#MNPSVoices: Lindy Matthews, Magnet School Marketing Coordinator
Although Lindy Matthews is not new to Metro Nashville Public Schools, she is now part of a newly created team at the district — the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Grant (MSAP) staff. The 14- person group of grant-funded professionals is made up of curriculum specialists, site managers, and Matthews, who serves as school marketing coordinator. With a background in communications and a passion for education, Matthews says she has found what she believes to be a perfect fit.
“My role now is really the best of both worlds,” she said. “I get to do teacher and family engagement and use my communications skills to help the MSAP schools tell their stories. I’m just inspired every time I go into schools.”
Metro Schools was awarded the large and sought-after MSAP grant with the goal of creating diverse and equitable high-quality opportunities for students through thematic programs, specifically STEAM. Five schools are now provided supports to create hands-on, out-of-the-box experiences for students by connecting content areas. The grant is to be used over the next five years but Matthews focuses on how to make this grant sustainable— just because the grant ends does not mean the work does.
“I am passionate about this work’s sustainability, that means bringing community partners and other people around the table who care and may be able to support students after the grant is gone,” Matthews said. “Not just money-wise but donating their time, talents or ideas.”
The MSAP program focuses on five pillars. They are diversity, innovative curriculum and professional development, academic excellence, high-quality instructional systems and family and community partnerships.
“The pillars are the lens we look through when doing our work and how we shape the foundation of what we want all of our schools to become,” Matthews said.
This year, Matthews wants to continue helping these schools better tell their stories to the community. Everyday she sees endless creativity and personality in each school be enhanced through the MSAP grant. For example, at Glencliff Elementary School, students participate in a shark tank type project, where they identify a problem and come up with a way to solve the problem with an invention.
“It is cool to see how teachers are engaging with students with the subject matter they are interested in,” Matthews said. “Even though the kids are only in elementary school, they are being charged with a higher level of thinking—we are preparing students for innovative jobs that haven’t even been created yet.”
Next year, she hopes her own story will involve hiking Mt. Rainer or the Appalachian Trail in full health as she has been on crutches due to a running injury. For now, she is trying new restaurants around Nashville, hot yoga and picking veggies—her own kind of content crossover.