What It’s Like To Be School Principal When An Obama Visits

The president's planned appearance in Nashville later this week is the latest in a long series of visits from the Obamas in Tennessee. Above, the first lady spoke at a graduation ceremony for MLK Jr. magnet school last year. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy, via flickr)

The president’s planned appearance in Nashville later this week is the latest in a long series of visits from the Obamas in Tennessee. Above, the first lady spoke at a Metro high school graduation last year. (Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy, via flickr)

President Obama will speak Thursday at McGavock High School in Nashville.  It’s part of a multi-state swing he’ll make following his State of the Union address—and it’s not the first time a Metro school has gone through the complex process of preparing to host an Obama.

First Lady Michelle Obama has paid several visits to Nashville in the last couple years, most recently at the graduation ceremony for Martin Luther King Jr. magnet school, where Schunn Turner was principal at the time.  She says the plan from the Secret Service and the White House is constantly being tweaked right up to the moment, and the excitement lasts long after.

“They tell you, we’re going to take an official picture, and we’re going to send it to you in a couple weeks.  They actually do that,” Turner says. “After the event is over you receive that picture, and you relive it all over again.”

Turner says in her case, that feeling came back in December, when a holiday card from the White House showed up in the mail.

Previous Visits

Barack Obama famously visited Nashville in 2008, when he debated Sen. John McCain at Belmont University. The first lady has made several other visits to the city, raising money in spring of 2012, and later that summer stoking a massive crowd at an African Methodist Episcopal Convention just moments before the Supreme Court upheld most of her husband’s signature healthcare law.


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