Dr. Sherrie Fairchild-Keyes

Senior Specialist, East


Dr. Sherrie Fairchild-Keyes joins NIET as a senior specialist for the East team after a 25-year career in public education. She spent 12 years as a secondary science teacher, in both the Anderson County School District in Tennessee and in the Monroe County School District in Florida. During this time, Sherrie became a trainer for Leadership Development for Teachers and spearheaded development of small learning communities at Key West High School through her involvement with Florida's Secondary School Redesign Initiative.

Over the past 13 years, Sherrie has served as a school administrator, first as director for two separate alternative education programs and, most recently, as an elementary school principal in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  She led her staff in achieving AdvancED STEM certification in 2017 and Cognia STEM recertification in 2021. 

Sherrie holds a bachelor's in chemistry from Tennessee Tech University as well as a master's and doctoral degree in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her passion for social justice and service has influenced her work and research to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, alternative education pathways, teacher leadership, strategic planning, and continuous improvement.

Dr. Sherrie  Fairchild-Keyes

Why are you passionate about working at NIET?

I am passionate about working at NIET because ALL really does mean ALL! Our mission/vision to ensure that every student has the opportunity to succeed by being taught by excellent teachers, in schools that are supported by effective leaders, aligns with my philosophy of education. At NIET, I have the opportunity to collaborate with and build capacity among educators from many schools and districts. As their learning partner, I contribute to student success as well as a sustained culture of learning and continuous improvement for students and staff.

Who is your favorite teacher?

I've had many incredible teachers, but one teacher who stands out is Mr. Hale, my sixth grade math teacher.  He always challenged me to exceed expectations and push myself to become a better student. Mr. Hale used humor and storytelling to keep his students engaged in a rigorous curriculum. I can still tell you how to divide fractions and the tall tale he told us to help us remember! His impact on my life reached far beyond mastery of math content; he inspired me to become a teacher.

What do you do in your free time?

Because I am married to a retired chef, much of my free time is spent exploring a variety of cuisines. Many weekends and vacations revolve around where we want to eat and drink. Our bucket list of dining in amazing restaurants around the world is long! I also enjoy entertaining friends at home and sharing our love of food and wine in fellowship with others. I like to burn off the calories from all that great food by running (very slowly); my goal is to run at least one half or full marathon every year. After the cooldown, I love spending quiet time curled up with a good book and snuggling with my sweet dog, Curtis.