Dr. Aimee Wyatt
Dr. Aimee Wyatt is the Executive Officer for High Schools for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and has worked in education for 24 years. She holds an Ed.D. degree in Leadership Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University. As one of the pioneers of the Academies of Nashville, Dr. Wyatt has been instrumental in the development of the structures that has made the Nashville high school redesign so successful. She has consulted nationally on the topics of small learning communities, master scheduling, leadership development, interdisciplinary lessons, professional learning communities, teaming, using data to drive instruction, creating business partnerships, and experiential learning.
Carrie Whittaker is in her 16th year within Metro Nashville Public Schools, having been a secondary classroom teacher, instructional coach and district lead coach from 2001 through 2014. Starting in July of 2014, Carrie transitioned into the role of Coordinator of Instructional Projects. Her hobbies include traveling, watching the Memphis Tigers games and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Donna is the Director of the Academies of Nashville/CTE Director for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools where she helps manage career/thematic academies across the district, works with business partners to create engaging activities for students, and creates/facilitates professional development for teachers. Donna has been involved in the support and management of academies for the past ten years at the district level. Prior to her work at the district office, Donna spent 17 years in the classroom teaching a variety of business courses before joining district office administration seven years ago. She has been involved in many aspects of development and implementation of the Academies of Nashville.
Donna has been actively involved with the Ford Next Generation Learning Communities as a Professional Development Provider and consultant for over 20 years.
Donna’s educational background is in business and business education. She received her undergraduate Business Degree from Belmont University and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Jack C. Massey School of Business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jacob Glancy is in his 9th year at McGavock High School, having taught English 4, Senior Capstone, and Shakespeare Studies while also serving as a team leader in the Academy of Aviation of Transportation–a two-time model status career academy according to the National Career Academy Coalition–from 2011 through 2016. Starting in July of 2016, Jacob transitioned into the role of Academy Coach for McGavock. Currently, he is also pursuing his Ed.S. in Educational Leadership with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His hobbies include going to concerts all over Nashville; catching Predators, Titans, or Sounds games; and, spending time with his wife.
Jennifer is a native of Nashville, TN and graduate of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Jennifer has 13 years of experience in MNPS as a teacher, Coordinator, Academy Principal, and Director of Extended Learning. Jennifer has extensive knowledge and expertise in the Academy model, Exceptional Education, Interdisciplinary Planning, Schedules, and non-traditional settings. Jennifer’s philosophy is that education is not a one size fits all model; therefore, it is our purpose as educators to be creative, innovative, and passionate about the children and communities we serve.
In his 25 years in education, Kodi has taught both middle school and high school math. For the past 10 years, he has been an academy principal at McGavock High School. He was the first principal over and helped develop the Freshman Academy at McGavock and for the past 6 years he has been the principal for the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication: this academy has been recognized as a MNPS Academy of the Year and twice been recognized as a NCAC Model Academy. Not only does he deal with the day to day running of his academy, he is also in charge of testing and developing the master schedule for the Academies of Nashville at McGavock.
During her 32 year tenure at McGavock High School in Nashville, TN, Paula taught reading and English in grades nine, ten, and twelve; in addition, she taught both Pacesetter English and Advanced Placement Literature. In January 2007, she assumed the position of Site Coach for small learning communities at McGavock High School; this position evolved to that of Academy Coach. Paula was named the 2012 Academies of Nashville Academy Coach of the Year and the 2012 National Career Academies Coalition (NCAC) Educator of the Year. She retired from MNPS in 2014, but she continues to work as a Ford NGL and Nashville Hub consultant to several districts implementing the academy model.
Starr Herrman is recognized for her work with high school transformation, and particularly, the academy model. She was instrumental in planning, directing and implementing the smaller learning communities/academies model for the Metro Nashville Public School system from 2006 to 2012. She is a former high school teacher, CTE Director and IT manager.
Since retirement in 2012, Starr remains active in the school system, working on contract to help transform middle schools. She serves as director of the Nashville Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) Hub, serves on the Ford NGL Leadership Council, consults with many districts across the U.S. in high school transformation and is a National Career Academy Coalition accreditation reviewer.
Starr has been published and quoted in various articles and journals, presented at national conferences, webinars, and is passionate about the academy model.
Susan Porter is District Lead Coach for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. During her 16 year education career, she has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and adjunct professor. Currently, as a District Lead Coach, her responsibilities include supporting the 150+ MNPS school-based instructional coaches, facilitating professional development, and supporting K-12 social studies curriculum and instruction. Her hobbies include reading, sports, and spending time with her husband, three children, and her dog!
Tischann Turner began her teaching career as an elementary art teacher. After realizing the vital role technology has for personalizing student instruction, Tischann has blazed new paths in educational technology for the past 15 years. She has presented locally and nationally concerning her work with online and blended learning. She has experience online as a learner, instructor, designer, and consultant. She currently serves her district as the Director of Learning Technology.
Passionately invested in education since becoming a business teacher in 1989, Dr. Kelly Henderson has made student learning her top priority and has sought innovative ways to maximize student potential. After becoming CTE Coordinator in 2007, she worked diligently to support teachers and align systems so that students had access to rigorous CTE programs through the Academies of Nashville.
In her role as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), she directed the development of a comprehensive and coherent Pre-K –12 curriculum framework that has transformed the district and contributed to increased student achievement and graduation rates. Under Dr. Henderson’s leadership, Metro Nashville public schools has been recognized as a leader in high school reform, project-based learning and blended learning with not only students in the classroom but with teachers engaged in blended professional development.
Dr. Henderson presents on the national level and consults with schools and districts across the country in the areas of master scheduling, strategic planning, and systems alignment.
Jill Petty has been an educator for over 20 years. She has taught English both at the middle and high school levels. Jill was a classroom teacher when Nashville first brought the academy model to the high schools. She has served as an Academy team leader, English department lead, literacy coach/school-based professional development provider, district level English Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator, and currently as the Director of Secondary Literacy for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Jill was the first person in MNPS to become a Project Based Learning capacity-buliding trainer. In her various roles in education, she had lead and continues to lead professional learning at the school level, district level, and national level. Most recently, Jill became a certified Gallup Strengths-Finder coach.
Deanna has been in education since 1994 spending her first 4 years teaching high school science in Indiana and another 12 years teaching in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). She spent an additional 6 years as an Instructional Coach and District Lead Instructional Coach for Nashville planning, developing, and implementing professional development for teachers, including becoming a Buck Institute for Education (BIE) Certified PBL trainer.
Deanna is currently the i3 STEM Grant Coordinator for MNPS, a federal grant that is geared to grow student achievement in science and math, heighten STEM aspirations, and close opportunity gaps for underrepresented students. For the grant, she supports the implementation of a STEM afterschool, Saturday, and Summer Camp with students from 7 Nashville middle schools emphasizing student-centered, project-based learning through sustained inquiry to solve authentic problems.
Ms. Bailey is a veteran educator in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System. She is currently in her first year as an executive principal for the district and was an assistant principal for the three years prior. Ms. Bailey also served the district as an instructional coach, a mentor, a trainer, and a teacher. Her coaching and mentoring trainings have enabled her to create a learning community where student data guides professional learning decisions for enrichment and interventions and student engagement is the foundation of instructional practices. She is dedicated to ensuring a nurturing environment where students are recognized and supported as individuals and encouraged to grow through enriching and engaging experiences. Ms. Bailey’s background has prepared her with the strengths and skills needed to be the instructional and executive leader in her building where she has created a culture that promotes high student expectations through the collaborative belief that all students will grow, succeed, and achieve.
Todd has over 25 years of experience in MNPS. He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years and served as a trained mentor for other teachers through a partnership with Vanderbilt University. He also served as a curriculum coordinator and was tasked with supporting the PBL implementation for the district from 2012-2014.
Todd has extensive experience with PBL, including coaching teachers and administrators in project design and implementation.
As an adjunct professor at local universities, Todd taught graduate courses in Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment and undergraduate courses in Methods. Todd emphasizes strategies for creating a positive classroom culture, disciplinary literacy and unit planning.
Nadia Saint-Louis is in her 10th year in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. She was a math teacher at Whites Creek High School and Hillwood High School for several years. She served as a numeracy coach for a brief time before she became the Freshman Academy Principal at McGavock High School. At McGavock, Nadia oversees the math and special education department. She is currently working on her Ed.D degree at Trevecca Nazarene University in Leadership.
Mandy Springer began her teaching career in 2002 as a middle school math teacher. Realizing her need to have more of an impact on student lives she returned to Tennessee State University to pursue her master’s degree in School Counseling. Upon receiving her degree in School Counseling she became employed with Metro Nashville Public Schools as a school counselor at Whites Creek High School where she worked for four years. The opportunity was presented to move to a larger campus so she then transferred to McGavock High School and became the counselor for the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication and has been there since 2013. This academy has been recognized as the MNPS Academy of the Year and twice has been recognized as a NCAC Model Academy. She is the lead counselor for McGavock High School and serves on the district school counseling leadership team. In 2009 she was recognized by Tennessee State University as Counselor of the year and in 2015 she won Academy Counselor of the year for Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Nae’Shara Neal is an instructional leader with ten years teaching experience in MNPS. Neal graduated from Western Kentucky University with a major in biology and minor in military science. She served as an instructional coach, master teacher for a Demonstration School, and is currently a curriculum principal and the Cambridge coordinator at McGavock High School in Nashville, TN.
Robbin Wall has been involved with school administration for twenty-four years. He began as a Middle School principal in 1992 and is now the principal at one of the largest high schools in Tennessee, McGavock High School. During his time in education he has served as a classroom teacher, Head Football Coach/Athletic Director, High School Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, and High School Principal. He has been voted Principal of the Year in Irving, Texas. He was recognized as Principal of the Year by the Region X Educational Service Center in Dallas, Texas and has been voted Principal of the Year in Nashville, TN. Mr. Wall was also recognized as the Academy Principal of the Year with MNPS and was recognized at the 2016 NCAC for his school’s outstanding work with Academies.
He was honored to host President Obama in January of 2014 as well as the Vice-President’s wife, Jill Biden, in February of 2016. McGavock High School had the privilege of the President’s visit due to their school being recognized for its academic gains over the past five years along with its “Wall to Wall” National Model status which has happened twice during Mr. Wall’s tenure.
Dr. Nicole Cobb is the Executive Director of School Counseling for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and works as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University. She has worked in education for 21 years as a teacher, school counselor and administrator at the district and state level. She holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Tennessee. Nicole has done a great deal of policy and research work in the areas of school climate, crisis response, college access and educator evaluation and effectiveness. She has presented nationally on the research topics listed above as well as on small learning communities, master scheduling, leadership development and using data to drive school improvement. She also led the development of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards school counseling certificate.
Melissa Wrenne is native to Nashville and in her 25th year within Metro Nashville Public Schools. During her 23 years at John Overton High School, she taught Biology and Anatomy and Physiology and served as Science department chair and the team lead for the Academy of Health Science and Academy of Engineering. In July of 2015, after earning her Educational Specialist degree, she transitioned to an academy coach position at Hillsboro High School. Her hobbies include reading, taking long walks communing with nature, and spending time with her daughter.
Bob Kucher is currently the VP of Partnerships and Programs for PENCIL, a Nashville nonprofit linking community resources to Metro Nashville Public Schools. Bob assumed his role in December 2015 after a year of managing PENCIL Partnerships for the middle and high school tiers.
He brings a wide range of management and education-related experience to his PENCIL responsibilities. He began his career as an MNPS art specialist, served as Deputy Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission, and most recently was employed by The Renaissance Center in Dickson, TN as the Senior Director of Fine Arts.
PENCIL works to bridge the gap between volunteers’ generosity and skills and the support MNPS needs to help students grow. PENCIL staff research, recruit, link and maintain the relationships between the community and schools to ensure a positive experience for all students and volunteers involved. Bob is excited to share PENCIL’s expertise in supporting the Academy model with communities across the country.