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Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Tennis anyone? …Or … Does love mean nothing to you?

The national story of the summer in the tennis world has been the incredible rise of Hillwood Alum Brian Baker who earned his way through qualifiers to play at The French Open and at Wimbeldon. The former Hilltopper played his way to the round of 16 at Wimbeldon. Next stop for Brian is the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Alumni Alert – It’s the Principal

The new Principal at Gower Elementary School is one of the all-time greatest athletes in MNPS history. Barbara Frazier was a member of the first 5 on 5 Girls basketball state championship team at Pearl High; a state champion in several events in track and field; the first MNPS alum to be a member of the world famous Tigerbelles track team at Tennessee State; a member of the Tennessee State University Athletic Hall of Fame; and a member of the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame. Oh … and a Superstar Principal!

Fall Sports …Get the Party Started

Even before school starts, practice for the fall sports is in full swing. Last year, MNPS teams and athletes made runs at state championships, and this year is shaping up to be even better. If you have a school nearby, make sure you go to the competitions. If you aren’t affiliated with any particular school, pick a school and follow it. Fall sports include: Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Golf, Football, Cheerleading, and Cross Country. Not only will you enjoy the competition, your presence and support benefits the student-athletes in ways and to an extent that are immeasurable. Go to a game!

NIL Reunion Picnic

Like an alumni association/historical society of legendary athletes, coaches, and fans, the Nashville Interscholastic League held its annual reunion picnic this week to celebrate the governing body for high school sports in Nashville until the mid-1980’s. The North Sports Report attended and rubbed elbows with the greats: Farrell Owens of Cohn; DuPont’s Bobby Gaines; McGavock’s John Griffith; and legendary Coaches Ken Redmond, Jerry Pigue, Wes Elrod, Tommy Frensley, Tommy Griffith, and Charlie Anderson. The highlight for the North Sports Report was visiting with Hillsboro football great Donny Sherman, Stratford basketball star Mike Jackson, and the incomparable Charles Davis of McGavock. Wow… great memories of the sports heroes of bygone days. If you don’t recognize these names and want to know more about the history of high school sports in Nashville, do a little research at www.highschoolglorydays.com.

The Future of the North Sports Report

Will the North Sports Report be back for the 2012-13 school year? Answer: Ohhhh Yeeeeessss! And you can follow MNPS related Sports Reports on Twitter @TheFansInc.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Legendary Athletes, Coaches and Fans


    Long-time educator Dr. Betsy Ruhl Potts has been tapped as principal of Old Center Elementary School in Goodlettsville. Potts will succeed former principal Rob Hancock who has accepted a position in the district’s Human Resources department.

    Potts, who most recently served as assistant principal at Amqui Elementary, has worked in education for more than 20 years. She began her career teaching first grade at Goodpasture Elementary and later became principal of the school. She joined Metro Schools in 2006 and taught first and third grades at Goodlettsville Elementary School. There, she was selected Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for the district’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

    She has also served as assistant principal representative to the Metropolitan Nashville Principal Association board and participated in the Education Leadership Learning Exchange between Vanderbilt’s Peabody College and South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China and in the Principal Leadership Academy of Nashville.

    She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from David Lipscomb University, a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Trevecca Nazarene University and a doctorate, also in administration and supervision, from Tennessee State University.


    High honors came for two of the district's principals this summer. Dr. Nancy Meador, principal of Madison Middle School, was elected President of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Not long after, Ruby Major Elementary principal Teresa Dennis was chosen to serve on the NAESP Board of Directors!

    These are high national honors for Ms. Dennis and Dr. Meador, so a big, hearty congratulations to them both! They will serve NAESP and represent our district well.


    Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools taps Glencliff High School assistant principals Dr. Adrienne Battle-Koger and Sonia Stewart as the district’s two new high school principals.

    Dr. Battle-Koger has accepted the position as principal at Antioch High School. Formerly academic principal at Glencliff High School, she also served as the high school’s Academy of Medical Science and Research principal, where she led the charge toward achieving national certification for the academy. Dr. Battle-Koger also facilitated and implemented instructional programs that increased school-wide Reading/English for each grade level. Prior to coming to Glencliff High, she served as principal and assistant principal at East Academy and taught at Dalewood Middle School. Dr. Battle-Koger is an alumna of Metro Schools, graduating from John Overton High School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University, and master’s and doctorate degree, from Tennessee State University. She will replace former principal Brian Mast, who resigned to take a job in higher education.

    Stewart has been appointed principal of Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School. Stewart recently served as Glencliff High School’s Freshmen Academy principal with responsibility for providing instructional leadership, supporting Small Learning Community team meetings, and managing effective student intervention plans. As academy principal, Stewart increased ninth grade promotion, developed student leadership teams, improved parental involvement through academy showcases and student recognition. Prior to coming to Glencliff High, she was a teacher for Antioch High School, Brentwood Academy High School and Washington Prep High School in Los Angeles, Ca. Stewart received her bachelor’s degree from Biola University and master’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. Stewart will be replacing Dr. Milton Threadcraft, who retired this summer.

    See a list of all principal changes for 2012-13.


    When I arrived at the newly renovated Isaac Litton Middle School, principal Tracy Bruno was fleeing the spray of a lawn sprinkler deployed to help the parched and newly planted landscaping. The grass may not have been prepared for the drought, but the school is prepared for more students and a higher profile in its East Nashville neighborhood.

    “We are the epitome of a neighborhood school, right here in the middle of all these houses,” Bruno told me. And it’s true. Litton sits nestled between small, residential streets like Winding Way and Littonwood Drive right off Gallatin Pike.

    The renovations that have taken place over the last year and a half have transformed the school into a building that looks practically new – and that’s because a lot of it is. The main office has been expanded. The library has a massive bank of new windows opening to the front lawn. The cafeteria is brand new and full of natural light. And the gym – once completely disconnected from the main building – has now been built out with new entrances, a new concession stand, and a host of new classrooms underneath it for fifth grade and related arts classes.

    Click "Read more" for photos and the full story of Litton's neighborhood transformation.


    Deloris BurkeA Metro Schools alumna educator is spending her summer in the deep end of a huge pool of knowledge in our nation's capital, all to help other teachers in the classroom.

    Deloris Burke, formerly principal of McMurray Middle School, is honored to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute. Burke was selected from more than 300 candidates to participate in this week-long program in Washington, D.C.

    During the program, Burke is working with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website. This session will also include instruction on using primary sources from the World Digital Library website, established by the Library of Congress, endorsed by 
    UNESCO and launched online. in 2009. The site contains cultural materials from all 193 countries in UNESCO with expert commentary in seven languages.

    The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staffs—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the
    Library’s website.


    Dr. Antoinette WilliamsDr. Antoinette Williams, principal of Gra-Mar Middle School, has been named Tennessee Association of Middle Schools Middle Tennessee Administrator of the Year. Dr. Williams was awarded this honor during the Tennessee Association Middle School Conference this summer. She was given the honor for her accomplishments in providing Sustainable and Relevant Teacher Professional Development, Success in Transforming Low Achieving Schools, and Improving Student Achievement.

    Congratulations, Dr. Williams!


    Experienced educators to assume new posts at Shwab, McGavock and Bellshire

    There will be new principals at Shwab Elementary, Julia Green Elementary and Bellshire Elementary schools when the 2012 -13 school year starts Wednesday, Aug. 1.

    Dr. Natalyn Gibbs has accepted the position as principal for Shwab Elementary. Currently the assistant principal of Cole Elementary, Dr. Gibbs has also served as assistant principal of Hull-Jackson Montessori Magnet Elementary. She has background experience in teaching third, fourth and fifth graders at the elementary school level. Dr. Gibbs is a graduate of Tennessee State University, where she received her master’s degree in administration and supervision and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She replaces Catherine Prentis, who is retiring.

    Lance Forman has been appointed as principal of McGavock Elementary. Forman most recently served as assistant principal at Julia Green Elementary. Prior to coming to Julia Green, he was a fourth grade teacher at Andrew Jackson Elementary and worked the summer of 2008 as a STEM coach. Foreman is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in interpersonal communications and human resources and his master’s degree in educational leadership.

    Dr. Chris Marczak, formerly at McGavock Elementary, will take over as principal at Bellshire Elementary. Dr. Marczak has led McGavock Elementary as principal for three years and, prior to that post, served as assistant principal for both Una and Charlotte Park Elementary schools. Dr. Marczak is a graduate of Austin Peay State University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and elementary education. He later received his master’s degree in educational leadership and doctorate in professional practice/leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. In addition to being a principal, Dr. Marczak teaches in both the master’s and doctoral programs at Trevecca and David Lipscomb universities. He replaces Donna Wilburn, who has been named principal of the new Cane Ridge Elementary, opening this year.

    See a list of all principal changes for 2012-13.


    Donna WilburnThe first day of school is always special, but for Cane Ridge Elementary School students, August 1, 2012, will be particularly memorable. It is not only the first day of class for Metro Nashville Public Schools, but also the first day of operations for Cane Ridge Elementary. Veteran educator Donna Wilburn, who will be the school’s first principal, will start work even before then to prepare for the school’s 700 students.

    “Students never forget their elementary school teachers and principals because they provide the foundation for children’s academic achievement and personal development,” said Brenda Steele, associate superintendent for elementary schools. “I know Mrs. Wilburn will be a great principal for Cane Ridge Elementary and will give Cane Ridge students a solid foundation for middle school success.”

    Wilburn currently serves as principal of Bellshire Elementary Design Center. She began her career in the Hardeman County School District and also served as a teacher in Memphis City Schools. Prior to becoming principal at Bellshire, she taught third grade at Amqui Elementary School and served as a first grade teacher, reading specialist and assistant principal at J.E. Moss Elementary.

    She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Tennessee at Martin, a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Memphis, and an educational specialist degree from Tennessee State University.

    Cane Ridge Elementary School, located at 3884 Asheford Trace 37013, is included in the district’s proposed 2012-13 operating budget at an incremental cost of more than $1.1 million. Teachers and students will move from other schools to Cane Ridge Elementary’s 45 classrooms in 90,000 square feet. The budget request must be approved by Metro Council.

    In addition, the proposed capital spending plan includes funds to acquire land for another elementary and middle school in the area because of enrollment growth. Projected enrollment in the Cane Ridge and Antioch clusters for the 2012-13 school year is about 2900 students more than five years earlier; an additional 1900 students are expected by 2016.


    Melva Stricklin

    Congratulations to Melva Stricklin, principal at Stanford Montessori Elementary Design Center, recently named the #1 Elementary Principal in Middle Tennessee by the Education Consumers Foundation!

    Ms. Stricklin was chosen according to the growth made by students at Stanford.

    From the Education Consumers Foundation:

    Education reformers have made teacher quality a top concern in Tennessee and elsewhere – and rightly so. But without the support of a great principal, working quietly behind the scenes to create the conditions for success, even the best teachers will inevitably be limited in what they can accomplish in the classroom. The Education Consumers Foundation is, therefore, proud to recognize the achievements of 18 principals from across the state through its annual Value-Added Achievement Awards.

    “These 18 principals show what a dedicated principal and teaching force can achieve in Tennessee schools,” noted ECF President Dr. J. E. Stone. “If every school performed at the level of our 18 winners, Tennessee would lead the nation in educational improvement.”

    According to Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, “I am pleased to join with the Education Consumers Foundation in recognizing some of our most effective principals and schools,” Huffman said. “Value-added achievement is a central focus as we work to boost student achievement across the state, and these education leaders are shining examples of what’s possible in Tennessee.”


    After a nationwide search for outstanding educators, Metro Nashville Public Schools Innovation Cluster has selected school principals, called iLeaders. Four are new to their schools and six are veterans; all are charged with leading dramatic improvement at Innovation Cluster schools.

    • Bailey STEM Magnet Middle - Dr. Christian Sawyer (New)

    • Buena Vista Enhanced Option Elementary - Michelle McVicker (New)

    • Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary - Jahi Rohrer (New)

    • John Early Museum Magnet Middle - Risè Pope (New)

    • Napier Enhanced Option Elementary - Dr. Ronald Powe (Returning)

    • Gra-Mar Middle - Dr. Antoinette Williams (Returning)

    • Margaret Allen Middle - Dr. Dorothy Gunn (Returning)

    • Cameron Middle - Chris Hames (Returning)

    • Jere Baxter Middle - Dr. Corey Walker (Returning)

    • Brick Church Middle - Chirelle Jefferson (Returning)

    Learn more about the Innovation Cluster on its website.

    What are iLeaders?

    “iLeaders are an elite group of educators committed to transforming Innovation Cluster schools into exceptional schools,” said Alan Coverstone, director of Innovation Schools. “These iLeaders will analyze data and implement strategies to improve student achievement at each school. We want rapid results and will work with teachers, students, parents and the community to achieve them.”

    Who are our new iLeaders?

    McVicker is a product of Metro Schools as a member of the first graduating class of Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School. She began her teaching career at Norman Binkley Elementary and then moved to Bordeaux Elementary where she taught sixth grade until becoming the outreach manager for Nashville Public Television. In 2004, she joined Rutherford County Schools as school technology specialist. In 2007, she became an assistant principal in Murfreesboro City Schools, splitting her time between Hobgood Elementary: A NASA Explorer School and The Discovery School. During her tenure, both schools have been recognized for student achievement. Hobgood is 13th in the state and second in Middle Tennessee for improving student achievement in Education Consumers Foundation rankings.

    McVicker earned an associate’s degree from Columbia State Community College and a bachelor’s degree from David Lipscomb University, both in elementary education. She holds a master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University and the Ed. S. from Tennessee Technological University.

    Rohrer has five years’ experience in school leadership in New York, the British West Indies, and Washington, D.C. He joined DC Prep in 2010 as an instructional coach and became executive principal of the school’s Benning Elementary Campus in 2011. Previously, he was regional director of Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, also in Washington. In the British West Indies, he was the principal of the Teacher Gloria Omololu Institute. He began his career as a Teach For America Corps member in New York where he was a semi-finalist for the New York Sue Lehmann Award for teaching effectiveness. He has four years of elementary teaching experience.

    Rohrer holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, a master’s degree in elementary education from Pace University, and has completed the Principal Leadership Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also earned the M.Ed. He is the first African-American to win the overall title at the United State Alpine Skiing Junior Olympic Championship and was on the U.S. Olympic Development Ski Team.

    Sawyer returns to Metro Schools from Louisiana where he worked to integrate 21st century learning technology into classrooms. He taught at Hillsboro High School and served as "Teacher in Residence" at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education, where he taught in the Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools program. He has been an instructor of Geopolitics at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and an Atlantik-Bruecke Fellow studying German-American relations with the Tennessee Department of Education. He was named 2006 National Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies and the 2006 Tennessee Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year. In 2008, he received both the Tennessee Distinguished Educator honor and Nashville’s "Educator Award" from the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities.

    He has written and edited curriculum, including books on Human Geography. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the honors program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

    Learn more about the Office of Innovation.

    Metro Nashville’s Innovation Cluster schools are “priority” schools in the bottom 5 percent of Tennessee’s schools based on proficiency rates in math, reading, and science. Under the new statewide accountability system, these schools must improve student achievement at twice the rate of the rest of the district to remain under district governance.

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