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Metro School Board Interviews First Two Candidates For Director Position

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 17:00:12-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro School Board members interviewed two of the four people hoping to be the next director of the school system.

Board members followed the same format for both interviews. Each board member asked questions, and the candidate then had a chance to ask the board questions. The questions were the same for each candidate.

The first candidate, Dr. Barry Shepherd retired in April as the Superintendent at Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina. While the district was about half the size of Metro’s, Dr. Shepherd spoke about the growth it saw during his term.

“Many of the challenges you face on a large scale, I have faced on a small scale,” said Dr. Shepherd. “I do believe the challenges are the same.”

He described his former district as efficient and talked about a program he started to help keep students in the public school system. With a background in music education, he also talked about how it’s important to balance the arts and academics to ensure students get a well-rounded education.

“It’s important to me we are teaching students to be good citizens so they can interact in a democracy and value the freedom they have,” said Dr. Shepherd.

The second candidate, was current Director of Williamson County Schools, Dr. Mike Looney. Dr. Looney discussed his time in the Marine Corps and work in former districts that helped prepare him to lead Metro Schools.

“I think my background, experience and priorities align with the dynamics in Metro Nashville public Schools and the student population,” said Dr. Looney.

He said he has no secret program to build a strong school district. He said he relies on teamwork, a philosophy built on being relentless each day.

“Every single day matters. Every single class matters,” said Dr. Looney. “School isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be challenging. It’s about teaching them to stay the course even when it gets challenging.”

Friday, Metro School Board Members have been scheduled to interview the two other finalists for the job. Dr. Angela Huff is a Metro Schools graduate who currently serves as the Chief of Staff of Cobb County Schools in Georgia. Dr. John Covington is currently self-employed as an educational consultant who is currently working with the school district in McComb, MS.

Next week, board members have planned to hold community forums with the top three candidates.

Board members have said they hoped to vote on a final candidate at their meeting July 23.