Donna Wortham

The Bio Blast on: Donna Wortham

Who she is: Maryville High School assistant principal; mother of former Lady Vol and future Olympian Ellen Wortham and former Maryville High softball player Mary Beth Wortham; runs the concession stand at James Campbell Gymnasium, a BPR-rated five-star, game day eatery.
Donna recently completed a term as assistant athletics director at Maryville, no small thing when the athletics director, George Quarles, is also the school’s football coach. Assisting teams with travel plans, event management for home games, there’s a lot to do in running a high school athletics department these days. Ask the coach; Donna’s help, especially during football season, is certainly appreciated.

Why we like her: Ellen Wortham is one of the most accomplished athletes ever produced by a Blount County high school. A Southeastern Conference champion and Lady Vol record holder in the hurdles, she reached the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer. Few track and field athletes in Mayville history left the school more decorated. The grace with which she’s handled it all is a reflection of the people who raised her. Good job, Donna and Tom.

Signature moment: Joining the staff of Maryville High School in 1996. “It is a privilege and honor to work on this staff and for this community,” she said.

What we’re dying to find out: Does the promotion to assistant principal mean you’re out of the concession stand? Say it isn’t so!

Quoting Donna: “Dream big, set goals, and pursue them with relentless tenacity.”

Without further ado, here’s: Donna Wortham

What is your best sports memory?
“Daughter Ellen winning the state pentathlon on her graduation day and flying home in a friend’s private plane from MTSU so she could make the ceremony on time.”

Ellen Wortham trains for the U.S. Olympic Trials last June. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had? Why?
“Nancy Hall. She was my marketing teacher in high school. She encouraged me to develop leadership skills and introduced me to the rewards of community service.”

What is your favorite subject in school?
“English, with History as a close second.”

What is the best sports movie ever made?
“Remember the Titans.”

Who’s your favorite superhero?
“Batman, he has the coolest car.” (Editor: Best answer to that question ever!)

Who’s your favorite sports figure/team?
“Favorite sports figure — Peyton Manning. Favorite team — any University of Tennessee sports team, especially football, basketball and track and field.”

Who has been your favorite coach, and how have they helped you outside of the sports spectrum?
“Hmm … I would have to say Brett Coulter. He was Ellen’s first track and field coach, a good friend and now my mentor as a rookie assistant principal.”

Tell me who you are using one sentence:
“I am a mother, a teacher, a friend, and a lover of humanity, especially those of the teen aged species. They make me smile every day.”

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
“I don’t embarrass easily. When you grow up tall, super skinny, and gawky, you get immune to embarrassment at an early age.”

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
“To fly — I hate airplanes.”

What does being a Rebel mean to you?
“Being an assistant principal at Maryville High School means I get to work for the best students, teachers, and community in the state.”

In 10 years, where will you be?
“God willing, still serving the MHS community as assistant principal.”

What sports figure would you most like to have dinner with?
“Michael Oher. I would love to hear his story in his own words, and I imagine he gets a massive amount of food set before him.”

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
“Lemon Grass. I love Sushi, but I won’t eat it anywhere else!”

If you were an animal, what would you be?
“A bird.”

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
“Fruits. Lots of strawberries and blueberries; a few fresh tomatoes and rosemary iced tea.”

If you only had six months left to live, what would you do with your time?
“Spend it with my family and friends.”

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