Metro Nashville Public Schools is moving its annual process for hiring new teachers sooner in the calendar year, aiming to contract 250 new teachers this March and April instead of waiting until the summer.
Director of Schools Jesse Register first announced plans for the accelerated teacher hiring process at last week’s “State of Metro Schools” address as part of the district’s plan, dubbed ASSET, to recruit and retain high-performing teachers. In a related proposal, Register has pitched increasing the starting salaries of teachers in next year’s budget.
Metro school officials outlined the revamped hiring timeline to school board members at Tuesday’s board meeting, billing the approach as a way to compete against other Middle Tennessee counties for top-tier teachers. The district hires between 400 and 500 new teachers annually, but has historically waited until June to do so.
“By then the neighboring counties had already been offering contracts for a couple of months, so we’re really pleased to be able to move it up earlier,” June Keel, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, said. “The pool will be larger for us to select from.”
The district has organized an invitation-only recruitment fair at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena on April 21 for teachers who the district has actively recruited.
By accelerating the hiring process, Keel acknowledged Metro might be moving to the period in which neighboring school districts have already been hiring. Nonetheless, board members applauded the move.
“Everybody knew it need to be done, but it’s hard to make that change,” board member Mark North said.
The school board took the following actions Tuesday night:
• The school board voted to certify charges against former McGavock High School teacher Donald Brian Wood, who in 2010 unleashed a profanity-laced tirade, while throwing tables and chairs in front of his students, after an apparent nervous breakdown. The episode went viral, creating a national stir on YouTube.
Wood has the right to appeal the charges before a state administrative judge. If he were not to appeal, the charges would lead to his official dismissal from MNPS. Wood has not taught in Metro during the 18 months since the incident.
• The school board agreed to hand the naming rights of McGavock High School’s Academy of Digital Design of Communication to Country Music Television. Under the three-year contract, CMT will pay $100,000 in in-kind contributions during year one, and $50,000 for each of the two following years.
CMT is the fifth corporation to purchase naming rights at Metro high schools, as part of The Academies of Nashville, a high school model that uses career themes to help guide classroom instruction. The approach relies on partnerships from outside companies.
• The school board approved removing the title “comprehensive” from Metro’s 12 zoned high schools. Officials said the 1970s-era label is no longer appropriate given the new focus on career academies and the variation in student populations at Metro’s high schools.