Board of Education Taking Bold Steps to Build a Better, More Professional and Collaborative Approach to Governance

On Friday, October 14, the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education completed its third intensive retreat within four months. Using dollars already allocated for its development and in keeping with the commitment to investing in human capital across the district, this retreat culminated in Board members’ renewed collective commitment to large-scale improvement of the district and itself.

There was unanimous agreement to move in a common direction:

  • to build a new and better Board;
  • to professionalize its operations, functions and governance; and
  • to streamline its committee structure.

At this retreat, Board members framed strategies for measuring and monitoring student achievement and the director’s success and also laid out concrete next steps for carrying out this work. Board President Anna Shepherd said, “We discussed how we can be more transparent with data to provide stakeholders with progress updates on student achievement and district operations.”

Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph and his senior leadership team attended the retreat as well and are capturing their own next steps. These include:

  • working with the Board to develop shared mission, vision and core value statements;
  • establishing key performance indicators and the right technical formats needed to easily report student and district data to different stakeholders; and
  • working closely with the Board to establish agendas and providing materials for Board meetings, work sessions and committees.

Dr. Joseph indicated his support of the Board and pleasure with its progress. “In the four months I’ve been working with this Board, I have seen its members increase their effective communication with me, my staff and with each other to zero in on the important work of improving teaching, learning and organizational culture.”

Likewise, Board Chair Anna Shepherd reiterated on behalf of all nine Board members their support of Dr. Joseph, his team and the work they are doing as the district’s leaders: “We may not have always made headlines in the past for agreeing on things, but that changed the day we voted unanimously to hire Dr. Joseph. Since he arrived, we have worked as one team to improve this district. We as Board members are indebted to Dr. Joseph for his vision and his commitment to a unified board and a common vision for our schools.”

In the coming weeks, the Board, the Director and his senior district leadership team will establish implementation plans and timelines for creating effective and transparent methods for evaluating, monitoring and sharing progress on student achievement, operational effectiveness, board governance and the director’s success.

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