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Metro Schools announces shakeup in troubled HR department

Tony Majors MNPS.jpg
Posted at 11:56 AM, Mar 08, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Public Schools announced a shakeup Friday in its troubled Human Resources Department.

Veteran MNPS administrator Tony Majors will take over the HR division, replacing HR Chief Deborah Story. Majors will serve as the interim until a permanent chief is named this summer.

A press release from the district portrayed the move as being a result of Story's decision to retire.

But an on-going NewsChannel 5 investigation had uncovered serious problems in how the HR department handled sexual harassment complaints.

Metro Schools hired a Nashville law firm, on a $100,000 contract, to review the district's HR practices.

That law firm's confidential report, which was first obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, warned that MNPS faces a serious morale crisis that threatens its ability to attract and keep qualified employees. It described chaos in the HR department and placed much of the blame on Story's number two person, Sharon Pertiller, for the morale problems.

This is a developing story. Stay with NewsChannel 5 for more updates.

Below is the MNPS news release:

Veteran education leader Tony Majors will take the helm of the Human Resources division at Metro Nashville Public Schools, a move that promises to continue the upgrades and modernization efforts in an office that serves nearly 11,000 district employees.

Deborah Story will retire from the position March 22, 2019. Ms. Story had intended to retire in October 2018, but MNPS Director Shawn Joseph asked her to stay to guide a series of large-scale projects.

“I am deeply grateful to Deborah,” Dr. Joseph said. “She brought a wealth of wisdom and experience to our Human Resources division. She has introduced much needed professionalism to our systems and processes. It has been an incredibly challenging and successful run for her here. And she has carried herself throughout it all with such grace and kindness.”

Dr. Majors will bring the same focus to improving processes and procedures that he has employed throughout his 25-year MNPS career. He has served as a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal, an assistant superintendent and mostly recently as the executive officer of Student Services, where he has been leading the MNPS campaign to improve Social Emotional Learning, while advancing the district’s Community Achieves program and developing programs to reduce chronic absenteeism.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve the school district in the capacity of Chief Human Resources Officer,” Dr. Majors said. “Human resources plays a vital role in the success of any organization. I look forward to leveraging the collective talent that exists in the department to establish a vision that promotes professionalism and efficiency in support of our schools and stakeholders.”

Dr. Joseph cited Dr. Majors’ focused drive and his ability to clarify expectations as two of the reasons for tapping him for the HR job. He will serve as the interim until a permanent chief is named by August 2019.

“I expect Tony to bring his characteristic intensity and decisiveness to his role in Human Resources,’’ said Joseph. “Deborah has brought us far, and I know that Tony will keep up the momentum.”

Dr. Antoinette Williams will serve as Interim Executive Officer of Student Services.

Dr. Majors will move into his new role March 15, a week before Ms. Story departs MNPS and caps a career in which she has served in multiple public-service roles, including state Commissioner of Human Resources under Gov. Phil Bredesen.

“It has been an honor to serve the employees of MNPS for two and a half years,” said Ms. Story, “and most importantly, it has been a privilege to work on behalf of the children of this great city. At the same time, I’m thrilled at the prospect of spending lots more time with my grandchildren.”

NC5 Investigates: Metro Schools