The Metro Nashville Board of Education reappointed Gracie Porter as board chair and Mark North as vice chair at its meeting Tuesday night.
Both votes were unanimous. Porter, who represents parts of East Nashville, has served as board chair since 2010 after she replaced former chair David Fox, who opted against re-election for his Green Hills-area seat during last year’s election cycle.
The bulk of Tuesday’s meeting was devoted to separate presentations on two areas Director of Schools Jesse Register is hoping to highlight as part of the district’s turnaround efforts.
Representatives of United Kingdom-based Tribal Group, which the board recently awarded a five-year, $6.3 million contract, told board members about the organization’s ongoing efforts at Metro’s 33 federally deemed failing schools. Guided by the maxim of accentuating what schools are already doing right, MNPS marks the organization’s first major project in the United States.
In particular, the consulting group is slated to play a leading role in helping design the district’s “Office of Innovation,” a new cluster comprised of 10 low-performing schools that could face potential state intervention.
The City Paper was the first to explore Tribal’s role in Metro schools in a July story that can be viewed here.
Board members Tuesday also heard a presentation from Jay Steele, associate superintendent of high schools, about Metro’s high school redesign centered on the “Academies of Nashville,” which seeks to bring real-life, career-based projects to the classroom. The approach relies heavily on business partnerships inside schools and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
There seems to be a calculated attempt to reintroduce the academy concept to Nashvillians after the model drew heavy criticism last fall amid the transfer of Hillsboro High School teacher Mary Catherine Bradshaw to Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School.
Accordingly, Metro and chamber officials have invited various public officials and community leaders to tour “academies” inside certain schools. See story here.
Joining Steele during his presentation was Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Jeff Yarbro, perhaps best known for his narrow loss to unseat state Rep. Douglas Henry in the Democratic primary election last year.
Yarbro, a proponent of the academy concept, chairs Register’s so-called “transformational leadership group” focused on the high school student achievement.