Metro recruits high school leader from Florida

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 12:56pm
Staff reports

Jay Steele, director for career education for the St. Johns County School District in St. Augustine, Fla., will soon bring his extensive knowledge of high school educational services and reform to Metro Nashville Public Schools, officials announced Wednesday.

Steele, whose work in St. Johns County has become a national model, will become Metro's Associate Superintendent for High Schools.

“I am excited to join the team at MNPS. After meeting with business partners, Dr. Register, the Mayor, David Fox and members of the community, I believe the district is on the right track to high school reform,” said Steele. “I look forward to working with the community in innovative ways to equip our students with 21st century skills needed to succeed in college and a career.”

For the past five years, Steele has overseen 15 career academies that represent the region's high-skill, high-wage targeted occupations. He has been instrumental in establishing strong academies and community partners not only for St. Johns County Schools, but also for schools in the six county-region surrounding Jacksonville, Fla.

Metro Schools cited Steele's service in St. Johns County, where he worked to maintain strong community and business partnership, as prime examples of why district leaders believe he will be a good fit for Nashville.

“Jay’s work in St. Johns County is some of the best in the nation,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “The magnitude of the programs he has built in St. Augustine is quite impressive, and we feel his expertise in building and maintaining these highly personalized learning environments, as well as strong business and community partnerships, will be a major asset as we continue our current high school reform efforts.”

Several MNPS high schools are in the process of establishing career academies similar to those in St. Johns County. The purpose of these academies are to prepare Nashville students for college and career; to provide relevant, rigorous, and engaging coursework; and to help students explore various careers, learn critical 21st century skills and graduate from high school better prepared for college, career and life.

With degrees from Western Kentucky University and the University of North Florida, Steele has held positions as a music teacher, principal and director of career education.