School board establishes process for hiring director

C456772E-EFBA-4491-AE59-FD7FFFAD9871The Board of Education today last week a series of efforts aimed at strengthening community engagement and input into the search for a new director of schools, including multiple opportunities and methods to submit comments and questions to Board members and the final candidates.

“As we have known throughout this process, community engagement is the vital piece that will drive this process forward and help us draw our conclusions,” said Board of Education Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry. “We began this search with a community-led effort to gather stakeholder opinions on what our city wants in our new director. Now as that effort has borne fruit and we are preparing to see a slate of candidates, we once again ask the community to step up and help guide us to the right decision for the children of Nashville.”

The community will have several ways to “weigh in” at various points in the interview process:

  • A dedicated web page launched today at It will be updated in real time throughout the interview process. Background materials on the various candidates will be available to the public as well as any other pertinent information.
  • Citizens can submit questions online they would like School Board members to consider asking candidates as part of the interview process.
  • A series of community forums will be hosted with the three finalists giving parents, teachers and members of the community a chance to hear directly from the candidates and ask their own questions of them. In addition to a community panel directing questions to the candidates, members of the audience will also have the opportunity to submit questions. 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.
  • Videos of both the Board interviews and the community forums will be available at In addition, The Tennessean is planning to live stream some of these sessions on[]

“We have tried very hard from the outset to make this an inclusive process and one in which the entire city feels they are a part,” said Board of Education Vice Chair Anna Shepherd. “As we prepare for the final phase of the process, we want the public to have ample opportunity to learn about the candidates, hear directly from the finalists and share their input and insights. The more engaged the city is, the better we will all feel about the outcome.”

A centerpiece of the community engagement efforts will be a series of forums in mid-May hosting what is expected to be three finalists for a town hall-style interview with parents, teachers and members of the community. The forums will be hosted at Metro middle and high schools around Nashville.

The forums are tentatively scheduled for the evenings of May 10-12 to fit an expected slate of three final candidates, but that schedule is subject to the Board’s final decision as to the number of candidates who will move forward as finalists. Community members – especially parents, students and teachers – are encouraged to save the date to participate in one or more of the candidate forums:

  •        Tuesday, May 10 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Maplewood High School (401 Walton Lane, 37216)
  •        Wednesday, May 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Creswell Middle Prep School of the Arts (3500 John Mallette Drive, 37218)
  •       Thursday, May 12 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Overton High School (4820 Franklin Road, 37220)

Download event flyers, including translations, at

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. During the week of May 2, the initial slate of candidates will be introduced and a first round of interviews with the Board of Education will quickly follow. From those interviews, the Board is expected to narrow the field to a smaller number of finalists who will be invited back for a second round of interviews the following week.

During the week of May 9, each finalist will be asked to return for a more in-depth interview with the Board. During this interview, they will 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.

A tentative schedule of the interview and selection process is below. Dates are subject to change. Some start times are still to be determined and will be posted to the Board of Education calendar when ready.

May 3

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

o   4:00 p.m. in the Board Room (2601 Bransford Ave., 37204)

May 5

·  First round of candidate interviews

o   8:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. in the Board Room (2601 Bransford Ave., 37204)

May 6

·  Selection of second round candidates at a specially called meeting of the Board of Education

o   8:30 a.m. in the Board Room (2601 Bransford Ave., 37204)

May 9-12

·  Second round of interviews with candidates, two days for each candidate

o   Day one:

§  Tour of the city

o   Day two:

§  Second interview with the Board of Education

§  Community forum in the evening

May 13

·       Discuss next steps/whether to extend an offer to one of the candidates at a specially called meeting of the Board of Education

o   8:30 a.m. in the Board Room (2601 Bransford Ave., 37204)