#MNPSVoices: Charlene Comer, Program Assistant
Charlene Comer, with the Department of Exceptional Education, was recently recognized for her 30 years of service with Metro Nashville Public Schools. She came to the district in 1987 as a part-time secretary and has been dedicated to serving families and children with special needs.
After a brief layoff in 1990, she used those six months to care for family before returning to work back to the Department of Exceptional Education.
“The layoff was a blessing because I was able to be a caregiver to my aunt, who had been diagnosed with cancer,” she said. “My husband and I took her to her chemotherapy appointments. It really worked out because I was able to keep my new grandson, too.”
Her passion for helping special needs students started with her nephew, John, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He is now 60 years old.
“He thrived, and defied the odds despite a school system that offered little to no services at that point in time,” Comer said. “He has been my inspiration.
“Through the years I have seen a lot of good changes that have positively impacted families, including more services in local schools of zone,” she said. “We have an Autism team and CBT programs that work to help develop social skills and gain job experience. MNPS serves approximately 10,000 children through the Department of Exceptional Education.”
Comer contributes her longevity with MNPS to great leaders. “I have worked for six directors and several coordinators. I can’t emphasize enough how blessed I am to work with the people I have worked with these last 30 years.”