Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has put together a 17-member panel and charged members with finding Metro's next director of schools. The effort has the blessing of the school board, whose own search is currently in a holding pattern.
“While the board must ultimately make the hiring decision, for us to successfully hire the kind of leader we all want, we must put our collective best foot forward as a city and a community,” chair Sharon Gentry said in a statement.
The 9-member Metro school board is as divided as ever, primarily over issues related to independently-run charters. But general discord is a factor slowing down the district’s superintendent search.
The school board cut ties with the search firm that began the hunt for a new director of schools, expressing disappointment with the slate of candidates. The one who was ultimately offered the job and declined was Mike Looney of neighboring Williamson County.
Mayor Barry said her advisory panel may also hire a search firm to assist. But she figures the community involvement should be a strong signal to any candidate considering the job.
“I think what this will do is show we have a unified front from the school board, the mayor’s office, and key leaders in the community who will be able to act and go out and get that talent,” Mayor Barry said.
The panel includes CEOs, ministers and education officials. The teachers union is represented. So are charter schools. There’s also a principal and a parent. The chamber of commerce has a seat, as does Vanderbilt University and the NAACP.
School board members gave their support prior to knowing the makeup of the panel.
“I don't necessarily agree with everyone who's on that list, but I'm not going to let perfect be the enemy of the good," board member Will Pinkston said.
Members of the 12-week advisory panel, selected by Mayor Megan Barry:
- David Briley, Vice Mayor
- Sheila Calloway, Juvenile Court Judge
- Bill Carpenter, Chairman and CEO, LifePoint Health
- Rev. V. H. Sonnye Dixon, Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship
- Marc Hill, Chief Policy Officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
- Shannon Hunt, President and CEO, Nashville Public Education Foundation
- Erick Huth, President, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association
- Kristin McGraner, Founder and Executive Director, STEM Prep
- Janet Miller, CEO, Colliers International
- Rich Riebeling, Chief Operating Officer, Mayor Barry’s Office
- Mark Rowan, President, Griffin Technology
- Renata Soto, Executive Director, Conexión Américas
- Stephanie Spears, President, MNPS Parent Advisory Council
- Rev. Ed Thompson, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope
- Robbin Wall, Principal, McGavock High School
- Ludye N. Wallace, President, NAACP Nashville
- David Williams, Vice Chancellor, Vanderbilt University