Smyrna High School

Skip to main content
Main Menu Toggle


Dr. Sherri Southerland, Principal
Dr. Southerland has been in education for over twenty years, and was an assistant principal for 13. She became principal of Smyrna High School in 2018. She was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania and her heart remains with Pennsylvania sports teams. She started her career in Metro-Nashville schools and came to Smyrna High School in 2005 as an English teacher and head girls’ soccer coach. 

Dr. Southerland graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and then again a few years later with her master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Carson Newman University in July of 2017.

Dr. Southerland has three children. She is an avid sports fan and loves to travel to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State Sports, and the University of Kentucky Football and Basketball. If not watching sports, she can be found enjoying time on her boat.
Mr. Billy Harris, Assistant Principal
Mr. Harris, after graduating with a Bachelors of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1990, went to work for the Dept. of Energy and Martin Marietta as a Chemist in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After five years in Oak Ridge, he decided to go into education and coaching, and returned to MTSU for education certification. He taught biology and coached football from 1996-1998 at Rhea County High School in Dayton, TN.

In 1998 he married his beautiful wife Carol and moved from the hills of East Tennessee to Smyrna, Tennessee. He began teaching science and coaching football at Smyrna High in 1998, and remained in that post until 2005. In 2006, he was promoted to his current position of Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

Mr. Harris obtained his M.Ed., and later his Ed.S, from Middle Tennessee State University. Mr. Harris loves working at Smyrna High school and seeing and getting to know all of the wonderful people at SHS. He also loves spending time with his family which includes his two beautiful daughters ages 16 and 14. His summers are usually spent enjoying the beaches of South Carolina and playing golf. He also enjoys rooting for his favorite college football team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
Mr. Mike Messerly, Assistant Principal


Mr. Messerly has been an educator in Rutherford County for over 25 years.  He is currently serving as an Assistant Principal, but has worked at Smyrna High School as a teacher, a Dean, and most recently as the Graduation Coach.  Mr. Messerly earned his Master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University where he played basketball and baseball before being drafted by the Oakland A’s organization. He grew up in Chattanooga where he was a student athlete at Baylor. His love of sports transferred to his teaching career, and he has touched the lives of many Smyrna Bulldogs who have played softball, basketball, baseball, golf, and/or tennis throughout his tenure at SHS.


Mr. Messerly’s wife also teaches in Rutherford County Schools.  He spends his time away from Smyrna at his daughter’s volleyball games, at his son’s basketball games, on the golf course, or at home with Ace, our school’s mascot.


Mr. Steven Lay, Assistant Principal


Mr. Lay has been an educator in Rutherford County for over 18 years.  He is currently serving as an Assistant Principal but spent the last 17 years as a school counselor with the last 6 being at Smyrna High School. Mr. Lay earned his Bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University where he played baseball for 4 years. He then went on to earn his Master’s and Specialist of Education degrees from Tennessee Tech University where he coached pitchers for the Golden Eagles for 2 seasons. He grew up in Kingston where he was a student athlete at Roane County High School.

His love of the game has led Mr. Lay to spend a lot of time coaching both baseball and softball in Rutherford County. He is looking forward to being able to spend time watching his daughter play for the Bulldog Softball team along with the other athletes and students at Smyrna High.

Mr. Lay married a Smyrna High Alum in 2001 so SHS has truly become a family affair. He has 2 children, 19 and 14.  His son currently attends the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with aspirations of graduating from the ROTC program and entering the Army. When he is not watching his daughter play softball, you can find Mr. Lay enjoying his down time watching baseball, football or enjoying a good book.

Mrs. Nicole Takayama, Assistant Principal
Mrs. Takayama is proud to have lived her whole life in Smyrna, TN. Throughout her childhood, Friday evenings were spent walking with family and neighbors to attend Bulldog football or basketball games at Smyrna High’s previous location on Hazelwood Dr. She was part of the first class of graduates to attend all four years of Smyrna High School at its current home on Bulldog Drive. After graduating from Smyrna High School, she attended MTSU where she earned her B.S. in Mathematics.

In 1998, she returned to Smyrna High School to begin her teaching career, working with students in Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Math Tech, ACT Prep, and Geometry classes for the next 14 years. During that time, Mrs. Takayama also served as the Dance Team Coach, Mu Alpha Theta Sponsor, SAT Chair, Respect and Protect Chair, Data Coordinator, Teacher Mentor, SACS Component Chair, PLC Leader, Homecoming Coordinator and various other duties as opportunities presented themselves. Through that time, she developed an even deeper love of all things Purple and Gold, and a better understanding of education and what it takes to serve students on the high school level. In 2007, she completed work on her M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision at MTSU, and in 2012 joined the administrative team at SHS.

Mrs. Takayama, her husband Tony, and their son, Tasman live in Smyrna, and enjoy seeing her current and former students around town. When they are not attending events at Smyrna High School, the family can frequently be found at the hockey rink watching the Predators or cheering on Tasman’s youth hockey team. Mrs. Takayama also enjoys cooking, photography, golf, hiking and traveling.