Looney: Confident ‘I got to be me’ during Metro Schools interview

Dr. Mike Looney
Dr. Mike Looney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A familiar figure says he was confident “I got to be me” during a freewheeling interview with the Metro School Board on Tuesday.

Dr. Mike Looney told board members what he would do as a director in Metro instead of his current position in suburban Williamson County.

“It’s up to the board whether my answers reflect what they are looking for, but I am confident that I got to be me,” he said.

Looney was the second of three candidates facing another round of questions before the board.

Dr. Mike Looney
Looney was the second of three candidates facing another round of questions before the board

Amy Frogge said she had a question about the sticky issue of school choice.

“Are we segregating schools in populations where we have certain schools that serve the most vulnerable students?” she asked.

Looney replied, “Regardless of where you are ideologically, support schools doing well, and do something about the schools that are not doing really well.”

He said charters are here to stay, but there has to be a debate about whether or not they impact a school district’s budget in a negative way.

Looney was also blunt about changing flight to suburban schools like his.

“I think it’s really straightforward but really, really hard improve student outcomes,” he explained. “If students go to Williamson County to get a 30 ACT, you are not going to stop them.”

It drew this question from Tyese Hunter, the Metro School Board’s newest member.

“How do we evaluate you based on what is going on in our district outside of what is going on outside the table?”

Looney responded, “My performance should be very straightforward. Did I improve student outcomes at a rate that is satisfactory to you all? All the other stuff is superfluous.”

They were simple words about being a judge for a complicated job.

Dr. Angela Huff, the Chief of Staff for Cobb County Schools in Georgia, faced the board Monday. The remaining candidate, Dr. Barry Shepherd, will do so Wednesday.

Click here to view extended coverage on the search. 

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