ASD Exit

Anderson to exit as superintendent of Tennessee’s school turnaround district

PHOTO: TN.gov
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen (right) introduced Malika Anderson as the new superintendent of Tennessee's Achievement School District in late 2015. McQueen announced Anderson's departure from the job on Wednesday.

Malika Anderson, who has sought to steer Tennessee’s school turnaround district to stability, is stepping down as its second superintendent at the end of this month.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Anderson’s departure on Wednesday, while also reaffirming the state’s commitment to the Achievement School District, known as the ASD.

Kathleen Airhart, deputy commissioner and chief operations officer under the Tennessee Department of Education, will step in as interim superintendent, McQueen said in a press release.

The change comes just months after the state overhauled the ASD’s structure, cutting its staff in half and bringing in a new leadership team to work with Anderson. McQueen said the goal was to make the ASD more sustainable following the dissipation of funding under Tennessee’s federal Race to the Top award, which financed the bulk of the district’s early work.

Anderson became the ASD’s leader in January of 2016, but had been with the state-run district since its first takeovers of low-performing schools in Memphis in 2012. She took the reins from founding superintendent Chris Barbic, the hard-charging visionary behind the ASD’s model of recruiting charter management organizations to overhaul the state’s most struggling schools.

“This transition in no way disrupts our work,” McQueen said. “We are taking what we have learned about school improvement over the past five years and using that knowledge to maximize students’ success by putting in place a strong set of evidence-based options that will drive improvements in students’ performance.”

The search for a new superintendent starts immediately. According to the release, the state is seeking a leader who can build on the ASD’s work, but who also has a deep commitment to Memphis, home to the bulk of the ASD’s work. (Anderson lives in Nashville and has commuted to Memphis.)

Under Anderson’s tenure, the ASD has grown from 29 to 33 schools, but she also oversaw the district’s first school closures last year due to low enrollment.

While scores have been lackluster for most ASD schools (scores released last week for high schools were disappointing), even its critics acknowledge that the district has nudged Memphis school leaders out of complacency and created a sense of urgency to address longstanding deficiencies in neighborhood schools.

“As educators and committed supporters on the front lines can tell you, the work of improving Priority schools (in the state’s lowest 5 percent) is some of the most challenging and fulfilling work one can undertake in the field of education,” Anderson said in the state’s press release. “Although I will transition out of my role as superintendent of the ASD, I will forever champion our continuing work, love and high expectations for every child the ASD is blessed to serve.”

Anderson said later that she had made the decision to leave after the reorganization of the ASD was complete.

“I’ve done the hard work of preparing for that transition, and I’m ready to pass the baton to the next leader to take it forward,” she told Chalkbeat.

She plans to remain in Tennessee and move into consulting work.

With Anderson’s departure goes the last member of the team recruited by Barbic to develop a new model for school turnaround work.

“I’m not so sure what’s going to happen now,” said Bobby White, a former Memphis school principal who operates two state-run schools through his Frayser Community Schools.

“I’m confident the commissioner has a plan, and that we will all work to implement that plan, but I will say it saddens me that there’s no longer anyone that started this work with me,” said White, who was recruited to the ASD in 2011 by Barbic and Anderson.

Tom Beazley, leader of Promise Academy, which operates one ASD school, called Anderson an “enthusiastic, energetic and supportive superintendent.”

“[She] always worked for us to be successful and worked very hard to provide the resources and advocacy for us to do our job,” he said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Anderson and reaction from charter operators.

Laura Faith Kebede contributed to this report.

principal pipeline

Here are 26 assistant principals being groomed to lead Tennessee schools

PHOTO: TN.gov
Assistant principals engage with Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen as part of the Governor's Academy for School Leadership.

Twenty-six assistant principals will participate in a one-year fellowship program as part of Tennessee’s drive to cultivate school leaders for the future.

Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday announced educators chosen for his 2018 Governor’s Academy for School Leadership, as well as the 26 principals who will mentor them.

The initiative is in response to the growing body of research showing the significance of principals in developing effective teachers — and therefore improving student outcomes.

“You can walk into a school and tell right away if there is a great principal who is leading effectively,” Haslam said in his announcement. “Great principals attract and keep great teachers, and great teachers lead to student success.”

This will be the third class of the Governor’s Academy, which launched in 2016 as a partnership of the state, local school districts, and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development.

Fellows were nominated by their superintendents and selected by the partnership through an application and interview process.

Each fellow is paired with an experienced principal mentor, must attend monthly group training sessions and a week-long summer institute at Vanderbilt, and intern three days a month at his or her mentor’s school. Upon completion, they are expected to pursue placement as a school principal in their districts or regions. (At least 18 have been promoted so far.)

Chosen for the 2018 academy are:

Merissa Baldwin Aspire Hanley Elementary School Achievement School District
Jeni Irwin Anderson County High School Anderson County
Heather Byrd Eagleton Elementary School Blount County
Melissa Brock H Y Livesay Middle School Claiborne County
Milton Nettles Cumberland Elementary School Davidson County
Noelle Taylor West End Middle School Davidson County
Andrea Beaubien Dickson Elementary School Dickson County
Josh Rogers Dyersburg Intermediate School Dyersburg
Noelle Smith Greeneville High School Greeneville
Travis Miller Orchard Knob Middle School Hamilton County
Heather Harris Middleton Middle-High School Hardeman County
Jacob Bellissimo Jefferson Middle School Jefferson County
Beth Cohen Dobyns-Bennett High School Kingsport
Jamey Romeg Halls Elementary School Knox County
Sharonda Rose Lakeland Elementary School Lakeland
Vanessa Spoon Ripley Middle School Lauderdale County
Rachel Wasserman Loudon Elementary School Loudon County
Amanda Brabham Thelma Barker Elementary School Madison County
Chris Winningham Algood Middle School Putnam County
Larry Staggs Springfield High School Robertson County
Chris George Christiana Middle School Rutherford County
Clint Dowda Bluff City Elementary School Sullivan County
Stephen Walker Rucker Stewart Middle School Sumner County
Latoya Avery Drummonds Elementary School Tipton County
Jordan Hughes Boones Creek Elementary School Washington County
Joshua Johnston Mt. Juliet High School Wilson County

Here are this year’s principal mentors:

Monique Cincore Aspire East Academy Achievement School District
Andrea Russell Central office Anderson County
April Herron Middlesettlements Elementary School Blount County
Suzanne Anders Tazewell-New Tazewell Primary School Claiborne County
Renita Perkins Stratton Elementary School Davidson County
Kevin Armstrong Dupont-Hadley Middle School Davidson County
Malissa Johnson Charlotte Elementary School Dickson County
Cal Johnson Dyersburg Middle School Dyersburg
Pat Donaldson Central office Greeneville
Chrissy Easterly Ooltewah Middle School Hamilton County
Chris Cranford Toone Elementary School Hardeman County
Scott Walker Jefferson County High School Jefferson County
Holly Flora John Sevier Middle School Kingsport
Keith Cotrell Cedar Bluff Elementary School Knox County
Kasandra Berry Bon Lin Elementary School Lakeland
Susan Farris Central office Lauderdale County
Christie Amburn Fort Loudoun Middle School Loudon County
Melinda Harris Community Montessori School Madison County
Trey Upchurch Prescott South Middle School Putnam County
Katie Osborne Greenbrier High School Robertson County
Kim Stoecker Siegel Middle School Rutherford County
Robin McClellan Central office Sullivan County
Brian Smith Station Camp Middle School Sumner County
Brooke Shipley Brighton Elementary School Tipton County
Kelley Harrell Ridgeview Elementary School Washington County
Travis Mayfield Wilson Central High School Wilson County

 

Who Is In Charge

Indianapolis Public Schools board gives superintendent Ferebee raise, bonus

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy
Lewis Ferebee

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee is getting a $4,701 raise and a bonus of $28,000.

The board voted unanimously to approve both. The raise is a 2.24 percent salary increase. It is retroactive to July 1, 2017. Ferebee’s total pay this year, including the bonus, retirement contributions and a stipend for a car, will be $286,769. Even though the bonus was paid this year, it is based on his performance last school year.

The board approved a new contract Tuesday that includes a raise for teachers.

The bonus is 80 percent of the total — $35,000 — he could have received under his contract. It is based on goals agreed to by the superintendent and the board.

These are performance criteria used to determine the superintendent’s bonus are below: