Category: Blog

VIDEO: #KnowYourWhy with LEAD Southeast Principal, Mrs. Wilkins in Nashville

NASHVILLE – October is National Principals Month and Tennesseans for Student Success sat down with Amy Kate Wilkins, Principal at LEAD Southeast High School, a public charter school within the LEAD public schools’ network with six schools serving 2,700 students in the Nashville area.

As an organization, we believe it’s important to celebrate educators and encourage leaders in the community to ‘Know Their Why.’ Read a few excerpts from Mrs. Wilkins below:

Short: What do you love the most about what you do?

Wilkins: “… The relationship that I was able to form with students and with my colleagues as well as with families in the community that I served, especially in these first few formative years really set the foundation for this work. So I think that it is the reason I decided to stay in education, but really what gives me the drive every single day is knowing that I am coming to school, serving students, interacting with parents, and working with colleagues to problem solve and give kids the best possible education they can have here in Nashville.”

Short: Can you tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique?

Wilkins: “… We specifically at this school, serve grades 9th through 11th. We’re unique in that we’re a growing high school. Next year we will add our first graduating class. We’re following in the footsteps of our sister school, LEAD Academy who has graduated and sent 100 percent of their seniors off to a career or college path that is best suited for them, and we hope to do that soon in less than a year. Our graduating class of 2021 is pumped to do that, and I think it really sets us apart as a high school here in the city of Nashville.”

Short: In closing, do you have any last thoughts or words you’d like to share?

Wilkins: “… I think what resonates most closely with me is when people affirm that this work is really hard… Being an educator is something that a lot of people aspire to do, but very few stick with because it is really taxing. So my encouragement and closing words would be to stick with it, to value the relationships that the job offers – both with students and the people you are working alongside – and utilize those to energize you in this work. And finally, take care of yourself… So that would definitely be my closing words but also advice for people that are looking to get into this work.”

Click here to view the video. 

HD 77 Polling Data

As a part of our statewide voter research polling, Tennesseans for Student Success is highlighting key voter perceptions on education reform policies. The following data is representative of House District 77 and tracks with statewide results.

Click here to view the data.

Welcome, Governor Lee

Last week was a big week in education in Tennessee!

In case you missed last week’s news, we wanted to make sure you’d seen our announcement regarding Tennessee’s new Commissioner of Education. Here it is in full:

“Congratulations to Penny Schwinn as she is named Tennessee’s next Commissioner of Education,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister. “Over the last eight years, Tennessee experienced historic gains in public education, and the next Commissioner will have an opportunity to continue to advance the policies that drive success for all students in Tennessee’s classrooms.”

Lister continued: “I applaud Governor-Elect Lee for this important appointment and am encouraged by the deliberative and thoughtful approach to encouraging the best people, policies, and ideas to be at the table for every student in Tennessee. Schwinn has a track record of success in, Texas as the Texas Education Agency’s chief deputy commissioner of academics, turning around struggling schools in Delaware, and as an educator working to close the achievement gap for every student. Tennesseans for Student Success is encouraged that through her leadership and with Governor-Elect Lee, advancing opportunities for all of Tennessee’s students will be a top priority and we look forward to working with her.” As well, Tennessee welcomed her 50th Governor over the weekend, and we’re excited to help welcome him to office. We appreciate all of you who have signed up in our advocacy center to help raise your voices for student success. We’ve got another letter for you to sign – head over to our volunteer portal and help us encourage Governor Lee to continue the work for every student in Tennessee

Thank You, Governor Haslam

Over the past eight years, Tennessee has celebrated historic gains in public education.

ACT scores and on-time graduation rates are on the rise, more students are taking advantage of early postsecondary opportunities, Tennessee has twice been named the fastest improving state in the nation in education, and the right people, policies, and priorities are in place to make sure every student in Tennessee is ready for success in classrooms, in careers, and in life.

While there is still great work to be done, there is much to celebrate.

As Tennessee gathers this weekend to inaugurate her 50th Governor, we wanted to take a moment to offer our thanks to her 49th. We are grateful for Governor Haslam’s strong work in education for every Tennessee classroom, student, teacher, parent, administrator, and future. Will you join us in thanking Governor Haslam for his service and commitment to public education?