Category Archives: Educators
Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School celebrated the opening of its new library with a dedication ceremony. The library was named after Dr. Samella Junior-Spence, the founding principal of the school and the first woman to serve as an executive principal in Metro Schools.
Dr. Junior-Spence founded MLK Jr. Magnet School in 1986 and served as the school’s principal until her retirement in 1997. MLK opened with 200 students, and by the time Dr. Junior-Spence retired, boasted an enrollment of 900 students.
Dr. Junior-Spence opened MLK in the same building as Nashville’s first African American high school – another school where Dr. Junior-Spence served as principal and became Davidson County’s first female high school principal. When Dr. Junior-Spence retired in 1997, she ended a 43-year-long career in various teaching and administrative roles that took her across Tennessee and Georgia.
In addition to education, Dr. Junior-Spence has been involved with the Nashville nonprofit community including the YWCA, United Way, Girls Scouts, March of Dimes and many others as well as leadership and professional organizations.
Dr. Junior-Spence graduated with honors from Spelman College in 1953, and she continued her education at Louisiana State University where she earned a master’s of music education. She went on to earn two doctorate degrees – one in theology from United Theological College and one in philosophy from the George Peabody College of Education.
View photos from the dedication below:
A luncheon was recently held at the Martin Professional Development Center to honor Metro Schools employees who had served the district for 30 and 40 years.
Click here to see a list of the employees who were honored.
View photos from the event below:
Eight athletes were inducted into the 2017 Metro Schools Sports Hall of Fame on April 11. We applaud their achievements in athletics, in business and service to others, and we thank them for years of inspiration and motivation!
They have each earned a place in Nashville history, and we proudly celebrate them:
Catherine Miller-Bowers, Whites Creek High School, Class of 1982
Catherine Miller-Bowers is a 1982 MNPS graduate of Whites Creek Comprehensive High School. Catherine Miller-Bowers excelled in basketball, cross-country and track. Bowers was the 1982 state track champion in the 100m hurdles and was ranked nationally as a top 10 All-American.
She was the 1982 Pentathlon Champion and her record is still standing. In basketball, she was selected All-District and All-Region in her senior year. Bowers attended Arizona State University, where she received numerous awards that included being ranked top 10 in the PAC-10 Conference and NCAA Division I Championship in the 400m hurdles and the triple jump.
In 1987, Bowers had the opportunity to be a graduate assistant coach at Arizona State University where she had the privilege to coach several outstanding athletes for the 1988 Summer Olympics. She is currently working for Metro Schools and coaching track and field at Hume Fogg Academic High School.
Tim Dobbins, Glencliff High School, Class of 2001
Tim Dobbins is a graduate of Glencliff High School and helped lead the Colts to the 1999 TSSAA Class 5A Champion Runner-Up. He was picked by the Tennessee Sports Writers’ Association as a first team All-State Linebacker during his senior year in 2001.
After graduation from GHS, he attended Copiah- Lincoln Community College in 2002-2003 and made all Mississippi Association of Community & Junior College (MACJC) Team both years. Dobbins then attended Iowa State University, where he earned all-Big 12 honors in his senior season. He led the Cyclones to the Houston Bowl in 2005 and to the Independence Bowl in 2004.
Dobbins was selected by the San Diego Chargers 151st overall in the 5th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. During his professional career, Dobbins played with Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys. He is an All American football linebacker whose career NFL statistics as of 2013 included 253 tackles, two quarterback sacks, 12 passes defensed and three interceptions. Dobbins is currently a free agent.
Charlie Fentress, Cohn High School, Class of 1955
Charlie Fentress graduated from Cohn High School in 1955. Fentress was an all-around athlete who excelled in three sports in particular – football, basketball and baseball. He also had a great collegiate career at Belmont College, where he attended on basketball and baseball scholarships. After college, Fentress continued his athletic career by playing in Nashville’s City League and Tri-State leagues.
After college, Fentress went on to serve our city as a firefighter with the Metro Fire Department and retired with 38 years of service.
There were many accomplishments during his playing and coaching tenure. From 1952-1955, Fentress was named to the All District team, Tennessean All-State Basketball team, Banner All-Nashville team, NIL Basketball Champion, team captain, and Banner Weekly All-Nashville. He was co-captain of the football team and was All City Team for this sport as well. He also played baseball and was a member of the TSSAA Regional Baseball Champions and received Banner All-City Baseball Team for three years. Fentress participated in track one year. He was voted Most Athletic Senior Superlative and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
After high school, Fentress played basketball and baseball for four years at Belmont College and was Basketball MVP and Honorable Mention Basketball College All-Mid State Team.
Fentress also received many awards for his post-college play in the Gilbert League Baseball and City League Baseball leagues. This past January, the prestigious Nashville Old Timers Baseball Association inducted Charlie Fentress into the Nashville Amateur Baseball hall of Fame.
Chris Gaines, DuPont High School, Class of 1983
A multi-talented football and basketball standout at DuPont High school, Chris Gaines developed into one of the most fierce and successful linebackers in SEC history at Vanderbilt. Gaines played quarterback and defensive end at DuPont High for most of his high school football career. At halftime of the first game his senior season, he
was switched from quarterback to tailback and rushed for 200 yards in the second half. It was the beginning of a dominating season in which Gaines was virtually unstoppable at tailback as DuPont’s power run game blossomed into Nashville’s most feared gridiron force.
Another position change in college sparked a record-breaking career at Vanderbilt. Recruited as a fullback, the Commodores switched Gaines to linebacker after a redshirt freshman year. As linebacker, Gaines dominated. He was elected captain his senior season of 1987, and he still holds several Vanderbilt records for most tackles in a game and in a season. Gaines wreaked havoc on college offenses with an amazing 214 tackles, including 136 solo tackles, four sacks, nine tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. His 214 tackles (an astonishing 19.5 tackles per game) is still the SEC record. He also still holds the Vanderbilt record for most tackles in a game with 37 against Tulane. Perhaps even more impressive is that he played every defensive snap of every game his senior year.
Following the 1987 season, Gaines was named to the Kodak All-American First Team, First Team All-SEC by the AP and UPI, Vanderbilt Athlete of the Year, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Amateur Athlete of the Year. He participated in the Blue-Gray Bowl, a college all-star game where he finished with 18 tackles and was named MVP. Gaines was also Academic All-SEC in 1986 and has been recognized as one of the SEC Football Legends.
Drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals, Gaines played for the Miami Dolphins in the NFL and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League, where he intercepted six passes in 1991 and tied the franchise record for most tackles in a season. His team won the Grey Cup Championship.
Following his playing career, Gaines coached for the Toronto Argonauts and then
for Vanderbilt, where he was named SEC Linebackers Coach of the Year.
Gaines presently serves as owner, president and CEO of CD Medical, Inc.,
a medical sales business.
Walter “Bugs” Jordan, Stratford High School, Class of 1975
Walter (Bugs) Jordan played football and basketball at Hillwood High School from 1971 – 1972 before transferring to Stratford High School from 1972 – 1975. At Stratford, Jordan played football as a safety, wide receiver and running back, and also played basketball and baseball.
Jordan was selected to the All NIL football teams for both his junior and senior years. In his final year at Stratford, Jordan was the recipient of the Lonnie Matthews Award recognizing outstanding sportsmanship and leadership presented by the Stratford School Men’s Club. He was also selected to the TSSAA West All-Star Football Team and elected as Senior Class President for the Class of 1975.
Jordan was recruited to Vanderbilt University by Bill Parcells, a Commodore assistant at the time, and went on to be a three-year starting cornerback from 1976 – 1979.
In 1979, he was named to the Tennessean High School NIL All-Decade Team as a defensive back.
Since graduating college, Jordan has enjoyed a rewarding career with Ally Financial(formally known as G.M.A.C.) for the past 36 years. This career has taken him from Nashville to several locations in Maryland, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois. Jordan currently resides in Tinley Park, Illinois with his wife, Theresa.
Jeffery O. Powell, Whites Creek High School, Class of 1981
Jeffery Powell was a standout athlete in both high school and college. He graduated from Whites Creek High School and attended the College of William & Mary and later transferred to the University of Tennessee, where he graduated in 1985.
While at Whites Creek, Powell received numerous honors, including being a member of the 400-meter relay team that tied the national high school record, 6 time all-American, 110-meter high hurdles Tennessee State champion, 300-meter intermediate hurdles Tennessee State Champion, Adidas All-American, Banner Trackman of the Year, William P. Lawrence Award winner, plus many more. He also holds the state record in 110-meter high hurdles
In college, Powell continued to achieve accolades by being a member of the U.S. Jr. Pan-American team. He was a silver medalist in the Jr. Pan-Am games in Venezuela (110 meter high hurdles), named to the U.S. Jr. World Team, a gold medalist in the Jr. World Games in Seoul, Korea, and Virginia Collegiate State Champion. Powell set a record at Williams & Mary in the 300 meter and 50 yard dash. He also set an East Coast record in the 55 meter high hurdle. He was on the 1985 SEC Championship teams for track and football. In 1986, he was a sixth round draft pick in the NFL for the Chicago Bears.
In 1992, Powell graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School. His hobbies are golfing and fishing.
“I’ve has a lot of accomplishments in my athletic career, but being inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools sports HOF stands a cut above as one of my most cherished,” Powell says.
Joe Shapiro, Alabama, Posthumously
Coach Joe Shapiro graduated from the University of Oklahoma in the 1930’s and returned to Nashville to work on his Masters from Peabody College. He then took a position in Winterboro, Alabama, where he taught and coached in the 1940’s and started coaching at Talladega High School. He had two State Championship football teams there, one in 1945 and the other in 1946.
In 1947 he returned to Nashville and was teacher and Coach at Peabody Demonstration School before going to West End High School. He taught a class and coached at West from 1950 – 1968 when the school was changed to a Junior High. During those years, he was head Coach for football, basketball and baseball, while teaching young men at school who were willing to give their all to practice and play their games he taught. He was always fair in his coaching and left unblemished legacy for all young men to follow.
He had many accomplishments during his coaching career. They are as follows: Basketball – 360 wins, 156 losses (5 District, 2 NIL, 1 Regional and 1 State Championships; Football – 43 wins and 35 losses (2 State Championships); Baseball – Wins 44 and 8 losses (2 NIL and 2 Regional Championships, 1 State Runner-up)
Sam Smith, Jim Hill High School, Class of 1964, Posthumously
Sam Smith was born in Canton, Mississippi, and graduated from Jim Hill High School in Jackson. Upon graduation, Smith attended and graduated from Tennessee State University. He is a member of MNEA, TEA, TSSAA, American Coaches Association, and USATF youth chair for the State of Tennessee. Coach Smith has been a McDonald’s Coach of the Year honoree. He is a personal trainer and a member of 15th Ave. Baptist Church, where he teaches Sunday school.
Early in his career, Smith was the head girls’ track coach, assistant football coach and taught health and physical education at Whites Creek High School. He also served as the head girls’ soccer coach. Later, he taught biology served as head baseball coach at North High School, as well as assistant football coach, and taught biology. Smith later became a trainer and the assistant women’s track coach at Tennessee State University (TSU) under the famous Coach Ed Temple. In 2004, he won the USA Track & Field award and recognition from the National Youth Coaches Association.
In 1988, Smith served as head coach of the United States Men & Women’s Para-Olympics’ track and field teams in Seoul, Korea. In 1990, he was the manager of the South Women’s Olympic Festival track team in Minneapolis. In 1991, he was the head track coach for South Women’s Olympic Festival and Track team in Los Angeles. He is president/founder, head track coach and fundraiser of the Continental T-Belle track club, which is a non-profit helping girls from the Middle Tennessee area develop track skills. He has been the head track & field coach for the Tennessee Amputee team and spent eight years at TSU with the National Youth Sports Program.
Smith serves as director of All Comers Track Meet & South Regional Track & Field Championship. He’s an official in the Track & Field Association (TN National Masters), basketball referee, softball umpire, TN Amputee official, president of USA track & field youth coaches. Coach Smith has championship records dating from 1982 to present. He says, “there is no shortcut to Success.”
Congratulations to the 2017 Sports Hall of Fame inductees!
John Overton High School held an event to celebrate progress of the construction additions and renovations currently happening at the school. The library and cafeteria were recently completed, and the rest of the school’s construction will be finished in 2018. The project is estimated to be 267,000 square feet.
Speakers at the event included Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education District 3 Board Member Dr. JoAnn Brannon, District 34 Metro Councilwoman Angie Henderson, District 26 Metro Councilman Jeremy Elrod and Overton High School Principal Dr. Jill Pittman.
Guests enjoyed a musical performance by Overton students, toured the school and were able to see illustrations of the renovation plans.
Check out photos from the event:
- Opportunity NOW is a coordinated initiative providing young people in Metro Davidson County access to employment.
- Launched by Mayor Megan Barry and supported by the Metro Council, this initiative is designed to combat the growing employer concern about lack of “soft” skills among their youngest employees – skills most learned through actual work experience.
Facts About Opportunity NOW:
- Any young person 14-24 can search and apply for jobs on Opportunity NOW
- Metro jobs for 14-15 year olds are called “Experience Work” and pay $8/hr
- Application period closes April 17th
- Metro jobs for 16-17 year olds are called “High School Internships” and pay $9/hr
- Application period closes April 7th
- Metro jobs for May 2017 high school graduates are called “Summer Plus” and pay is market rate
- Application period closes May 8th
Check out these upcoming onboarding events for more information:
- April 3, 2:30-7:30 p.m.
- Thompson Lane Library, 380 Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211
- April 4, 3-7 p.m.
- Watkins Park Library, 612 17th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203
- April 5, 3-7 p.m.
- Madison Library, 610 Gallatin Pike S., Madison, TN 37115
- April 6, 2:30-8 p.m.
- Southeast Community Center, 5260 Hickory Hollow Parkway, Suite 202, Antioch, TN 37013
Click here to access the Opportunity NOW portal.
“I want to be an engineer,” said Natjha Johnson, a senior at John Overton High School. “I heard so many good things about this program through my teacher and I wanted to give it a try. Being in this program reassures me that I can do it.”
Johnson is one of a group of students from John Overton High School participating in the ACE Mentor Program, a national program that pairs high school students interested in careers in architecture, construction and engineering with professionals in each field. The program exposes students to all three professions with the goal of helping them determine their future career path.
During their most recent meeting, the students visited Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa), a Nashville-based architecture firm that has designed numerous buildings in Nashville and across the country – including the iconic AT&T Building in downtown Nashville.
The students were given a tour of ESa, where they learned about the structure and job responsibilities within the company and experienced the different work spaces in an architecture office.
“I’ve learned that there are different pathways in engineering,” said Johnson about the ACE Mentor Program. “I’ve broadened my horizons too. Going on that tour makes me even consider being an architect. I’ve learned that I have more options.”
Since the beginning of the school year, the students have met with their group of mentors twice a month, learning about each mentor’s profession and and using the knowledge they’ve gained to work on a year-long project.
The group selected resilience as the topic for their project. With the guidance of their mentors, the students are designing an apartment building with features that would help it withstand a natural disaster.
At the end of the year, the students will present their project at a banquet where they will compete against other local ACE Mentor groups for college scholarships.
Is your child starting kindergarten next year? Get an early start on the first day of school with the Kindergarten Readiness Fair!
This Saturday, April 1, Metro Schools is hosting an event to help incoming kindergarten families with the enrollment process. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lentz Public Health Center.
The event will include kindergarten enrollment and assessments, EL services, student immunizations provided by the Lentz Public Health Center, MNPS and community partner information booths, a kindergarten transition workshop, a car seat safety check, a school bus experience and door prizes.
If you’re planning to enroll your child on site, please bring the following documents:
- Birth Certificate or record of birth
- Updated Tennessee Immunization Certificate or Immunization Record (You can also receive a copy at the fair)
- Proof of Physical
- Proof of Davidson County residency
- Parent/Guardian photo ID
For questions, please call the Family Information Center at 615-259-4636, email email@example.com or chat on MNPS.org
— Maplewood HS (@PantherNation_1) March 18, 2017
Maplewood High School made history on Saturday, March 18 with the boys basketball team securing the Class AA State Championship, defeating Knoxville Catholic 60-57.
“This was the first boys basketball title for a Nashville Metro boys team since MLK won in 1996,” said Roosevelt Sanders, director of athletics for Metro Schools.
Interesting fact: Current Maplewood coach Ty Wilson was an assistant coach under James “Doc” Shelton for four of the seven years that Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School went to the state tournament.
Maplewood was led by two-time Mr. Basketball Bo Hodges, who scored 18 points and seven rebounds in the championship game. He was also named the Class AA Tournament Most Valuable Player. Three Maplewood players, Hassan Littlepage, Robert Wilcox III, and Bobo Hodges, were named to the All-Tournament team.
See a video of the celebration below:
— Tom Kreager (@Kreager) March 18, 2017
This is a great win, not only just for Maplewood but for all of Metro Schools!
— mnpsSTEM (@mnps_stem) January 14, 2017
Metro Schools’ STEM program was recently profiled on i3community.ed.gov, a site that features educational initiatives funded by the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) – a U.S. Department of Education grant program.
The Metro Schools i3 grant-funded program, G2ROW STEM, consists of afterschool sessions, Saturday sessions and a two-week STEM summer camp. G2ROW STEM also offers mentors, hosts guest speakers and field trips for its student participants.
“The early successes of the i3 STEM grant is attributed to the great team we have working together in the central office, the administration and teachers in our seven i3 schools, and the tremendous support of our business and community leaders,” said Dr. Kristopher Elliott, Metro Schools’ director of STEM. “We are excited to see where the program will take our students over the next several years and hope to inspire more of them to pursue careers in STEM. As a federally funded innovation program, our ongoing findings and results will serve as an example for other schools and districts across the nation.”
Here are highlights from the Q & A:
What is your i3 project trying to achieve, and what are the major pieces of the project?
G2ROW STEM is geared to grow student achievement particularly in science and math, heighten STEM aspirations, and close opportunity gaps in STEM education by implementing mentorships and STEM extended learning strategies for underrepresented middle school students.
What are some of the best practices or most successful strategies that have led to success in your program to date?
The successful utilization and implementation of the curriculum Engineering Everywhere, as well as Project Based Learning (PBL), have led to the success of the program by empowering students to be more self-directed in their learning. Students are continuously engaged in sustained inquiry through the process of questioning, evaluating evidence, and solving problems.
Read the rest of the profile here.
Middle Tennessee U.S. Attorney’s Office honors Community Achieves site manager with public service award
Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary’s own Megan McGuire received praise from the law enforcement community for her work as a Community Achieves site manager.
McGuire is the 2016 U.S. Attorney’s Office Award of Excellence in Public Service recipient. She accepted the award at a special event held on Thursday, March 9 organized by the United States Attorney’s Office for Middle Tennessee.
Community Achieves acts a bridge in schools with the resources and supports families need, connecting them to community partners, agencies and other services while focusing on four key areas: family engagement, college and career readiness, health and wellness as well as social services. There are currently 24 schools that have a Community Achieves site manager.
Congrats, Megan McGuire! Metro Schools and the Buena Vista community celebrate your work and all you do!
— Whitney Slovick (@slovick2) March 9, 2017
— Dr. Tony R. Majors (@tmajors29) March 9, 2017
— Whitney Slovick (@slovick2) March 9, 2017
View highlights from the special school celebration held for McGuire below: