Dr. Shawn Joseph addresses Metro teachers amid growing controversy

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Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph formally addressed teachers and employees on Wednesday following a day of increasing controversy regarding his leadership of the district. 

The Tennessee Board of Education confirmed Tuesday that they recommended Joseph’s educator’s license be suspended for one year because of the district’s repeated failure to report misconduct claims by teachers to the state in a timely manner. 

Multiple former teachers and employees of Metro Nashville Public Schools are currently suing the district for the alleged mishandling of those sexual misconduct claims. 

District employees have also raised concerns about the lack of cost of living raises for teachers and growing issues of violence caused by students. 

The city is seemingly split when it comes to Joseph’s leadership — from the members of Metro Council to the parents sending their children to school each day. 

On one hand, some members of the Davidson Co. School Board have repeatedly called for Joseph’s resignation in the last year. On the other hand, the Metro Council Minority Caucus and other leaders have rallied around him, calling into question the tactics used against him instead.

The one goal everyone has in common is finding out what’s best for the kids. 

In an email sent to all teachers, titled “Staying Focused on the Children,” Joseph wrote:

“Earlier this week, I officially announced that I will not seek a contract extension here at Metro Nashville Public Schools. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some of the most talented administrators, teachers and staff over my more than 20-year career in education. Everything I have done here has been in service to our more than 85,000 great students and their families. Nevertheless, I realize that we have reached a crossroads. My value system no longer aligns with that of some on the Board of Education.

“Regardless, I am proud of what has been accomplished. I have witnessed so many hardworking folks here who have risen above the noise and have stayed focused on our children. And for that, I am deeply grateful.

“On this past Tuesday night, I had the chance to express to the Board and to the community how I have seen my time in Nashville. I pray you will take my words to heart – particularly the plea for ensuring that every single child, no matter their race, zip code or social status receives the quality education he or she deserves. We must always remain focused on the tremendous work still ahead of this district and this community. Above all, we must never forget the children who need us.”

Shawn Joseph, Ed.D.
Director of Schools

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