The Search for a New Director of Schools


Shawn Joseph headshotFriday, May 13, the Board of Education voted 9-0 to extend an offer to Shawn Joseph for Director of Schools. During a break in the meeting, Dr. Joseph verbally agreed by phone to the terms of a proposed contract. Immediately after, the Board voted to ratify the contract and finalize the hire. The contract agreed upon between the Board and Dr. Joseph employ him for a 4-year term, starting July 1, 2016.

This decision comes after two weeks of extensive interviews and community engagement. Board members got to know Dr. Joseph, his work experience, educational philosophy and ideas for how to lead Metro Schools during hours of discussions, through complete professional dossiers and seeing him interact with city leaders and community members.

“Over the last two weeks, the Board has had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a high-quality group of candidates,” said Board Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry. “Each candidate was impressive for different reasons, leaving the Board with an extremely difficult decision to make. I am pleased to share that this morning the Board voted unanimously to select Dr. Shawn Joseph from Prince George’s County, Maryland as our new district leader. Shortly after our vote, Dr. Joseph agreed to accept the position. We are thrilled that he will begin his work in our district on July 1.”

Watch Dr. Joseph’s first round interview.

Watch Dr. Joseph’s second round interview.

Watch Dr. Joseph’s community forum.


The Board of Education has chosen the final three candidates who will move on to a second round of interviews for Director of Schools.

Watch events live online.

Watch livestreams and replays of all Director Search events online.

Jesus Jara headshot
Jesus Jara
Deputy Superintendent,
Orange County Public Schools (FL)
Learn more
Shawn Joseph headshot
Shawn Joseph
Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning,
Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)

Learn more
H Allen Smith headshot
H. Allen Smith
Chief of Schools, Oakland Unified School District (CA)
Learn more

The decision was made in a meeting on Friday, May 6, after a full day of interviews yesterday during which Board members spoke with all six candidates for more than an hour each.

Sign up for email updates and reminders on the search process.

“Yesterday the Board had the pleasure of having conversations with six highly-qualified candidates as our next Director of Schools,” said Board Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry. “We find ourselves in a very unique position – Nashville as the ‘it city’ and we, as a community, attracted six up-and-coming, progressive urban school district leaders. After considerable discussion, the Board identified three strong candidates to return. They will participate in the next round of interviews – the two days of VIP visits, city tours and community forums. We thank everyone for their participation and interest in this process.”

These candidates will now move on to a second round of interviews. They will include a far reaching plan for community engagement and input into the search process with multiple opportunities and methods to give comment and ask questions to Board members and the final candidates.

Submit your questions and comments in this short online survey.

The Board will host a series of community forums with the finalist candidates in May 10-12. The forums will each feature a different candidate for an hour-long interview with parents, teachers and members of the community.The forum at which each candidate will appear will be determined over the weekend and announced as soon as it is known. The forums will be hosted at Metro middle and high schools around Nashville.

During the forums, a panel of representatives will ask questions of the finalists directly and audience members will submit questions for use by the moderator. Citizens can also submit questions online to The Tennessean. A selection of these questions will be drawn at random each night for candidates to answer. Those who attend the forums will be asked to provide feedback for the Board at the end of each forum.

Forum FlyersThumbnailDOWNLOAD

Shawn Joseph
Tuesday, May 10
6:00 p.m.
Maplewood High School
401 Walton Lane, 37216

Watch Live!

Allen Smith
Wednesday, May 11
6:00 p.m.
Creswell Middle Prep
School of the Arts
3500 John Mallette Drive, 37218

Watch Live! 

Jesus Jara
Thursday, May 12
6:00 p.m.
Overton High School
4820 Franklin Road, 37220

Watch Live! 



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Videos of both the Board interviews and the community forums will be available at and recorded for broadcast on Metro 3. In addition, The Tennessean has agreed to live stream all of these sessions on their website.

Community members – especially parents, students and teachers – are encouraged to save the date to participate in one or more of the candidate forums.

In addition to the forums, input and questions are being accepted right now via telephone, email and internet survey. All responses will be compiled and given to Board representatives for use in the interview and decision making process.

615-259-INFO (4636)
Online Survey

Community engagement is just one part of a thorough and lengthy interview process made up of multiple rounds and involving several groups of important community stakeholders.

May 3

  • Presentation of preliminary slate of candidates at a meeting of the Board of Education

May 5

May 6

During the week of May 9, each finalist will be asked to return for a more in-depth interview with the Board. They will be asked to present their specific and objectives for their first year on the job, if selected. This second round interview process will also include the community forums where Nashvillians will have the opportunity to interview the candidates as well as meet and greets with elected leaders, a tour of the city, a visit to an area school, etc.

May 9-12

May 13

  • Discuss next steps at a specially called meeting of the Board of Education
    • The Board is expected to decide whether or not to extend an offer to one of the candidates.
    • This will be broadcast live on Metro 3 and replayed through the weekend.


  • Possible final selection and contract ratification.

All dates are subject to change. Start times are still to be determined and will be posted to the Board of Education calendar when ready.

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