CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System started the 2022-2023 school year under new leadership Monday.

The School Board voted back in May to select Dr. Jean Luna-Vedder as the next Director of Schools.

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“We’re very excited to start the school year, it’s great to be back in the district working with teachers working with faculty staff,” said Dr. Luna-Vedder. “I think every one is excited to be coming off of the last couple of years. Obviously, it’s been a rough couple of years and we know that there’s still a lot of work to do and there’s some struggles ahead of us. But everyone seems to be very optimistic to be getting started.”

The district has about 55 open teaching positions, and they hired and onboarded more than four hundred teachers over the summer.

“We are seeing much of those same trends that you see statewide, you see nationwide, we have some openings still in the secondary when you’re looking at science, math, special education,” she said. “But we also have an amazing staff here who is thinking very creatively.”

Dr. Luna-Cedder said safety is a top concern and she’s excited about the additional support they’re getting on campuses this year from school resource officers.

She says they have an intentional focus on literacy and math as well. Looking at scores and results, disrict leaders are optimistic about the growth they’ve seen, but there’s still room to grow. She also wants parents to know district leaders want them to be involved in their children’s education.

“Our message to the entire community is that we know we’re better together. And so we are here to listen to feedback, to respond,” she said. “I think we want to be responsive to working with parents, partners, industry, and anything that they have to tell us know that we want to work with them and we’re listening, and that we know the responsibility and the privilege it is to get to work with their children every day and we do want to hear from them.”

She says post secondary readiness is also a big priority and making sure students are graduating and ready to attend community college or a university, or enter into the armed services or the workforce.