My family and I are humbled by the support and prayers we have received over the past few weeks.
The support from the Williamson County community, including parents, former parents, students, Williamson Inc. and the business community, and Williamson County Schools employees has been overwhelming. I also appreciate the support of the Williamson County School Board members who have worked with County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Williamson County Commissioners.
I want to thank the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Board of Education for allowing me to get to know them and for allowing me to explore the opportunity of working for boys and girls in Nashville. I was impressed with the warm reception I received. It is evident the Board’s focus is on student success, and I am encouraged about the future of MNPS.
After careful consideration, I have made the decision to remain in Williamson County Schools in order to continue our journey to becoming a district recognized nationally in the academics, athletics, and the arts.
The school board, as sort-of expected, rescinded its appointment of Jay Steele as interim superintendent and appointed Chris Henson in his place, and did so with some procedural mess-making.
With no discussion, the Metro Nashville School Board responsible for 87,000 students and nearly 11,000 employees on Tuesday night promoted an officer deemed unqualified to run the school system to the district's top job.
The School Board voted 5-4 to promote Chief Academic Officer Jay Steele to director of schools. The move is effective July 1, after the month-end retirement of current Director Jesse Register.
The interim position does not disqualify Steele from going after for the job on a permanent basis, according to several members of the board who voted for him. Steele had applied to become a permanent replacement, but was told by officials with Chicago-based search firm Hazard Young Attea and Associates they would not recommend he make the first cut of candidates due to lack of experience, he said. Board members say that, depending on who appears on a short list of candidates set to be unveiled July 6, there could be room to consider Steele.
Steele, credited for growing the career academies program in Metro high schools, said he is still interested in the director job on a permanent basis and was surprised the board voted him in as interim leader on Tuesday.
“I was not asked to be the interim. But I am humbled by the board members who voted for me tonight and I’ll serve them and this district the best I can,” he said after the meeting.
An East Nashville parents' group wonders why Elissa Kim — a vice president for Teach for America — isn't recusing herself from votes on charter contracts that include intents to use TFA for teacher recruitment. Metro Legal, for what it's worth, says it's not a violation.
Tuesday night’s school board meeting left Board Member Amy Frogge declaring the board can’t have meaningful conversations because it’s “spun” in favor of charters, and Will Pinkston saying any faith he had in Chairwoman Sharon Gentry’s leadership has evaporated. On the other side, it’s left charter advocates Elissa Kim grasping for straws to keep the conversation about policy and Mary Pierce unable to see a path forward.
“It’s pretty evident with this current makeup we’re not going to move forward on the board in discussing and creating a thoughtful plan for charter growth and how to implement them in our district,” Pierce said after the meeting.
Nearly half of the money that's gone into this year's school board races has gone to the Pierce/Sharpe fight. Unions, advocacy groups and Director of Schools Jesse Register, as well as many others, have pitched in ahead of next week's election day.
Campaign disclosures capturing spending and fundraising activities from July 1 to July 28 show Pierce has also outspent Sharpe. Pierce has spent close to $46,000 in the last month, while Sharpe has spent just under $29,000, both focusing most of their money on mailers and handouts.
Will Pinkston has been reprimanded for violating what he calls an antiquated policy that prohibits school board members from criticizing the director of schools. He's going to suggest dumping same.
Addressing the language would be the latest move by the board to consider revising their governing policies. Board members have been suggesting updates and rewrites of board policies for the last two years, largely at the suggestion of school board members elected in 2012, including Pinkston.
A recently released image of the gymnasium planned for Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School shows a very contemporary exterior design — and one that should provide nice contrast to the historic downtown stone structure.
Nashville-based Kline Swinney Associates designed the gym for the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Work should begin in early 2014.
Bob Swinney, firm partner, said the project will feature an underground parking garage, with the gym itself to will seat about 1,275. This will allow Hume-Fogg to host girls’ and boys’ basketball tournaments.
Swinney said the exterior of the gym (seen in the image below from the Eighth Avenue/Rosa Parks Boulevard perspective) will feature mainly glass, with some metal, fiber cement panels and pre-cast concrete elements.
Swinney said to have designed the gym to look as if it were an original part of Hume-Fogg would have been both extremely costly and even somewhat disrespectful of the building’s storied history.
“We met with the Metro Historical Commission and they did not want us to try to mimic [the main building],” Swinney said. “They wanted contrast. We’re trying to make it very light. The Eighth Avenue side is almost all glass. We will try to get LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification at the minimum.”