Head of the Class

Tennessee Tech University is one of the best public universities in the South, according to a variety of reports and rankings organizations.

U.S. News & World Report

  • Tech in Best National University listings: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Ranked #135 in Best Public National University
  • Ranked #272 in Best National University
  • Ranked #186 in Social Mobility
  • 'A+ Schools for B Students'
  • Tech graduates leave with the least debt of all public universities in Tennessee: 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Tech's College of Engineering is one of the Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs Rankings (Doctorate): 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Tech’s College of Business is one of the top national business colleges: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020


  • Based on total cost and alumni earnings, Tech provides students with the highest return on investment for any public university in the state and across Tennessee, Tech ranks third overall: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Tech graduates have the highest early career salary of any public university graduates in Tennessee: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Princeton Review

  • Listed among the Best 385 Colleges: 2020 edition


  • Ranked #167 in Top Public Universities
  • Also included in the publication’s following lists: Best Colleges, Best Value Colleges, Colleges with the Best Academics, Best College Campuses, Colleges with the Best Professors


  • Tech is in the top two best value universities in Tennessee, and the top public university in the ranking: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

MONEY Magazine

  • Tech is the #1 public university in Tennessee in “Best Colleges for Your Money” listing: 2017, 2018

Social Mobility Index

  • Tech is the top university in the state for stimulating economic mobility (latest index 2018)

Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program

  • Tech is the top value-added public university and second among all four-year institutions in the state (latest rankings 2015)


For the 2021-22 school year, there are 20 public schools serving 11,421 students in Putnam County, TN. Putnam County has one of the highest concentrations of top ranked public schools in Tennessee.

The top ranked public schools in Putnam County, TN are Capshaw Elementary SchoolVital: Upper Cumberland E-learning Network and Algood Elementary SchoolOverall testing rank is based on a school's combined math and reading proficiency test score ranking.

Putnam County, TN public schools have an average math proficiency score of 38% (versus the Tennessee public school average of 39%), and reading proficiency score of 36% (versus the 35% statewide average). Schools in Putnam County have an average ranking of 7/10, which is in the top 50% of Tennessee public schools.


  • Early Literacy Grant in conjunction with WCTE-TV
  • American Graduate Grant (provides resources to make sure students graduate) in conjunction with WCTE-TV
  • Perkins Reserve Grant (exposes students to careers and helps them forge academic pathways toward chosen careers)


  • A nationwide collaboration sponsored by Harvard University to increase or improve the connection between 7-12 education and the next steps in students’ learning and working lives
  • The Upper Cumberland region (in this case, Putnam, White, Overton and Jackson counties), was one of only two Tennessee regions involved in the Pathways to Prosperity pilot project, an opportunity made possible by the Highlands Economic Partnership Workforce Development and Education Committee.
  • Tennessee is one of nine states involved.


  • A statewide, recognized virtual school
  • Offers dual enrollment and credit advancement
  • Uses digital integration in the classroom to personalize learning
  • Has a 96-98 percent success rate and an overall average grade of 85 with all components counted
  • Includes a personal finance class offered to all high school students that is a result of a collaborative effort between Dave Ramsey’s Lampo Group, Florida Virtual School and Putnam County Schools


  • Students in Putnam County are able to take college-level classes in high school, receiving both high school and college credit for completing those courses.


  • “Putnam has one of the most incredible school adoption programs in the state. The adopters tend to be very involved in the lives of their schools. It’s not just a monetary donation. It’s volunteer work and providing resources to teachers and to administrators. It’s a real partnership.” Dr. Kathleen Airhart, Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Education
  • Started in 1989, the School Adoption Program is the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce’s longest tenured program and is only open to chamber members.


  • Tennessee Promise provides Tennessee high school graduates the opportunity to attend a community or technical college free of tuition and mandatory fees.  Tennessee Promise is both a scholarship and mentoring program. 

    It will provide students a last-dollar scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or TSAA funds. Students may use the scholarship at any of the College System of Tennessee’s 13 community colleges or 27 colleges of applied technology.


  • Tennessee Reconnect is an initiative to help more of Tennessee’s adults make their dreams come true by making it easier to go back to school. Going back to school leads to new skills and knowledge and workplace advancement. Tennessee Reconnect is part of Tennessee’s Drive to 55 challenge to have 55% of all Tennesseans hold a college degree or certificate by 2025.


  • Our entire school district is 100-percent accredited by AdvancED, the parent organization of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACSCASI).


  • Cookeville High School has been an International Baccalaureate®(IB) World School since 2004. CHS is one of only 23 schools in the state and 1,575 in the nation that has earned the prestigious designation to grant International Baccalaureate®(IB) diplomas.
  • In the spring of 2011, Avery Trace Middle School (ATMS) made the decision to pursue IB World School authorization as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP). 


  • Cookeville High School students had an average Composite ACT score of 36 in 2021, exceeding the state average of 31.2.


  • The graduation rate for the Putnam County School System for the 2021-2022 school year reached 89%.


  • The Highlands Workforce Development and Education Committee, part of the four-county Highlands Economic Partnership, is a partnership between leaders in business, industry, K-12, higher education and chambers of commerce who have forged an alliance to address the challenges of a 21st century workforce. The group has worked to create partnerships between school districts and the business community in putting children on the pathway to higher education.


  • The Putnam County School System now offers a Global Learning Center to provide an environment where newcomer students can learn the English language and American culture in an effort to help them succeed in the American school system and beyond.

“People are moving to this region, and one of the things that attracts them to Putnam County and to the Upper Cumberland is the school system.”
Jerry Boyd, Putnam County Director of Schools

“I certainly felt a sense of collaboration in the district, and as I have had the opportunity to travel the state and visit with others districts, I realized how special Putnam County really was with its educational system.”
Dr. Kathleen Airhart, Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Education

*Information courtesy of Cookeville THE SOURCEBOOK 19th EDITION