#MNPSVoices: Wayne E. Simpson, Family Engagement Specialist
Whether it’s work force development, higher education or K-12, Wayne E. Simpson brings the same level of professionalism and purpose with him – a passion for helping students and families.
When the district established a Family Engagement Department to support families across all 12 clusters, Simpson decided to consider the opportunity. He was hired by the district to work in the Hunters Lane Cluster as a family engagement specialist, a position he held for three years before shifting to a school-level role at Bellshire Elementary School, where he currently serves.
“Family engagement is so important,” Simpson said. “Parents are partners with us in the education of their children.”
Prior to joining MNPS, Simpson spent six years working for the Tennessee Department of Labor. As part of the department’s Career Center team in Clarksville, he was responsible for hiring instructors to fill employment needs as well as designing programs such as Advanced Manufacturing at Fort Campbell and Kenwood High School. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to business service specialist, where he had jurisdiction over 13 counties in northern Tennessee. That path led him to Nashville State Community College where he spent two years in their Workforce Development department.
Since joining MNPS, Simpson has helped to establish several programs in the Northwest Quadrant comprised of the Hunters Lane, Pearl-Cohn and Whites Creek clusters. Among them included the widely popular Young Men of Valor program, which exposed eighth grade boys to male mentors from various occupational backgrounds and taught them the importance of “look-good, feel-good” providing more than 400 eighth grade boys with neck ties and lessons on how to properly tie them.
“We initially asked the community to donate 500 ties, and we received well over 1,000 ties,” said Simpson, a Murray State University graduate and licensed social worker.
At Bellshire, Simpson is working to duplicate similar success with the Young Men of Excellence program targeting fourth grade boys at the school. The program is focused on teaching students to be positive leaders in their school and helping them successfully transition into middle school by stressing academic achievement, how to handle peer pressure and giving back to the community. In March, he will host the group’s first major event, “Well-Dressed Wednesday,” in which presentations on proper manners and how to conduct themselves in school and in public will take place. There will also be a distribution of neck ties. Simpson said he is already seeing a positive change in the 10 students who signed-up for the program.
“I love working with children and families from diverse backgrounds and helping them be successful in achieving their goals through education,” Simpson said. “The work I’m doing in MNPS gives me the opportunity to serve and assist in the learning process.”
Along with his work as a family engagement specialist, Simpson also supports the district in other ways, including assisting on the planning team for the annual School Choice Festival and coordinating health and wellness initiatives. As a self-proclaimed ‘work-out enthusiast,’ rising at 4 a.m. each morning to exercise, he is supporting faculty and staff at Bellshire in their Biggest Loser campaign to promote better nutrition and increased physical activity. Additionally, Simpson served as a Big Brother mentor for six years, and is a Tennessee Promise mentor helping high school students at Pearl-Cohn and Hunters Lane transition into college and adult life. Simpson is also a graduate of the Maxine Smith Fellows Program and an inductee in the Alumnae Hall of Fame at Kenwood High School in Clarksville.
He credits his parents for his drive and commitment to helping others.
“My parents are my greatest inspiration,” Simpson said. “They taught me about hard work and faith – and not wasting your gifts. They have been wonderful examples in giving back to my community.”