One of the most frequently asked questions as of late is, “When is the school board going to evaluate the director of schools?” I now finally have an answer. This week, the board completed their assignment, and the results are in.

Upon hearing that all evaluations were completed, I filed an open records request. Here are the evaluations for your evaluation.

Director’s evaluation – Individual Board Members

Directors Evaluation – Composite

I reviewed these evaluations yesterday and weighed my opinion. In the end, I decided that my opinion was no more important than anyone else’s, therefore I would just share the evaluations with minimal commentary in order to allow you to form your own opinions unencumbered. Hopefully, some of you will choose to share your observations with me.

That said, there are a few things that I would be remiss if I didn’t point out.

Many of you have already read board member Jill Speering’s evaluation, as she’s posted it on her Facebook page. To say that Ms. Speering is critical would be an understatement. To say that she lacks supporting evidence to support that position would also be an understatement.

At a time when leaders repeatedly refuse to lead, Speering should be applauded for her courage and her diligence. It is never easy to be the one who speaks out and calls attention to problems. It’s even harder to dedicate the personal time and resources to do the work and document why you are being critical. Speering does both.

Agree or disagree with Speering’s position, you can’t refute that she has done her homework and presented her arguments in a clear, concise manner. As a reward for her efforts, others have attempted to ostracize her, marginalize her, and outright dismiss her. Through it all, Speering has kept her feet on the path and continued to move forward.

I always find it ironic that we loudly proclaim that we want children to be “critical thinkers,” yet we castigate adults who actually display those traits. Doing the research, evaluating the research, forming an opinion based upon conducted research, and then defending that opinion is not always a pleasant task. In fact, as the kids say, often it sucks. Many leaders try to stick their toe in the water and then succumb to the pressure and back out of the pool. It’s nice to see one walk the talk.

Secondly, there seems to be an entrenched narrative that when Dr. Joseph took over, MNPS was in a state of utter disrepair. Much like Trump declaring that he had to save America, there is an attempt to paint Dr. Joseph as a savior striding into the wasteland to save the natives from themselves. That story is not rooted in reality, and is perpetrated by those who are attempting to drive an agenda or are ignorant of history.

In 2009, when Dr. Register arrived in MNPS, the district was under corrective action and on the cusp of being taken over by the state. Register’s arrival coincided with a time where the district had failed to meet state achievement goals 5 years running and a 6th failure could lead to the school board being disbanded and the state completely taking over the district. In short, the “old white dude” from Chattanooga had his work cut out for him.

In contrast, Joseph arrived at a time when the district was no longer in corrective action. The Academies had been established at our high schools and were receiving national recognition. MNPS’s EL department had begun consistently meeting state established goals. Enrollment in MNPS was growing and schools had begun making academic gains. Board member Will Pinkston himself even recognized that Register had made some positive gains:

“If you’re flying an airplane and you start spinning out of control, the first thing that they teach you is to get the wings level so you can keep flying,” says Will Pinkston, a school board member. “No one argues that Register got the wings level, and that’s a monumental feat.”

Now that doesn’t mean that the world was perfectly rosy under Register. There were definite improvements needed, and upon arrival, Joseph has faced some daunting challenges. Interestingly enough, upon arrival Joseph listed one of those challenges as follows: “When I walked in, I saw 22 principal vacancies; I think we had 10 or 15 central office vacancies.”

This year has seen 27 principal vacancies filled and at least 15 central office positions filled. It should be noted that most of those vacancies upon Joseph’s arrival were due to the board chair ordering a pause in hiring, in order that the new director could choose some of his own candidates. District leaders were on a pace at the time to have all positions filled by Memorial Day.

Three years after his departure, I’m not sure how relevant it is to continue to make comparisons with Dr. Register. Continually bashing Register is like blasting a man who just emerged from a hole for not building a house. Sometimes you need an excavator and sometimes you need a contractor. Both are difficult jobs and both have their unique challenges.

I encourage you to read the director evaluations and form your own opinions. Keep in mind after reading them that this year, the even-numbered seats on the school board are up for election. Early voting starts this Friday and election day is August 2nd. There is no better way to voice your evaluation than through the voting process.


On Friday, I told you about the SEL training that was canceled due to a lack of funding. A move that many found troubling, as it’s hard to grasp why the district would have financial shortfalls one week into the new fiscal year.

In a true Marie Antoinette moment, district leaders headed off this week to Harvard to discuss the very subject that Nashville teachers were poised to receive training on. Reportedly at a cost of $30K for a team of 8 to participate in a week of training. Our team of 8 consisted of Dr. Joseph, Tony Majors, Shree Walker, Robin Wall (McGavock), Watrecia Lawless (Napier), Pippa Merriwether, Judge Calloway, and Melissa Jaggers (Alignment Nashville). It should be noted that Calloway and Jaggers paid their own airfare.

Sometimes in writing this blog, I’m put in a position where I have to criticize people I truly respect. This is one of those cases.

SEL implementation falls under the Department of Student Services, which is headed up by Tony Majors. It’s bad enough for district leadership to participate in this trip after failing teachers, but it is particularly galling for Majors to be a participant. SEL training should be a priority and as such, to not recognize that training for MNPS teachers was not adequately funded in a timely manner is a major fail on many different levels. One that shouldn’t earn a trip to Harvard. Think about the difference in perception if Majors had owned the failing and recused himself from the trip as a result. That’s called modeling and it’s a form of instruction that is continually lacking from a district that continually touts the importance of SEL while not backing up those words through its actions.

The funding of teacher training stipends was an issue that arose last year and therefore should have been on people’s radars; that it wasn’t is inexcusable. I write this down as another example of the price we are paying for having a culture where leadership is not held accountable, and personal gain is placed as a priority. It is hard to get children to buy in to SEL principles when adults refuse to adopt them themselves. I continue to be a big fan of Majors and I’m sure I’ve irritated him with this assessment. But the truth is, on this one he struck out, and one never wants to get a reputation of giving a pass to those you favor.

Putting out a statement that training was canceled due to budget constraints is going to have implications throughout the year. Whenever a resource is not made available for any initiative, the perception will be that it is because the district is broke. During my years in the restaurant business, it was always drilled into me to never let people think you are financially struggling or else they will go somewhere different. I can’t help but think the same holds true with a school district. Let’s cross our fingers that this doesn’t hold true.


I have been meaning to mention this one for a while. It appears that buses for field trips are going up in cost this year – from $120 to $175 for three hours (overtime cost is also going up per hour). This will impact equity. Economically disadvantaged kids need the rich experiences of field trips they may not otherwise have, yet they’ll have to stretch the most to absorb the additional cost. Title I schools can almost always find reduced admission or grants to cover admission cost for field trips, but the buses (and paying for them) are kind of a separate piece, harder to get donations to cover. I hate to think about all the teams now having to decide what field trips to cut from their kids because of this hike. (Teachers will probably just dig deeper into their own pockets to make up the difference.)

The increase is without a doubt reasonable, as rates have probably been static for at least a decade, but I wish that we would put more thought into the impact on ED kids when making these moves. Once again, we talk about equity while our actions say otherwise.

Speaking of experiences, long time readers know how important I think recess and play is. And when I say recess, I mean unstructured play. I’ve posted in the past how recess increases learning and decreases discipline issues. Despite mounds of evidence touting its benefits, play has to continually fight for space in the school day. Peter Greene writes an excellent piece on why we have to fight even harder to preserve its importance. As he states, “There’s a certain kind of adult in the world, a kind of adult who looks at a bunch of children running around a yard laughing and playing and thinks, ‘Man, somebody needs to get those kids organized.'” Don’t be that adult.

Man, the rumors about the motivation for the departure of recent Maryland transfers are swirling like sands through the hourglass.

At today’s principal meeting, number 2 guy Sito Narcisse purportedly announced that the budget freeze for schools has been lifted. Though he won’t be putting that in an email. Plausible deniability?

Lisa Coons has become the new EDSSI in charge of priority schools. Coons has been doing a lot of the work already so this should be a seamless transfer, and actually an upgrade at the position.

Congratulations are in order! Dr. Braina Corke, assistant director of Metro Schools’ Nutrition Services, was recently awarded the President’s Award of Achievement at the National School Nutrition Conference. Dr. Corke currently serves as the president of Tennessee’s School Nutrition Association.

Have y’all seen this? Pretty cool, huh? Thank you again to MNEA for your endorsement.


Let’s take a quick look at last week’s poll results.

The first question asked for your opinion on growth mindset theory. This one received quite a few comments emailed to me. Those comments fell on both sides of the discussion. Everybody does agree, though, that it is important to try to be as positive as possible.

I did receive some comments about the value of students who work hard versus those with a general aptitude who refuse to work hard. It’s always been my experience that if you have an inbred disposition towards something, you will naturally work harder at it. Those who practice guitar the most diligently tend to be those who have some innate talent. That makes it hard to separate where innate talent ends and hard work begins.

Furthermore, when we say kids aren’t working hard at something or applying themselves, often that relates to what adults want them to work hard on or apply themselves to as opposed to actually depicting their work effort. At some point I’ll try to explore how much of measuring learning is really about measuring compliance. That should heat things up.

The number one answer to the first question, 36%, was ‘I take some, I leave some.” The answer “A bunch of bunk” came in second with 29% of the vote. Here are the write-in votes:

Not surprised something new is on the horizon without research to back it. 1
Sounds bogus, but somebody is going to make a bundle of money off of this. 1
It’s good to try your best and then try again but no student is ever the same 1
It does help show that there is room for growth. It encourages effort. What’s wr 1
I’m on board with it for the purposes MNPS is using it for. Not for extreme case 1
Dweck’s work was never meant as an intervention 1
agree with your take on it 1
Another case of academics who haven’t been in a school for a minute 1
A fad that isn’t even implemented well…

Question two asked which of Dr. Joseph’s recently departed hires you’ll miss the most. This one was won by the write-ins with 47 responses. Number two was “my favorite is still in the wings” with 36 votes. Mo Carrasco came in third with 8. Here are those write-ins, though I must admit that I’m confused by the inclusion of Hank Clay:

None of the above 5
None 4
None. 1
Who are these people? 1
Joseph is still here… 1
None of them! I hope the rest leave SOON!! 1
All were awful 1
Good riddance to bad rubbish 1
I’m supposed to miss them? 1
won’t miss any of them and wish more would leave 1
Maybe they should all go? 1
You are using sarcasm, right? 1
I won’t miss any of them. 1
LOL please leave Sito 1
I’ll be happy when we see tail lights of the entire entourage. 1
None.. will be glad when he, Felder, & Narcisse leave 1
LOL fire them all 1
I wish more would go 1
Good riddance 1
None of these. 1
Sito needs to leave! He does nothing! 1
Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. 1
None! Can more leave? 1
These folks sit in the ivory tower. I never interact with them in my school. 1
How long until Michelle Michaud is gone? 1
Can Sito please leave already…. 1
Who are these people? Temps? 1
Nobody! None of them helped me or the kids I teach, but they made some money. 1
Peace out to them all. 1
Won’t miss any of these 1
How can we miss them when they didn’t do anything? 1
None of them 1
The ones yet to hit the exit door 1
none of the above? 1
None of them! He should go too! 1
Waiting for Joseph’s departure. What a mess. 1
At the end of the day, what did they contribute? 1
Hank clay

The last question asked for who you thought was going to win the school board race for District 6. I must admit that I’m surprised that Tyese Hunter comes out on top with 42% of the vote. Knowing the number of readers I have in the Antioch area, I would give some weight to those numbers. Fran Bush comes in number 2, trailed by Aaron McGee. What I suspect is happening is that McGee and Bush are splitting the vote and allowing Hunter to potentially win re-election. There is a candidate forum scheduled or this Saturday.

Here are the write-ins:

Someone who will speak TRUTH on Dr. J 1
Anyone but Hunter please!!! 1
Who I want to win and who I think will aren’t the same. 1
Does Joseph have a favorite 1
Go Earl! 1
I will attend the forum with an open mind 1
Still deciding 1
Hopefully not Tyese 1
Don’t know 1
hopefully someone other than Hunter

And that’s a wrap. Hope y’all have an awesome week. If you need to contact me, you can do so at Feedback is always welcome and I will try to promote as many of the events that you send me as possible, but I do apologize in advance if I fall short and don’t get them all out there.

I have started using Patreon as a funding source. If you think what I do has monetary value, you can go there and make a donation/pledge.Just because Andy Spears is also on Patreon doesn’t mean you can’t support us both. Trust me, I know I ain’t going to get rich, but at the end of the day I’m just a Dad trying to get by. Check out the Dad Gone Wild Facebook page as well. And if you are so inclined, check out my new campaign web page and sign up to help if you can. Early voting starts in just a couple of weeks.

Categories: Uncategorized

11 replies

  1. glad to see that some of the board members spend a WHOLE half hour on it. don’t try too hard, folks.

    • I see the variety of length of responses, but very very few seem utterly derelict of duty. I’m gonna push back and say that there was thoughtful response in most places, requiring real investment of time. Not all was well targeted but really most of it was. I wish we could have gotten an executive summary of the highest discrepancy items between board average and director self score (DGW?). Like how did the director not rate himself a 2 on even a single subcategory, when many of the board average scores are 2.7 or lower? His overall scores are probably like 3 from the board and 3.5 for himself. I’d want to know where the gaps are on that.

      The teacher training stipend thing is galling by the way because the stipends has been planned to go up to a higher amount (I thot it was going to 100 or 115?) the summer before SJos and even though pd was supposedly big for him, they pushed the summer amount back down to 85 per day. And now some depts (SEL) don’t even get it?! What a commitment to pd. And then for middle school folks to get canned pd last year from DiscoEd and then have it cancelled for this coming year? I’m really disappointed with this so called focus area. Check the scores on that part of the eval while you are at it.

  2. The results of the evaluation were highly predictable and mirrored closely the conversations during the board meetings.

    In my opinion, Will Pinkston should have recused himself. He hasn’t attended board meetings in so long that the public has forgotten what he looks like. It is obvious that Pinkston is oblivious as to what is happening in MNPS right now. He is too busy with a political campaign to do the job he made a commitment to do. I hope TC can verify how many meetings he has missed. He has failed the children in his district by not doing his job.Just step down Will, because we know if your candidate wins that you are leaving anyway. It would have been better for you to have not evaluated, than to give scores based on the first small amount of time that you actually did your job.

    Anna Shepherd has been a huge disappointment. She is out of touch with what is actually going on, except at the high school in her district which she seems to be in close contact with that principal. This is not so true with the other schools in her district. After becoming chair, she lost her nerve to speak out. It’s as if she thinks she now works for Joseph instead of the fact that she is his boss. One wonders if the controversial contracts that she signed off on without board approval have her feeling boxed in. She was gullible enough to approve the contracts without considering the budget or the implications of the spending. MNPS spent $8.6 million dollars on consultants, some where expenses were split so to avoid complying with board policy. She seems to have no concept of what is actually happening in our district, especially behind the scenes. Mrs. Shepherd (like several board members) has never spent an entire day in a classroom, does not reach out to her teachers and parents, and seems to be waiting for Councilman Glover’s seat to open up in 2019 so she can run for that. She has become Joseph’s friend instead of the representative of the people. How can she not see the corruption and the manipulation of board members? At public appearances she glosses over the highlights instead of addressing the real issues. She reads from Joseph’s script. It is obvious from the comments that she included, that she lacks knowledge to justify her scores. I suspect her scores come from how she feels about Joseph and he strokes her every chance he gets. The people in her district missed out on the opportunity to replace her. Write-in ballots might at least send her a message.

    Tyese Hunter has done Joseph’s bidding behind the scenes with the budget. Her conduct at board meetings to attack those who would question the board’s only employee shows favoritism. Her scores also reflect a lack of knowledge with what goes on behind the scenes, or perhaps to ignore them. Her comments also display scores based on feelings and not on substance. There is a rubric for a reason. She could also use a grammar and spell check in her comment section.(Even though their is a lack of hard data via a survey, the v verbal feedback) Her lack of knowledge and expertise shows again with her comment about Joseph’s Abridger work. What? (The abridger, Velleius Paterculus, who is the only Roman historian who pays any attention to literary history, boasts that the latter might rank honourably with the best Greek tragedians.) This board member was in charge of the budget. Makes us wonder what her math looks like.

    Board members should have to include numerous examples of why the scores were given. Hunter failed to do so. In fact, some of her points mirror Joseph’s so much it makes this reader wonder what she would have written if Joseph’s hadn’t come out first. She wanted this board seat to push the charter schools. Once Joseph arrived, her agenda changed. She now would follow him off the edge of a cliff. If the budget gets much worse, that’s exactly where they will be. Her seat is up for re-election. Voters in her district should carefully look at the choices and who financially supports them. Surely there is someone who could do better that had some real knowledge and would work for all children without browbeating their fellow board members.

    For someone who is young with a doctorate degree, Sharon Dixon Gentry is a huge disappointment explaining her scores. There is absolutely no research-based justification of anything that she wrote within her comments. All fluff to prop up the director. She is another board member out of touch with the entire district and the perception of the citizens of her only employee. One of her comments lets this reader know that she sees only out of the lenses in her world. Perhaps she doesn’t see it, but the following comment that she included clearly shows that she is implicitly biased. “Dr. Joseph’s demeanor and ability to remain respectful in his engagements and communication is remarkable. His willingness to reach out to everyone (board, community, government) to garner the support needed to move the district forward is the model for what one would look for in a director.”

    Has she been watching the same board meetings as the rest of us? Implicit bias runs both ways. Acceptable behavior exhibited toward others that you disagree with might look different in the way Ms. Gentry was raised than it does for other board members, but the way that Dr. Joseph uses race and intimidation toward others that have differing opinions and expectations is in NO WAY professional in any work place. Working as a Senior Consultant for the Arbinger Institute, one would think she would react differently.

    Gentry’s statement about accountability shows us that she is OK with Joseph not being accountable, only those under him. “Dr. Joseph has got to force greater ownership and accountability among his leadership!!!” How can those under his leadership be expected to be accountable if Joseph is not willing to be accountable? It starts with board members requiring the director to be accountable. The director should lead the way following board policy with no exceptions. How can those who work for him be expected to follow policy, if the leader won’t? It might be nice if board members were accountable to the children first. We thought that’s why each of you wanted this job.

    Former principal Jo Ann Brannon was great for her time, but does not seem to understand the challenges of today’s educational world. That is obvious with her comments during school board meetings. Her comments regarding her scores are shallow and reflect a lack of deep knowledge in the system. Her last deed appears to be to protect the first African-American director at all costs. One wonders if a former student from her class led in such a divisive way using such harsh comments towards others in order to avoid the truth, if Mrs. Brannon would support that student. I suspect she taught her students to be better citizens of the world than that. Thanks for your service all the years before Mrs. Brannon. Your city is grateful. One more person could use a little more teaching before you leave.

    If Christiane Buggs were still a teacher, her lack of evidence supporting her statements on this evaluation might have her principal sending her back to try again or face a score below a three. Come on Ms. Buggs. Teachers and parents out there were counting on you as a young teacher supposedly up- to- date with today’s educational issues to do a lot better with justification for your scores. When was the last time you actually talked with your former peers as to what is going on and how they feel about the performance of the district and how it supports the children and teachers? We know you want Joseph to succeed. We all do. But those working with children are beginning to understand that board members either just don’t know or just don’t care. The future of the children is too important not to search for ways to improve, even if that means speaking up with different ideas to someone who parts of the community desperately adore and protect. I am not sure how any board member thinks that everything is going well when several board members, who have a history for standing up for the most challenging children, still strongly disagree with how this district is being led. Always put children first and you can never lose.

    Mary Pierce must love Dr. Joseph because his digressing district is driving more students toward charter schools. She would support Joseph with any poor decision if it meant retaliation toward Speering and Frogge. She still holds a grudge because they fought back against her beloved private, highly selective charter schools. Pierce goes home each night to a fabulous home in a safe neighborhood with an abundance of food in her pantry. She has no clue what it is like for many of the children and families in our district. Half a classroom of families could live in her home. She doesn’t understand or seem to care that the middle class families have to pay twice for public education- once with taxes and again with fundraisers after the director stripped much of their funding. She doesn’t understand that poor families don’t have a voice and how elaborate spending on consultants, drivers for the director, and a six million dollar phone bill takes away potential cost of living increases that would allow their teachers to stay and teach in the city. She doesn’t understand that Reading Recovery might have made the difference for students so they could learn to read, so that they could read to learn. After third grade the state will plan to build a prison cell for their future if they cannot read. She has no clue that many teachers live paycheck to paycheck while continuing to fund their classrooms when the district refuses cost of living increases and money for supplies.

    Pierce’s comments proved she at least glanced at the data, even though she does not fully understand it enough to make an informed decision about the director’s progress. It doesn’t really matter. He only has to keep the charades up for a year or so more. By then MNPS will have paid for so much more training to pad his resume that he will either seek out another district or line his pockets with money as a consultant with his buddies.

    If Jill Speering was a different gender or a different race making the same statements at board meetings, how would her feedback be perceived by Joseph and the community? Is Joseph threatened by her because she is a woman, a white woman, or an experienced educated white woman with an expertise in her field, a passion for all children, and a sense of accountability to the city’s taxpayers for over $850 million dollars of hard earned citizen dollars? Speering is not afraid to ask tough questions and tell it like it is. Why does that threaten people when that’s the reason she was elected?

    As a teacher, I am sure Speering would not have given up on a student, but she would expect you to do your best even if that meant making sacrifices and the work was hard. As a city, we expect our taxpayers, our teachers, even our students to be that way. Why would we want the director to be any different? The people elected Speering because of her knowledge, passion ,and work ethic on behalf of children. She is doing her job.

    Reading Speering’s justification lets the city know that she is on the job. She is experienced enough to know when she spots inconsistencies, even some that might appear as a shell game. Renaming positions to take credit for the ideas of others is like plagiarism. Disregarding board policies with purchasing or contracts for consultants is more than disrespect, it’s more like theft. I think we lost a mayor like that. Fudging numbers so that an illusion of success is created is disingenuous and reminds us of bad used car dealers. Calling board members out in order to embarrass them or create racial divide, whether on the board floor, in principals’ meeting, or in the public is childish and displays not only a lack of leadership but more implicit bias. We won’t even get into the poor fiscal management that could be this district’s undoing. She is smart and has integrity and calls it as she sees it.

    I am sorry that Mrs. Speering is being criticized by other board members and in some parts of the city. In other parts of the city and with teachers, she is a hero. It is what it is. Jill Speering is not afraid to use research-based data to back up her points. Her evaluation does just that. She cares enough to take the time to comb through every piece of evidence to back up her scores. The teacher in her doesn’t just put a score on the test. She takes hours to share the feedback needed so that the scores have meaning and pinpoint areas to improve and grow. Growing up we all had teachers like Speering, and we had teachers that just marked the test. We had others that made everything easy and didn’t challenge us. As we look back as adults we ask ourselves, which teacher did we grow from the most?

    Speering cares for all students, families, and communities of Nashville? She is honest and tells it like it is. She is not willing to lower standards and insists that we always do what is best for kids. Speering has supported Joseph from the beginning, now she is trying to provide support by being very honest with him and it hurts. We have to remember that she is one of Joseph’s bosses. One that must insist that he work hard for all children, use tax money wisely, and leave the district and the future of our children better than he found it. I appreciate the time and passion that she put into her evaluation.

    Let’s hope that all board members read the other evaluations with an open mind and an open heart, and have the courage to face their own biases to help this leader grow. Over 80,000 young people and the future of our city are counting on it.

    • Good analysis, and mostly agree. While Pinkston should have stepped down this year, and should do so now, I think his comments reflected reality. I won’t say they were perfect, but he spoke truth. I am disappointed that he really thinks morale and retention are ok though. And maybe this is where he’s been disconnected from his post- because dude look at the morale and retention in his district. Not good.

      Shepherd you might be right about further political ambitions though I do not sense that. I think she is too concerned with the board looking like it is getting along to care about the other stuff. I don’t think it is that she actually feels like she needs to ‘stay in her lane’.

      Hunter gets a lot of the financials from Henson and company. Whatever she sees is what they give her. So I only fault her a little on that, but you are right she could do more digging to get to the bottom of things. My sense is she’s going to be voted out.

      Buggs and Brannon really are snowed by the Joseph team’s charm aren’t they?

      Gentry is still stung by her time as chair under which the board went a bit haywire. Wasn’t her fault but it got worse during her time as chair. Her comments reflect someone that thinks we can run the system top-down and that won’t work. I will be very interested to see if Gentry and Buggs run again next cycle.

      Pierce gave some halfway reasonable scores but it is hard to take her seriously when she spent 30 minutes on it and is not seeking re-election.

      Speeding is still just spinning because of reading recovery. I don’t blame her too much, because I still can’t tell you what the overall literacy plan is right now. I think her scores were overwrought, but her comments should not be ignored just because the truth hurts.

      I am surprised you didn’t say anything about Frogge. I think her point about not trusting the spin on MAP is 100% true.

      • Interesting and solid take. Some I agree, some not so much. Nice mention on the MAP scores.

      • Did not mean to leave Frogge out for she seems to be the board member with the most realistic evaluation. She does see some of the good things accomplished during the year, yet she is honest in her perspective that the district is crumbling because of poor planning, cronyism, and blatant disregard for board policy that has created a number of problems including fiscal mismanagement. I have watched her on televised board meetings, and she holds her own even though you can hear the frustration in her voice.

        We all saw Joseph try to intimidate her at a board meeting where the microphone was hot without anyone’s knowledge. If he is brazen enough to act like that will all eyes on him (even when he thought no one could hear), I cannot imagine the culture of bullying and fear he has created at Central Office or with leadership. She is right to point out that this type of culture will destroy anything good very quickly. I highly value her comments on the evaluation that back up her numbers spot on. Frogge has spunk and always does what’s right for kids even when others make it hard for her to do. Thank you.

        Mrs. Frogge seems to have the viewpoint of teachers and parents. She has obviously done her job to represent the people she was elected to represent. A huge red flag should have been lifted when Joseph wanted all communication to come through him first. That is censorship and shows fear on his part as a leader. It appears that he hasn’t had very good leaders to mentor him. He does not act like a leader, more like a boss that craves power and will do anything possible to get it. People don’t value that. It is toxic. That’s why they are leaving. Even our Tennessee Teacher of the Year left. That speaks volumes. Our city did not vet Joseph very well. Surely this behavior didn’t just begin.

        I wish more board members were knowledgeable and concerned about the spending, piggybacking of contracts, and following of board policy. For a board member not to point these things out would be a delinquency in their duties. We should have seen it on everyone’s evaluation. I would be interested in knowing if a director can lose his job for violating board policy. Surely there is something in his contract. What if he bankrupts the district?

        One can only hope that if the audit shows bad things that our board will not continue to look the other way. They have already overlooked lies, intimidation, and clear and repeated violations of board policy. We should not have to use Restorative Practice with our director. He should already be doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do. And wait, there’s more. We haven’t even begun to touch the corruption in Central Office and the wasteful spending. Every dime of taxpayer money should have receipts online available to the public. They are spending $860 million dollars of our money.

        If things don’t change, anybody want a job? We are going to need a background check, a financial check (you are responsible for half of Nashville’s tax dollars), your own car and a Tennessee driver’s license. No more cars and drivers.

  3. Young teachers often question why they didn’t get a score of five out of five on their evaluation. In their minds they are doing the best that they can, which might be true. But they are not a five.

    School leaders that give them a five not only don’t leave them room to grow, they leave young teachers with the sense that’s all you have to do to be the best you can be. If a teacher is off course, a good principal will guide them back. A good principal tells them what they did well, but scores them appropriately on the rubric to search for areas to grow. Even seasoned veterans look for places to grow. The principal and teacher will search through documentation for their entire year to base their decisions. Then a really good principal will ask that teacher questions or have the teacher ask them about what they want to know more about. The discussion is sometimes painful, but nobody said growing was easy.

    Principals go through the same thing with the TELL or Panorama survey. They think everything is good, until conflicting results come in. A fearful or arrogant principal will become retaliatory or vindictive. A principal that wants to do what’s best for kids will find the courage to do the hard work to grow and will reach out and ask for feedback, even allowing that feedback to be anonymous. It’s tough. It can be painful. It restores respect from the people that they lead.

    A teacher leads 25-30 students. A principal leads 300- 2500. A director leads over 80,000 and thousands of staff. A director has to have the most courage of all to accept feedback, and his board members must have the courage to give authentic, honest feedback in order to help him and our city grow. There is no rubber stamping in real growth. It is individual and it’s real.

    Dr. Joseph is a young director. This is only his second opportunity to lead a district. And while he has a doctorate degree and a resume of experience, he is still new at this. He is not unlike the new teacher excited about a new job and feeling like he is doing a perfect job. He must be willing to let his guard down and accept feedback, however painful, in order to grow. His board must be willing to all look for successes as well as places to grow where he and the district can grow. They must also ask him questions, and he himself must ask not only questions, but reach out for help for the answers in order to grow. He must listen to understand, not to reply. He must understand that the growth cannot happen without strong and valued teachers and staff that want to follow him, as well as board members that respect and value him because the respect and value came first from him.

    Dr. Joseph has the opportunity to grow to be a good leader. In so many ways, he is not there yet and that’s OK. He must respect his evaluation for this year and learn from it. He must work for our success, not to prepare for a future job. He must learn to appreciate and respect all of his board and team members, learn from his mistakes, listen and consider ideas to improve, then move forward with honesty and integrity as we grow together the same way we want our principals, teachers, and students to do. A good first step might be to drive himself to work like the rest of the people in the city.

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