Director of Schools Jesse Register today announced 10 upper-level staff appointments for Metro Nashville Public Schools.
The appointments are part of a new organizational plan — announced April 28  — for the school district that will shift more than 200 positions out of the central office and into individual schools.
The new appointees will assist in the identification of candidates for the next level of positions to be filled. Register's goal is to have appointments in all areas finalized by July 1.
Changes in the central office are based on the simple philosophy of creating high quality instruction, strong leadership and support within all schools, according to a release from the school district.
"We have important work to do," Register said. "I want to get the right people in place as soon as possible and move forward quickly to make the changes we must make to build a highly-effective system of instructional support at all levels."
• Gregory Patterson, associate superintendent for elementary schools since June 2008, remains in his current position;
• Sandra Tinnon, associate superintendent for middle schools since June 2008, remains in her current position;
• James Briggs, associate superintendent for high schools since June 2008, remains in his current position;
• Chris Henson, current associate superintendent for business and facility services, becomes the district’s chief financial officer;
• Linda DePriest, current executive director for special education, is the new assistant superintendent for instructional support. This is a new position created as part of Register's central office reorganization to oversee the areas of students with disabilities, federal programs, English language learners, and research and evaluation;
• June Keel, remains as the district's associate superintendent for human resources;
• Ralph Thompson, remains as associate superintendent for student services;
• Kecia Ray, currently the associate superintendent for federal programs, will become the executive director of federal programs, a change that is also a result of Register's reorganization of Central Office;
• Fred Carr, who joined the district in March 2009 as assistant to the superintendent, remains in his current position;
• Olivia Brown, current public information coordinator, is the interim director of communications.
In his announcement, Register noted that Patterson, Tinnon and Briggs have been in their posts for less than one year, and he believes they should have the opportunity to work under a new organizational structure that emphasizes central office support for schools and a different working relationship with principals in the district.
Through this new organizational structure, resources have been redistributed to the schools and principals will have more control in making decisions that are best for their schools.
In his appointment of Linda DePriest as assistant superintendent for instructional support, Register pointed to DePriest's experience in special education and the respect she has developed with those inside and outside the district.
"The assistant superintendent for instructional support is a crucial position for the way we are going to be doing business in Metro Schools," Register said. "I am confident that DePriest can build this position and ensure the departments under her supervision work closely with the three associate superintendents for instruction, as well as with school principals."
The position of Chief Operating Officer, also created as part of the district's central office reorganization, remains vacant. Register said he will continue taking applications until a candidate is identified. The COO will have oversight of the district's transportation, student assignment, food services, fixed asset inventory, information technology and workplace safety departments.