Nashville’s district, charter school leaders meet, seek common ground to improve public education

The Public School Collaborative will meet monthly

Metro Nashville Public Schools

Leaders in Metro Nashville Public Schools district and charter schools held their first monthly meeting July 30 in an effort to sharpen coordination of communication and reform efforts. Tennessee Charter School Center

The working group, known as the Public School Collaborative, convened after Director of Schools Jesse Register spoke to the Metro Council Education Committee and called for increased cooperation between the district and its charter schools to support improvements in public education.

“We’re off to a solid start,” said Register. “We had a very good two-hour conversation and I expect every month to be another good opportunity to have an open discussion.”

The group is co-chaired by Register and Justin Testerman, chief operating officer of the Tennessee Charter School Center. Register and Testerman began the meeting by sharing their joint vision for the collaborative. Both made it clear that addressing controversial issues honestly with real solutions in mind will be the group’s top priority.

“I am excited about the potential this group has to not only get substantive things done, but also to guide the future of how we work together to raise the achievement levels for all kids in Nashville,” said Chris Reynolds, executive director of LEAD Public Schools, which operates five charter schools in the city.

A substantial amount of the meeting was devoted to organizing the monthly meetings, including goals, issues and a working structure. Participants noted the wealth of common personal and professional connections that surfaced throughout the conversation and committed to learning more about best practices happening in each other’s schools.

“We are encouraged by our first meeting,” said Alan Coverstone, executive officer of innovation for Metro Schools. “We already identified a few recurring issues and we are confident we can address those directly and resolve them.”

Public School Collaborative participants:

  • Fred Carr, Chief Operating Officer, Metro Schools
  • Alan Coverstone, Exective Officer for Innovation, Metro Schools
  • Todd Dickson, Executive Director, Valor Collegiate Academies
  • Randy Dowell, Executive Director, KIPP Academy Nashville
  • Art Fuller, Executive Director, Knowledge Academies
  • Chris Henson, Chief Financial Officer, Metro Schools
  • Jim Leckrone, Executive Director, East End Prep
  • Linda Lentz, Managing Director, RePublic Schools
  • Kristin McGraner, Executive Director, STEM Prep Academy
  • Lagra Newman, Executive Director, Purpose Prep Academy
  • Jesse Register, Director of Schools, Metro Schools
  • Chris Reynolds, Executive Director, LEAD Public Schools
  • Terry Shrader, Executive Principal, Hillsboro High School
  • Jay Steele, Chief Academic Officer, Metro Schools
  • Sonia Stewart, Executive Principal, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School
  • Justin Testerman, Chief Operating Officer, Tennessee Charter School Center
  • Antoinette Williams, Executive Director of Middle Schools, Metro Schools
  • Patti Yon, Executive Principal, Dan Mills Elementary School