Category Archives: Parents
Due to stressful family situations, Sharif Ezzeir, a senior at Overton High School, faced more obstacles than the average high school student.
In January, Sharif found himself without a place to live. A teacher helped him complete homeless paperwork and file for social service assistance to find an apartment and transportation to get to work.
Sharif secured a job so he could pay his rent and was introduced to William E. Cartagena-Vazquez, a staff sergeant in the United States Army. Meeting the staff sergeant sparked an interest in Sharif to join the army. He passed the ASVAB with flying colors and will serve in the United States Army after graduating.
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!
See photos from the event below:
Graduations for the Class of 2017 start this week! To celebrate this wonderful accomplishment, we’ll be featuring various graduate success stories here and through social media. Follow these stories with #MNPSco2017. All of the featured students were nominated by a teacher or counselor.
Here is a preview of the types of stories we’ll be sharing:
Chike Brown, Hunters Lane High School
Chike is one of ten siblings and grew up in a single-parent household, causing him to take on increased home responsibilities. Despite his family obligations, Chike chose to take IB courses in high school and will be a first-generation college student in the fall.
Markia Shaw, The Academy at Opry Mills
Markia admits that she wasn’t focused on school during her senior year, and as a result she didn’t graduate with her class in May 2016. In July, she suffered a devastating loss when her mother died in a car accident. She moved to a rural Tennessee area to live with her grandmother. Markia knew her mother wanted her to graduate high school, so she tried to enroll in the local school system. Because Markia had already missed her graduation date, she was denied enrollment. Not deterred, Markia moved back to Nashville to finish school at the Academy at Opry Mills while also working two jobs to support herself. As difficult as it was, Markia finished her courses quickly and graduated in December 2016.
William Robinson, Nashville School of the Arts
Will has been through an amazing story of identity and personal growth he continues to live each day. He is an inspiring dancer, and he radiates hope to every person he encounters. He aspires to attend college next year, and has been admitted to a number of colleges already this spring.
Kelton Elliott, Whites Creek High School
Kelton has been living with his grandparents since fifth grade. He has overcome many obstacles and has stayed focused with his academic goals. He is determined to meet his educational goals and will attend MTSU this fall.
Antonious Hanna of Glencliff High School
Three years ago, Antonious moved from Egypt to the United States and spoke barely any English when he arrived. He was originally placed in the Glencliff Adult Program because he was 17 years old and only had a few high school credits from his country. Antonious fought to attend regular classes because he wanted to take full advantage of the traditional education he had moved across the world for. He was granted permission to exit the Adult Program and enroll in regular classes, where he flourished. Antonious truly shines amongst his classmates. He is very involved in school activities and loves serving his community and bettering himself through action. Despite being an EL student, he scored seven points higher on his ACT than Glencliff’s average score.
Maplewood High School students and staff celebrated the groundbreaking for their Energy and Power Outdoor Training Lab on May 4. The new lab will serve Academy of Energy and Power students at Maplewood.
The lab is part of school’s business partners’, Nashville Electric Service and Stansell Electric, Inc., work to provide Academy of Energy and Power students with the equipment and materials they need to conduct the duties of professional electric linemen or journeyman electricians.
When the lab is complete this fall, students will get real-world experience installing, maintaining and repairing transmission and distribution lines and systems as well as hooking up panels, transformers, plugs, lights and switches – right in their school’s backyard.
Check out photos from the event:
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.