Leadership change underway at Antioch High

Melissa Harkreader

Melissa Harkreader

Dr. Adrienne Battle Koger, the award-winning executive principal of Antioch High School, has moved to a new challenge.

Effective this past Monday, Koger has taken over the role of executive lead principal for priority schools. Melissa Harkreader will take leadership of the high school as interim principal.

Dr. Adrienne Koger

Dr. Adrienne Koger

Under Dr. Koger’s leadership, Antioch High School has made strong academic gains, including earning Reward School status in 2014. She transformed what was designated as a low-performing school in 2010 to a one of the fastest-growing schools in the state in just three years. Through her commitment to academic excellence, Antioch High School was designated a 2014 Tennessee Reward School for progress, which recognizes the top 5 percent of schools for progress or achievement in Tennessee. Through Dr. Koger’s leadership, the Academies of Antioch have increased in number and obtained the National Model Academy Accreditation. Dr. Koger brings focus and academic rigor as two of her major strengths to support priority schools. Dr. Koger is a Nashville native and alumni of Overton High School, holding a Doctorate of Education from Tennessee State University.

Harkreader is an Antioch High School graduate and has worked in education for 25 years. She comes from Hillsboro High School, which is an International Baccalaureate World School just like Antioch. She is also a former International Baccalaureate teacher.

There are a couple of other new leaders of priority schools as well.

Effective March 7, David Kovach will also serve as an executive lead principal for priority schools. Kovach comes to Metro Schools from New Leaders for New Schools, where he was the senior director of training and implementation. At New Leaders, Kovach designed and delivered training and professional development for turnaround school principals. Kovach’s background also includes serving as a principal of a high-need, low-performing school on the west side of Chicago and attaining significant achievement gains within a four-year period. As the Director of K-12 Services for the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, Kovach helped the Tennessee Department of Education implement the state’s teacher evaluation system and oversaw Teacher Incentive Fund grant projects throughout the state. A former English teacher and soccer coach, Kovach earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from National-Louis University.

Laura Middleton began serving as senior manager of school turnaround for priority schools on Feb. 10.  With more than 12 years leadership experience as a principal, Middleton is a school turnaround leader with a track record of delivering results and attaining academic gains for underperforming schools with economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority populations. Middleton previously served as State Director for the National Center on Time and Learning, working with districts in Tennessee and across the United States to increase the knowledge and implementation of expanding learning time opportunities in schools. Middleton, a Nashville native, holds a master’s degree in English, and Curriculum and Instruction from Baylor University.

According to a press release, the executive lead principals will be most hands-on with priority schools, helping supervise and act as direct liaisons with school leaders. Theirs will be a closely collaborative relationship while maintaining the principal autonomy granted to turnaround leaders in these schools. The senior manager of school turnaround will take a more strategic, higher level approach, exploring the latest research and best practices in turnaround techniques while guiding application of these techniques to Metro’s 12 priority schools. The senior manager also facilitates coaching with the leadership team and administrative staff, making sure we design effective structures in place to help turnaround schools.