MNPS Director of Schools Fondly Remembers Her High School Graduation; Celebrates 2019 Graduates

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The year was 1998.

It was a time in history where big events were happening all around the world.

For example, the nation witnessed one of its largest industrial mergers in history when Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler;

It was a year when New York Yankees’ David Wells pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins;

Just 21 years ago marked the series finale of Seinfeld, considered one of the most influential sitcoms of all-time;

And, of course, 1998 was the year that Metro Nashville Public Schools’ director, Dr. Adrienne Battle, graduated from John Overton High School.

As the first woman to ever serve as director of schools, Battle also holds the distinction of being the first director to be a homegrown product of the school district.

Always striving for excellence, during her time at Overton, she was involved in numerous activities including playing varsity volleyball, basketball and track and field all four years of high school. She was also part of the Child Care Club for four years and served as Student Government Association Vice President during her senior year. But her fondest senior year memory was being selected as Homecoming Queen.

“It is important to enjoy your high school experience, learn as much as you can and build lasting friendships,” Battle said.

Like many high school seniors, the anticipation of graduation day is filled with excitement and anxiety. Battle said it was no different for her.

“I was excited, but nervous because I was heading out-of-state for college,” she said. “I had so many hopes and dreams. I could not wait to pursue them.” And pursue them she did.

Her decision to attend college after high school was an easy one. As a student-athlete all four years of high school, she was offered several academic and athletic scholarships.

“I chose to attend Missouri State University on a track and field scholarship for my undergraduate studies,” Battle said. “After obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, I then decided to continue my education and attended Tennessee State University.”

At TSU, Battle furthered her educational pursuits earning a master’s and educational specialist degrees. She would eventually earn a Doctorate in Educational Leadership there, becoming the youngest female to do so.

“I was so very fortunate throughout my education experience to have excellent teachers, and I remember most of them,” she said. “There were definitely a few teachers who did stand out for many reasons.

“While all of my teachers seemed to care about my well-being and education, I had a few high school teachers who encouraged me to be me, and it was fine to not do what everybody else was doing that might not result in the outcomes I desired.”

With more than 4,400 students graduating from high schools across the district this year, Battle has attended as many ceremonies as she can. She said she is so proud to see students complete such an important milestone and shares parting words of advice with MNPS’ 2019 graduates inspired by Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who once said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Continue to dream and dream big.