A Revelation About Transient Students Inspired Nashville To Hire Community Superintendents

Apr 28, 2017

Metro Schools will now be broken down into four, distinct geographic regions. The district named new leaders for each area on Thursday. The decision was based largely on how often students are moving from school to school.

The district calls these students "transient." They might even start the year at one school and end at another. Maybe they had to move. Or they could be homeless. But the new superintendent's team dug into the data and found that they're not moving across town. They stay in the vicinity.

"Children and families were really transient within these quadrants," says Sito Narcisse, who was appointed chief of schools by superintendent Shawn Joseph.

Narcisse found that Interstates 65 and 40 basically quarter the city. So the district has hired four administrators to oversee those zones.

They each have lengthy experience in the district (all with doctoral degrees). Their titles will be "community superintendents," with starting salaries of $155,000 and start dates of July 1, though they'll begin their work in June.

Narcisse says they will provide some continuity for families who might be jumping around, with the hope of getting them more engaged.  

"If you can centralize and have particular regions to support, then you can help streamline a lot more efficiency around helping families feel much more a part of the work," he says.

The community superintendent model is also meant to give parents and teachers a more obvious way to approach the central office. The four positions replace the administrators who separately oversaw elementary, middle and high schools.