Dan Schlafer has been a professional educator, coach and administrator since 1974. He graduated from Carson-Newman University in 1974, earned a Master of Science degree in 1987 from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an Educational Specialist degree in 1995 from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. He most recently served as the Federal Programs Director for the Cumberland County, Tennessee School System, where he managed Title Programs and almost three million dollars in Federal money.
Dan has taught every grade level (from kindergarten through twelfth grade) and has also coached in Tennessee’s public schools and in two private parochial schools. A former Director of Athletics and Head Football Coach, his special education experience includes eight years of teaching and coaching at Tennessee School for the Deaf in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was inducted into the TSD Alumni Association’s Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2018.
During his coaching career, Dan earned Coach of the Year honors thirteen times. He was named the National Deaf Prep Football Coach of the Year in 1980 by The Deaf American Magazine. His football teams posted one hundred victories (which included several conference and district championships) and two state quarterfinalists in the public/private school arena. He coached two deaf national champion runner-up teams at TSD.
Before being appointed a Monroe County School System Central Office Supervisor in 2006, Dan was Principal at Tellico Plains High School for a decade. Taking over a school where finances were in the red and academic scores were in the tank, he quickly led a “worst to first” reversal of fortune. In 2006, he left TPHS with a healthy fund balance plus the highest attendance and graduation rate in Monroe County. Under his leadership, TPHS became the first school in Monroe County history to earn Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation. His school made No Child Left Behind “adequate yearly progress” in every subgroup each year. The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association named Dan their Principal of the Year for the 2002-2003 school year. He was enshrined in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) Hall of Fame in April 2013. Dan has also received the TSSAA’s Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, he was elected to the Tennessee Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Board of Directors, and also served that statewide organization as their Treasurer for two years. Dan was presented their prestigious President’s Award and the TNTESOL Service Award in 2014.