Photo Credit: Metro Nashville Schools and Google Maps
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, announced last week the appointment of a new Chief of Human Resources as well as bifurcation of the Chief Operating Officer position, elevation of an existing position into the Chief Strategy Officer role for the district, and additional leadership overseeing athletics.
Maura Sullivan will serve as the newly redefined Chief Operating Officer for Metro Schools after serving for more than five years in the COO position for the City of Chattanooga for former Mayor Andy Berke.
According to a press release issued by Metro Nashville Schools, Sullivan brings more than a decade of experience in Memphis and Shelby County as the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Memphis, as well as the Assistant Superintendent of Planning and Student Services for Shelby County Schools from 2000-2008.
“No one can overstate the immense importance of education to our state, now more than ever, and as districts like MNPS continue to recover from the pandemic and look to the future, I can’t think of a better place for me to be,” said Sullivan. “I’ve been fortunate throughout my career in public service to work alongside fantastic leaders in several great cities, from members of Congress to mayors of both county and city governments and the superintendent of Shelby County Schools, and I’m excited to join Dr. Battle and her terrific team in Nashville.”
Sullivan will oversee the transportation, security, and facilities and maintenance divisions while providing key strategic insight to district leadership on how to improve and streamline operations for enhanced customer service.
Mayor Tim Kelly said in response to Sullivan’s new appointment, “I thank Maura Sullivan for her service to Chattanooga and wish her well as she moves on to an exciting new role in public education—an issue near and dear to my heart, and critical for Tennessee’s future economic success. Maura has been a real asset during the initial months of our administration’s transition and helped kickstart our efforts to build an equitable recovery and ensure this community stewards our federal relief funds wisely. I know Maura’s extensive experience in public service will benefit the children of Nashville as she takes on this exciting new role.”
Battle said, ““Effective leadership is essential to creating the environment necessary for the growth and success of our students, teachers, schools, and all the team members here at MNPS,” said Dr. Battle. “I’m saddened to see one of those leaders, Dr. Chris Barnes, leaving the district, but I’m immensely appreciative of his work in building a stronger HR department and developing a culture of support for our schools. Dr. Keri Randolph and Melissa Roberge have both been key leaders in the district over the last year and a half and will continue to be vital to our success in their new roles, and I’m looking forward to welcoming Maura Black Sullivan to MNPS to strengthen our operations through innovation and implementation of best practices learned from around the country.”
Dr. Chris Barnes has announced he will be leaving the district after accepting a position as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources with New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina to be closer to his family, who are experiencing some health challenges. Dr. Barnes has led the Human Resources department since January of 2020, where he initiated the district’s Hire Forward initiative and helped establish the central office as a Support Hub for schools, staff, and families alike.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve with Dr. Battle and help lead the transformation of the central office to the Support Hub,” said Dr. Barnes. “I’m sad to leave the district, but I know that great things will continue to happen because of the wonderful team members throughout the district who are dedicated to student success.”
Melissa Roberge, who currently serves in the Metro Law Department as the team leader for Metro Schools, will take over from Dr. Barnes as Chief of Human Resources upon his departure. Roberge has been a vital resource to the district in helping to shape administrative policies and advise HR and other departments on navigating through the pandemic while ensuring that the needs of our employees were being met. She brings with her more than a decade of experience in Metro Legal developing knowledge and experience of local, state, and federal laws that guide our education system. In addition to serving as Chief of HR, Roberge will also serve as the general counsel for the district to provide legal guidance and act as a liaison with Metro Legal.
“Our human resources at Metro Schools are the most important component of our organization’s ability to support the academic and social-emotional growth of students,” said Roberge. “I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Battle to retain and recruit great team members while also ensuring the rights of employees are respected and we work collaboratively towards establishing and reaching the shared goals of staff and district leadership.”
Chris Henson, who has been serving as Chief Operating Officer overseeing operations and finances, will return to his previous position as Chief Financial Officer for the district. Henson is one of the foremost experts in Tennessee on school finances and the Basic Education Program (BEP) funding formula.
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Dr. Keri Randolph, our Executive Officer of Strategic Partnerships, will continue her leadership in the district in the role of Chief Strategy Officer, reflecting the immense impact she has had in developing the initiatives and programs that have helped our students and schools recover from the pandemic. Dr. Randolph has overseen the creation and implementation of the Navigator program, Promising Scholars, ESSER planning, and the Accelerating Scholars high-impact tutoring program.
“We have faced incredible challenges that can become great opportunities with the leadership of Dr. Battle and the great team here at MNPS,” said Dr. Randolph. “By leveraging all available financial and community resources, we can be a model for innovation built upon effective stakeholder input, empirical data, and evidence-based strategies that will support the success of our students and educators.”
The district will also be expanding the athletics division by creating dedicated supports for the elementary and middle tiers along with high school sports. Roosevelt Sanders, the current athletics director, will focus on supporting and expanding our athletic programming at elementary and middle schools, while Mark North, currently serving as government relations liaison for the district, will oversee the high school athletic programs.
Metro Schools will transition these supports to schools during Fall Break starting October 8.