Category Archives: director of schools

#MNPSco2017: Community-Based Transition Program recognizes local employers who make a difference


Metro Schools helps students with disabilities thrive beyond the K-12 school system, collaborating with families, potential employers, community members and service providers to plan and facilitate transitions. The district’s Community-based Transition Program held an employer appreciation breakfast on May 12 to recognize local employers for doing their part to help students make the important transition beyond graduation.

Dr. Shawn Joseph, director of schools, thanked employers for the investment they have made in students’ future, building them up and giving them confidence to enter the workplace with skills and real-life experience. He also congratulated graduating students on their accomplishment.

“We are so proud of you. Your employers are proud of you and I’m proud of you. You’ve accomplished a great deal,” Dr. Joseph said to students in the audience.

“We want all of our students to have post-secondary and career and technical options,” said Debbie McAdams, executive director of MNPS Exceptional Education. “We’ve been doing this in Metro Schools for more than 20 years and we want to grow and continue to cultivate opportunities for our students.”

Michelle Hernandez-Lane, chief diversity officer for Metro government, said Mayor Megan Barry stands committed to working to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities and working with employers in their efforts to increase inclusion.

“As the city makes leaps and bounds on a number of fronts, and is seen as the ‘It City’ to many people, we want to make sure that we are the ‘It City’ for everyone and that we value and work to include all residents from all backgrounds,” said Michelle Hernandez-Lane, chief diversity officer for Metro government. “This is something that we all have to be committed to doing.  Employers, community leaders, families, teachers and school employees all have to be committed to being instrumental in creating change, opportunities and parity so that this vision of inclusiveness becomes a reality for all. That’s why this program and your participation in it is so valuable.”

Rob Bellefant of Eat Well Nashville said he was very impressed with Metro Schools schools students.

“You hear about the shortage of tech talent in Nashville but you don’t hear about the huge demand for people in kitchens in Nashville. It’s a great career path,” Bellefant said. “It’s been exciting to see students’ enthusiasm and positive attitude.”

Other participating employers in the MNPS CBTP program include, but not limited to: Holiday End (West End), Centennial Sportsplex, Kroger (21st Avenue), Divine Art Cafe, East Park Community Center Equal Opportunity, Metro Affirmative Action and Disability Services Department, St Thomas (Midtown), MTA, Lowe’s, Nashville Public Library, Kroger (8th and Moore), Papa John’s, Nashville Predators, Christ the King School, Metro Board of Public Education, Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, Glen Level Day Schools, Second Harvest Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, McCable Community Center, Southern Hills Medical Center, Walgreens #13929, Nashville Zoo, Trevecca Nazarene University, Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Bateman Service Meals, Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort, Hollywood 127 Cinemas, Embassy Suites Nashville at Vanderbilt, Skyline Medical Center, Madison Church of Christ, Walgreens #7316, Greater Nashville Regional Council, Metro Water, YMCA of Green Hills, The United Methodist Publishing House, Fairfield M.B. Church and the Nashville Airport Marriott.


MNPS Transition Program Graduating Students:

  • John Collin
  • Alejandro Lora-Berdion
  • Noah Barfield
  • Koron Bracey
  • Davonte Starnes
  • Savannah Tate
  • Derlonda Young
  • Robert Dockery
  • Thomas Chance
  • Jeremy Mathias
  • William Chris Taylor
  • Brittany Cummins
  • Isabel Hermon
  • Carlita Sanford
  • Tarrance Robinson
  • Randall Stanford
  • Clark Rice
  • John Blair

Congratulations Class of 2017!

Learn more about the MNPS Community-based Transition Program

See photos from the event below:

Swearing-in ceremony marks new term for Board of Education representatives

The Metro Schools Board of Education held a swearing-in ceremony at its Sept. 6 board meeting. The ceremony marks the beginning of a term for the newly elected board member and affirms the roles and responsibilities for all board representatives.


The ceremony welcomed a new member to the Board: Christiane Buggs, District 5. Buggs is succeeding Elissa Kim, who had decided not to run for re-election.

Four returning members also renewed their relationships: Dr. Sharon Gentry, District 1; Jill Speering, District 3; Will Pinkston, District 7; and Amy Frogge, District 9.

The oaths were administered by Judge Rachel Bell and Judge Shelia Calloway. Dr. Shawn Joseph and other Board members were also in attendance.

More than just homework: using data to take learning beyond school hours

When most people think of learning outside of the classroom, they think of homework. They think of the time spent struggling to solve a certain math problem or having to read a certain number of chapters a night.

But what if it could be more? More beneficial for students. More fit for individual needs. More fun than homework.

Metro Schools is collaborating with the incredible Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) to take after-school programs to the next level. Together, we’re focusing on extended learning that targets each student’s needs. This collaboration is an innovative practice, and it shows that positive changes can happen when two different learning institutions collaborate.

What does that mean?

Metro teachers and principals use student data to gain insight into each student’s needs and tailor instruction to them. We’re also sharing some of that insight with NAZA so they can continue the learning process and give students the right supports after school. It’s a partnership that uses school data to figure out what types of after-school programs are the right fit for different children.

How does it work?

Metro Schools has given NAZA staff limited access to information about students, including information about school attendance, their behavior in school and their grades and coursework.

Limited access means that only certain people who work for NAZA are allowed to view certain information about students based on the role they have in the after-school program. For instance, a math tutor would have access to a student’s math grades and reading tutors would be able to see the reading level of students in their program. Only the data needed by NAZA staff is shared.

NAZA also shares the data and knowledge they learn with the students’ schools. This includes which students are participating in which programs.

So, how is this helping?

  • It’s more beneficial for students.
    It aligns with Dr. Joseph’s goal of matching students with interventions that fit their specific needs. Through this type of partnership, Metro Schools and NAZA can focus more on what students need instead of just offering a one-size-fits-all program.
  • It’s more fit for individual needs.
    School staff have access to the afterschool program enrollment information. This gives them the chance to suggest programs for certain children based on each child’s specific needs.

Donelson community group provides relief to Hickman Elementary teachers

Hickman Elementary School started the school year off with a bang. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the kind they had in mind.

On the evening of Aug. 9, lightning struck the school. No children were injured, but the school suffered smoke and water damage with some minor roof damage. There were four affected kindergarten classrooms, including damaged or destroyed books and classroom materials – some of which were purchased with the teachers’ own money.

Thanks to a local organization, the teachers won’t have to reach back into their pockets for all new supplies.

Hip Donelson, the community group built to support Donelson neighborhoods, decided to help the teachers out. This Monday, Aug. 22, the organization presented a check to the staff at Hickman, including Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, District 4 School Board Member Anna Shepherd and Kimberly Fowler, the principal of Hickman.

The money provided by Hip Donelson will be used for the teachers to be able to restore their classrooms back to their original condition as much as they can. The mission of Hip Donelson is to advance the well-being of Donelson’s people, pets, neighborhoods, community organizations and nonprofit organizations through education and service.

Cambridge ELC chosen as a national model for other early learning programs

Metro Schools is once again in the spotlight for modeling best practices in early learning. The district’s newest school, Cambridge Early Learning Center (ELC), has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be used as a national model for equity in discipline and behavior support.

Cambridge ELC, a school that is funded by the federal Preschool Development Grant, will be used to set the standard for addressing issues of implicit bias, uneven implementation of discipline and integrating social and emotional education with academics in early learning programs.


“It’s another sign that our early learning programs are headed in the right direction,” said Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph. “We have been aggressively pushing for equity in discipline practices district-wide. By setting a foundation for positive behavior support in prekindergarten, we are investing in a future of better schools. This is a vote of confidence from the federal government about how we’re changing our approach to both early learning and discipline in education.”

ED and HHS intend to establish demonstration programs within Preschool Development Grant sites like Cambridge ELC that can serve as national models on addressing issues of disproportionate discipline outcomes and using culturally responsive practices. Through a program called the Pyramid Equity Project, they hope to provide recommendations on establishing preventative disciplinary policies and administering those policies without discrimination or bias.

The objectives of the project coincide with Metro Schools’ mission to the whole child through integrating physical, social and emotional development with academics.

“We are honored to be one of two schools chosen across the United States to become a demonstration site through the Pyramid Equity Project,” said Dana Eckman, Director of Model Early Learning Centers and the Pre-K Expansion Grant for Metro Schools. “The Tennessee Department of Education, Office of Early Learning and Cambridge Early Learning Center will work collaboratively with national experts in the implementation of the project. This opportunity is one that will be shared across Tennessee as Cambridge becomes a national model for social-emotional best practices to other districts and early childhood programs.”

The project strives to raise awareness about the issues of race, ethnicity and national origin in early childhood settings. It focuses on the high rates of suspensions and expulsions that occur in preschool settings nationwide, with much concern given to how these practices are associated with negative educational and life outcomes.

Currently, the preschool instructional model at Metro Schools is serving as a basis for changing elementary school education. Metro Schools believes that the new pre-K discipline model can also lay the groundwork for changing elementary school discipline in the same way. In the future, these changes can extend beyond elementary school and into the middle and high schools in the district.

Dr. Shawn Joseph Names Chief of Staff

Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph has hired the final member of his executive cabinet, completing the leadership team for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Dr. Jana Carlisle will join the team as chief of staff beginning September 15.

Carlisle headshot

Dr. Jana Carlisle joins Metro Schools as its new chief of staff.

Dr. Carlisle currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer at the NYC Leadership Academy, a nonprofit that has helped develop educational leadership talent in New York and across the country since 2003.

“The Chief of Staff is the final piece of our leadership structure, and in a lot of ways, will be the keystone role,” said Dr. Joseph. “The job helps provide coherence and effective communication both internally and externally. Dr. Carlisle will help oversee and manage the performance of our different divisions, as well as directly supervising the communications, government relations and research and assessment teams. Dr. Carlisle has the breadth of experience necessary to fill those many roles, from pedagogy to policy and strategy to communications and engagement. I am proud to bring her to Nashville and have her support an already talented team.”

As the Chief of Staff, Dr. Carlisle will lead collaboration between internal and external stakeholders to integrate the strategic research and planning happening right now with work that was begun prior to Dr. Joseph’s arrival. She will help bridge existing district programs and community initiatives, like Project RESET from the Nashville Public Education Foundation, with new research and efforts including:

  • recommendations provided by the transition team
  • feedback gathered from the 13 Listen and Learn sessions
  • district engagement with multiple stakeholder groups through focus groups, surveys and internal and external conversations

Dr. Carlisle’s leadership will unify all of these elements in order to develop and implement a bold new strategic plan that will articulate Metro Schools’ vision for the future. In addition to the departments that will directly report to her, Dr. Carlisle will closely collaborate with the three major divisions of Metro Schools:

  • Division of Teaching and Learning under Dr. Monique Felder
  • Division of School Improvement and Support under Dr. Sito Narcisse
  • Operations Division under Chris Henson

Dr. Carlisle will effectively manage the operations of the Director’s office by supporting other members of the leadership team, planning for the Director’s meetings and events and serving as a key contact for department heads and community members.

“With the transition team now deep into their work, we will soon have a clearer picture of our new strategic direction and the steps we need to take to get there,” said Dr. Joseph. “Dr. Carlisle will be here to make sure every step we take is directly aligned with the goals we set in the new strategic plan. She shares our values of equity and access for all children and a clear focus on what is right for our diverse community.”

Dr. Carlisle is originally from Michigan and has spent 25 years in education working in leadership roles for public school districts, nonprofit organizations and the philanthropic community.

“Educational success is a right, not an economic privilege,” said Dr. Carlisle. “Throughout my career, I have brought together diverse sets of partners to work for educational equity and access for all students, regardless of their backgrounds. I have deep experience framing and facilitating improvement processes and practices, as well as helping others plan and manage for change and successful implementation. Nashville has many of the right pieces in place for such a change, and I look forward to aligning our organizational goals, objectives and practices to achieve the results we need.”

Personal Biography
Raised in Michigan as the daughter of a university professor and a K-12 special education administrator, Jana L. Carlisle grew up thinking that all children enjoyed the privilege of high-quality schools and an understanding that college was for anyone who aspired to attend. As a political science student studying at Michigan State University, she realized that in America, there are clear opportunity gaps that exist based upon citizens’ socio-economic status and, in many instances, citizens’ race.

Dr. Carlisle recalls, “As a middle-class white woman with highly educated parents, I had the privilege and expectation of dreaming big. Many children, however, including those who were poor and children of color not living too far away in Michigan’s urban core, had fewer opportunities and different expectations set for them. It wasn’t right, and I felt compelled to do something about it.”

Throughout the last 25 years, Dr. Carlisle has sought to improve public education for all students through leadership positions in the not-for-profit, public and philanthropic sectors. Her roles have placed her in an upstate New York urban superintendent’s office, an upstate New York employer association that ran education programs, a major Seattle-based international foundation on the college ready team, a Washington state-level business-education partnership organization, two different national education not-for-profit organizations located in Washington, DC and New York City, and an independent consultancy.

Dr. Carlisle earned her B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State University, a M.S. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester and an Ed.D. in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Carlisle paraphrases Ron Edmonds powerful commentary on our desire to educate children stating, “We can educate any child we choose to educate.” She goes on to share, “Our public school systems have the unique opportunity to motivate all children to challenge themselves to maximize their potential. They can also expose children to opportunities that can transform their lives and the lives of their families for generations to come. We must work to ensure that all schools work to advance all children each and every day.”

Dr. Carlisle has three young adult children – Emma who is starting graduate school at Kings College of London, Jared who is a rising senior at University of Washington and Isabelle who is a rising sophomore at Oberlin College and Conservatory.

Metro Schools Announces Additional “Listen and Learn” events with Dr. Joseph

The Listen and Learn sessions have been very popular, with hundreds of people at every event – more than 2,000 so far. The demand is still high to meet new Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph and give him thoughts and opinions on the district.

Though every session so far has been open to all families who want to attend, locations were chosen to meet parents by cluster, hitting every geographic area of Nashville.

August 17, 2016 – Choice School Parents and Community Members

There is additional demand from parents who are not bound by cluster, those who use the choice process to send their children to schools all over the district. Dr. Joseph and the Board of Education will host an additional Listen & Learn session for choice school families and community members. All are welcome to attend and share their ideas on the future of Metro Schools.

Date: August 17, 2016

Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Rose Park Magnet Math and Science Middle Prep, 1025 9th Avenue, Nashville, TN 37210


Flyers: Spanish | Arabic | Somali | Kurdish | Burmese | Nepali | Somali

August 18, 2016 – Rescheduled McGavock Cluster Listen and Learn

Because of a traveling delay, Dr. Joseph was unavailable at the McGavock Cluster Listen and Learn in July.

The event will feature an hour long question-and-answer session featuring Dr. Joseph.

Date: August, 18, 2016

Time: 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Location: McGavock High School, 3150 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37214.



Metro teachers to receive significant salary increase as a result of new pay scale

Metro Nashville Public Schools has unveiled a new salary scale for certificated employees that will result in significant pay increases for many teachers, particularly those with five to 10 years of experience. The new salary scale aligns MNPS salaries with regional market data at key points throughout a teacher’s career.

All Metro teachers can look forward to a salary increase on their next paycheck. The new fiscal year budget that started on July 1 includes $10.25 million in additional teacher pay – $3 million more than budgeted last year. Teachers will receive a salary step increase and benefit from the revised pay scale. The operating budget for 2016-17 also includes $2.7 million for support employees to receive step increases on the pay schedule.

“By far, teachers have the most direct impact on individual student success of all the employees in a school system. In order to achieve excellence by design in every classroom every day, we have to have the best and the brightest educators. While culture and leadership also play important roles in teacher recruitment and retention, competitive salaries are absolutely essential,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, Director of Metro Schools. “I am pleased that our Board prioritized increasing teacher pay in this year’s budget, and I am grateful to Mayor Megan Barry and the Metro Council for funding the request.”

Salaries for new teachers in Nashville have been competitive for the last five years, following a significant increase to starting teacher pay in 2011. However, no other major changes have been made to the district’s pay scale since that time. For the last several years, Metro Schools has instituted across-the-board pay increases in lieu of salary step increases.

The complete pay scales for certificated and support staff were shared via email with employees. Metro Schools employees can access the pay scales online.


Key Highlights of Pay Scale Differences
Step (Years of Experience) (Old) FY15-16 Pay Scale for Teachers with a Bachelors’ Degree (New) FY16-17 Pay Scale for Teachers with a Bachelors’ Degree
0-8 $42,082.10 (no variation other than across-the-board increases in recent years) Ranges from $42,100 for starting teachers to $44,750 for teachers with nine years of experience
10 $44,536.45 $47,000


The MNPS 3rd Annual Enrollment Fair is Saturday, July 16 at the Global Mall

Need to help your child enroll, transfer, withdrawal, get a sports physical or immunizations? This is the event to get everything done in one place!

The MNPS 3rd Annual Enrollment Fair will be held on Saturday, July 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Global Mall, 5252 Hickory Hollow Parkway, Antioch 37013.

All students enrolling will receive a MNPS drawstring backpack and other awesome giveaways.

Check out the flyer below: 2016-17_EnrollmentFair_Flyer-page-001.jpg

PHOTOS: Metro Schools, Mayor Megan Barry and the Nashville Public Library encourage summer reading


Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph greets a little reader at the Nashville Public Library after a July 5 news conference. 

Metro Schools, the Mayor’s Office and the Nashville Public Library held a joint press conference Tuesday, July 5, addressing a shared commitment to boost literacy in Nashville. The conference took place in the Children’s reading area at the Downtown Public Library and was attended by Metro Schools’ staff, members of the Board of Education, local reading and education advocacy programs and various other community leaders.

Mayor Megan Barry, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, and Nashville Public Library Board Member Joyce Searcy delivered the messages and handed out books provided by Book’Em to children in attendance. Book’Em is a Nashville nonprofit committed to distributing tens of thousands of books each year to economically disadvantaged children.

In beginning his new position with Metro Schools, Dr. Joseph has shared the urgency he feels for addressing areas of need, but this time he specifically referred to urgency with literacy advocacy—especially during these critical summer months.

“We cannot put learning aside for two months by taking a break on reading,” Dr. Joseph said. “Reading is the foundation of all other learning, so we must take advantage of the tremendous educational resources available in Nashville to support our students.”

Mayor Megan Barry shares that same urgency, speaking on the importance of the dollars added to this year’s budget—specifically designated to support literacy efforts. The funds were added to the public libraries as well as to the reading programs in Metro Schools.

Dr. Joseph also called on families to make reading a priority at home so it becomes second nature to a child and for the community to rally around those efforts. He did not speak lightly about this call to action, referring to literacy as a top focus on the list of Metro Schools’ “great and complex” challenges. All speakers at the library event asked that the community come together in the spirit of collaboration to move the dialogue forward, including Metro teachers.

Since it was Dr. Joseph’s second official day of work, the event was Dr. Joseph and Mayor Barry’s first opportunity to lead a press conference side-by-side. Both look forward to working together and campaigning for public education. Mayor Barry’s last words hit on her hopes for the new director of schools

“I am thrilled to go on this adventure together,” Mayor Barry said speaking to Dr. Joseph, “If you are successful, our children are successful.”

Metro Schools has compiled a list of literacy resources for families, students and teachers on Below are two opportunities from NPL:

NPL Summer Challenge
Students can sign up for the Summer Challenge to log reading hours over the summer to earn prizes. Each branch will draw for prizes like iPad minis and a trip to Dollywood. Mayor Barry has even offered up the chance to be Student Mayor for a Day.


Limitless Library Summer Reading Lists (K-12)
Limitless Library is a resource sharing program created from a partnership between the Nashville Public Library and Metro Schools to improve student access to learning materials. The Limitless Library site has popular summer “must reads” and required school reading lists.

Read more about these programs and more extended learning resources at

See more photos from the news conference below:

%d bloggers like this: