NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Dr. Shawn Joseph accepted the Director of Schools position with Metro Schools just an hour after he was formally offered the job Friday morning.
“I accept. I thank the board for its leadership and the community for its support,” Joseph told the school board by phone.
He agreed to a four-year term beginning July 1 with a salary of $285,000.
“This decision comes after two weeks of extensive interviews and community engagement. Board members got to know Dr. Joseph, his work experience, educational philosophy and ideas for how to lead Metro Schools during hours of discussions, through complete professional dossiers and seeing him interact with city leaders and community members,” Metro-Nashville Public Schools said in a statement.
Joseph received high marks from the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) which represents teachers in the district.
MNEA President Dr. Erick Huth called Joseph a proven “collaborator” in his previous jobs working with both the community and teachers.
Joseph had previously told News 2 that “teachers would have a seat at the table.”
With Joseph becoming the first African-American to lead the Metro Nashville Public Schools district, Nashville NAACP President Ludye Wallace told News 2 that it “should say something to everybody” that “all kinds of people have a chance to do anything, and do have the expertise to do anything.”
Mayor Megan Barry said Dr. Joseph is a “truly inspired choice.” Her statement reads, in full:
His commitment to equity and access is critical to ensuring that every child has access to a world-class public school, regardless of their zip code.
I want to applaud the school board on their decision and for a process that was open and inclusive to the entire community, and thank all of the terrific candidates who have participated in this process. I especially want to thank School Board Chair Dr. Sharon Gentry for showing tremendous leadership throughout this process which has resulted in her successful negotiation of a contract for a highly-qualified candidate who will be Nashville’s first African-American Director of Schools. I would also like to thank Shannon Hunt with the Nashville Public Education Foundation for helping to bring so many community voices to the table and support the recruitment efforts.
I look forward to working with Dr. Joseph over the coming years to ensure that he has the resources and support he needs to ensure successful outcomes for all of our students.
Joseph is currently the Deputy Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in Maryland, located just outside of Washington D.C.
PGCPS is the second largest school system in Maryland with a student enrollment of 128,937 and 19,000 employees in 209 schools and centers.
When he was first announced as a candidate. Joseph’s current school district said he has been “instrumental” in their “efforts to raise expectations and improve achievement.” They described him as a “proven” leader any district would be “would be lucky to have.”