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New executive leadership will take Metro Schools into the future

Three experienced leaders take over as chiefs of all elementary, middle and high schools

In a move that helps solidify a unified K-12 vision at the top levels in Metro Schools, the district is proud to announce three new executive officers:

  • Dr. Vanessa Garcia - Executive Officer for Elementary Schools
  • Dr. Antoinette Williams – Executive Officer for Middle Schools
  • Dr. Michelle Wilcox – Executive Officer for High Schools

“All three executive officers are strategists,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele. “They will work together as a team, just as our teachers do, to ensure everything we do supports students and is aligned for seamless K-12 instruction.”

These leaders are all student-focused, with proven track records in Metro Schools and elsewhere. They will improve student outcomes and advance district success by accelerating the momentum generated by the practices and strategies implemented under the leadership of Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register.

Former Executive Director for Elementary Schools Brenda Steele will move from administration back into direct school leadership as the new principal of Old Center Elementary School. There she will provide effective, steady leadership to a school community experiencing a deep loss. Dr. Betsy Potts, formerly principal at Old Center, passed away last week.


About the Executive Officers

Dr. Vanessa Garcia – Executive Officer for Elementary Schools Dr. Garcia has taught in Nashville and Williamson County, as well as at Trevecca and Lipscomb Universities, for 15 years. That includes time working with English Learner students and as a principal and administrator. She joined Metro Schools leadership last summer as an executive lead principal, where she proved her mettle as a district leader who can effectively manage large networks of schools and guide instructional leadership. Dr. Garcia is well prepared to take Metro elementary schools into the future, as she helped oversee implementation of Education 2018: Excellence for Every Student, the district’s five-year strategic plan. As a native Spanish speaker and the child of immigrants, she is particularly well suited for a future that promises to bring more and more young English learners into Metro Schools.

Dr. Garcia earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University, a master’s degree in educational leadership and a doctorate in educational leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. Antoinette Williams – Executive Officer for Middle Schools Dr. Williams has most recently been the executive principal of Gra-Mar Middle Prep. Before Gra-Mar, she also led Neely’s Bend Middle and Ewing Park Middle. In her three years at Gra-Mar, Dr. Williams has proven she can use innovative practices to make dramatic change and improvement. She has helped lead a turn-around and culture change at Gra-Mar through strategies like extended learning time, fifth grade transition camps and literacy interventions. She was named Middle School Principal of the Year in 2014.

Dr. Williams started her career as a journalist, but felt a calling to education where she felt she could help children live and prosper in their communities. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin in communications, a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Freed Hardeman University, and education specialist degree and doctorate in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University.

Dr. Michelle Wilcox – Executive Officer for High Schools Dr. Wilcox has 31 years’ experience in education, serving in a leadership role for 17 years. She has served at the middle and high school levels, and as a Dean of Business and Computer Technology at a community college. After leading similar efforts at two other school districts, Dr. Wilcox helped lead the Academies of Nashville and the effort to integrate more advanced academics into Metro High Schools through dual enrollment and dual credit. Until now, she has served as an executive lead principal, directly supervising middle and high school principals. By serving both school tiers, Dr. Wilcox was able to more closely align middle and high schools to ensure a successful transition for students.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership, all from the University of North Florida.