Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
Since the appointment of the current director of schools (superintendent), the district is committing to several initiatives: a reform initiative (MNPS Achieves) that targets transformation in ten areas, each addressed by a Transformational Leadership Group (TLG); Tennessee’s Race to the Top initiative (called First to the Top in Tennessee); a new teacher evaluation system; and implementation of changes aligned with Tennessee’s goals in the areas of teachers and leaders, Common Core State Standards, data utilization for improving practice, science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM), Project-Based Learning (PBL), and school turnaround.
District leaders provide professional development that “must be sustained, clear and consistently focused on quality instruction.” In doing so, the district has demonstrated a commitment to teacher quality by employing 300 full-time instructional coaches to support approximately 5,000 classroom teachers.
Further, district officials understand that instructional coaches must deepen their own expertise in the Common Core Standards, PBL pedagogy and SEL to best serve the teachers they support.
In demonstrating their commitment to SEL implementation, the board of education recently authorized the adoption of Responsive Classroom, a CASEL SELect program, for elementary and selected middle schools, along with a plan to prepare coaches and principals to support teachers in its adoption.
About the Director of Schools
Chris Henson is the interim director of schools. As the chief financial officer for the district, he oversaw the development and management of the district’s operating and capital improvement budgets. Under his leadership, MNPS was the first school district in Tennessee to be awarded the Meritorious Budget Award for Excellence by the Association of School Business Officials International.
Video of Nashville panel on creating a positive school climate
In July 2014 MNPS hosted a conference on social and emotional learning that included a panel discussion of ways to create a positive school climate. The panel, which included university-based researchers and school leaders, offered numerous ideas and specific examples. View the video.
Joined CDI: 2012
Total Student Enrollment: 79,117
- Largest Racial/Ethnic Student Groups: Black (46 percent) and White (32.5 percent)
- Economically Disadvantaged Students: 71.4 percent
- Students with Limited English Proficiency: 12.7 percent
- Students with Disabilities (Individualized Education Programs): 10.1 percent
Total Number of Schools: 126
- Elementary Schools: 72
- Middle Schools: 33
- High Schools: 21
SEL Web page:
Director of Social and Emotional Learning
Sr. Staff Advisor for CDI