DEVOS Tennessee’s second-largest teacher organization wants U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander to hear teachers’ reservations about Betsy DeVos before voting whether to confirm her as the nation’s education chief. Chalkbeat

SOUND OFF This fall’s surprise announcement that Gestalt Community Schools is leaving Tennessee’s school turnaround district doesn’t appear to be a bellwether for other charter networks operating in the Achievement School District. Chalkbeat

LEADERSHIP LESSONS Meet the principal behind one Memphis school’s Blue Ribbon success. Chalkbeat

CLOSE, CONSOLIDATE Shelby County Schools will request funding from Shelby County Commissioners to build two new schools, and started the process to close another two. Chalkbeat, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Daily News, WREG-TV

CHATTANOOGA SPLIT On the heels of Signal Mountain’s announcement of wanting to leave Hamilton County Schools last week, Red Bank also plans to explore the feasibility of getting into the schools business. Chattanooga Times Free Press

ESSA TALK Tennessee is proposing a plan that would give local school districts more control over issues such as improving poor-performing schools. Chalkbeat, The Associated PressThe Commercial Appeal

CLEARED The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance rules that four Metro school board candidates, as well as the Stand for Children Political Action Committee, did not violate campaign finance laws. WTVF-TV

EMPTY BUILDING Shelby County Schools has rejected a plan submitted by Rev. Kenneth Whalum to turn shuttered Vance Middle School into an “urban oasis” for the surrounding community. The Commercial Appeal

NEW ROUTES East Knoxville parents and residents plead with school officials not to bus their children out of the community during a public meeting to discuss rezoning in the wake of two new middle schools set to open. Knoxville News Sentinel

SEAT BELTS U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen introduces a bill that would create federal grants to allow schools to either purchase new buses with seat belts or retrofit existing buses. Knoxville News Sentinel

The Metro Council may ask that Metro Nashville Public Schools explore a new policy that would require seat belts in all future school buses. The Tennessean

LEADER OUT The superintendent for Clarksville-Montgomery County School announces he will be retiring at the end of the school year. ClarksvilleNow

SUPERINTENDENT PRAISE Rutherford County’s superintendent is one step closer to a contract renewal following a favorable evaluation from the county school board. The Daily News Journal

ON AIR A Maury County Public Schools leader is recognized by Nashville Public Television during the organization’s award ceremony for the 2016 American Graduate Champions. Columbia Daily Herald

VO-TECH A county commissioner voices concern that the Jackson-Madison County School System doesn’t have enough vocational technology program. The Jackson Sun

COLLEGE READINESS Editorial: In order to raise the number of Tennesseans who complete college, it’s necessary to raise the number of Tennessee high school graduates who are ready for the challenges that college presents. The Commercial Appeal