Maplewood shows gains after last year's change in leadership
A third of Metro Nashville's high schools got new principals in sweeping staffing moves that signal the state's authority, and in one case, success, when it comes to education reform.
Tuesday, state Department of Education officials announced 68 total new principal and assistant principal assignments at schools across Metro. No Child Left Behind education law grants state officials more power with each year the district and individual schools don't meet performance standards.
"It's not personal. It's professional," said Connie Smith, director of accountability for the Department of Education and chief architect of the changes. "There are a lot of likeable principals, but it doesn't mean they are moving the school forward."
Last year, state officials took total control of Maplewood High School and installed their own leader, Julie Williams, to head the reform. For the first time in almost a decade, the school met testing benchmarks.
Williams credits the turnaround to $1 million in state funding used to lower class sizes in math, staff the school with academic specialists, and hire extra staff to work with potential dropouts and truant students.
The money is necessary, Williams said, but it isn't everything.
"I doubt if you'll ever see a good school without an effective leader," she said...