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5X5 Part II

As we approach 2018 we do so with traditional hopes and goals for the school district. These goals can be found in the form of our new strategic plan, 5X5. We focus on the number 5: 5 Star Quality, 5 strands in the plan, a 5 star rating for the district.

We began the process in August with these three questions:

What are you most proud of in our district?What would  you like us to continue doing?What are our next steps and needs? We saturated the county with these questions and when we were finished we had collected over 750 responses. These responses were analyzed and 5 strands emerged including Technology, Academics, Human  Resources, Community Engagement, and Facilities.

In the Technology strand our 1:1 initiative is addressed. Our goal is to have all students grades 5-12 have their own devices. Included in this is to provide the instructional professional development for our teachers so that they have the knowledge of how to use these , not to replace their instruction, but to enha…
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We are in the process of writing a 5 year strategic plan. The plan is entitled,"5x5." Five star quality, scoring 5s for teachers, schools and the district in five years is the goal. Each child in Cheatham County deserves an exemplary education with opportunities to get prepared to reach their dreams.

We are in the process of gathering data. We are asking these three questions:

What are you most proud of in Cheatham County School District? This questions helps me understand fully the culture. We want to ensure that we preserve and protect what we find pride in. What is working well in our district? What should we retain? Where are we succeeding?What are our next steps? Where do you want to see us in 2023? What can we envision? Where are the gaps in our programming? What are we missing currently?  We will take this data and begin to analyze it during the month of October. We will find themes and create strands for the plan. Within each strand we will create goals and then actio…

Five Star Quality

When you want to go to an extra special restaurant you might choose one that has a 5 star rating. And if you want to take that once a year weekend to a luxurious hotel you will surely look for one that is also of 5 star quality. It is our desire to offer a 5 star quality educational experience for every child and family in Cheatham County.

What does that look like? I believe to get to a 5 star quality we must fine tune the details. It is the little things. There are many things that are expected and standard, if you will, in education: transportation, food service, newsletters, and reasonably sized classes. What gets you to the five star rating?

Multiple forms of communication are expected by parents in a 5 star quality program including phone calls, emails, videos, and newsletters. Personal phone calls home giving a positive referral by the teacher should happen throughout the year. Up to date social media sites sharing happenings in the schools with pictures to spark dinner table co…


It is that time of year once again. That magical time where everything feels new, feels fresh:new school supplies, new haircuts, new teachers, new hopes for a fresh start. Children enter their classrooms with hopes and dreams for success, for a teacher who cares about them, and for peers who will treat them with kindness, respect, and dignity. They deserve nothing less. We have the power to make that happen and it is our commitment to serve up nothing less than 5 star quality educational experiences for every child who enters our doors.

Teachers have been working hard all summer to craft lessons that garner excitement. We have been discovering new technology to use in the classroom that will excite the children.  Countless hours have been spent sprucing up the buildings with paint, gardening, and tlc! (Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped with this!)

Our beginning of the year kick off cluster meetings featured introductions of staff members new to our county. We all jumped o…

Summer Harvest

One of the many blessings of living in a rural Southern area is the bountiful harvest from summer gardens. I have been the happy recipient of treasures such a tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumbers, and even okra from coworkers' gardens. To be back in Tennessee again and see a dinner plate that comes completely from a garden is a treat to behold. The colors, the smells, and the tastes-oh my!

I have been equally blessed to learn of the many treasures that Cheatham County Schools has to offer! The treasures here are equally as rich! For example, I was so happy to learn of the Academic Specialists in place. These specialists serve as coaches and for sure, every teacher deserves a coach. Our most elite athletes in the world pay dearly for multiple coaches to help them with the most minute parts of their game. Why should teachers not be afforded the same to help them get to the levels equivalent to an elite athlete? Surely the work that teachers do is far more valuable than a professional a…

Three Legged Stool

Education is like a three legged stool. For the stool to stand, the weight must be distributed equally with all legs holding up their portion. The three legs represent the school, the student, and the parents or caregivers of the student. All have an equal yet different responsibility in the education of a child.

The school has the responsibility for providing a safe and respectful environment in which to learn. A guaranteed and viable curriculum must be delivered daily to all students. Classes and opportunities should be available to develop the whole child including art, music, physical and vocational education. Opportunities to develop 21st Century skills should be offered to give students chances to collaborate in meaningful ways. Students need lessons that require them to create, analyze and use higher order thinking skills. Finally, the schools should develop relationships with students that give them mentors, role models, and caring adults in their lives.

Parents are their chil…


I am excited to begin my journey as Director of Schools in Cheatham County, TN. In thinking about my vision for this wonderful school district, I think perhaps I can best describe myself as the Lead Learner in the district, thus the name for this blog. What is my vision? What do I hope to accomplish this first year? Let me first begin with the term LEARNER:

L-I will be a solid listener. I want to learn about what is working, what the stakeholders are most proud of, and what the areas of need are. I will learn about the culture and the politics of the community. I want to hear about the principals' and directors' hopes and goals for the schools, for the children, and for Cheatham County as a whole. Once I have gathered all of this qualitative data I can begin to craft a plan collaboratively as to where we want to be in 5 years.

E-I hope to empower others to use their strengths and talents to collectively create a think tank of innovation for the district. What are staff members&…