Metro School Director Joseph defends himself before a divided room

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Dr. Shawn Joseph publicly addressed the Metro Nashville school board for the first time since announcing plans not to renew his contract. 

The board’s values and my values are just a little different right now, Joseph said. The board’s focusing on adults, and I’d like to be in a place where we can continue to focus on kids. 

The room was packed with teachers in red shirts and those who support the superintendent, who has been surrounded by controversy for the past year.

If there was a mistake I made, it was that I pushed too hard with too little resources and as a result people made errors, Joseph said. 

The State Board of Education announced plans Tuesday to possibly suspend his teaching license.

The state claims Joseph repeatedly missed deadlines for reporting alleged misconduct by district employees.

At the meeting, Joseph talked about the progress that’s been made during his tenure, including reducing suspensions, creating an early college program, and more charter schools. 

For the second year in a row, every student group, every student group in every grade tested grew faster than the nation, Joseph said at the meeting. 

The room was split between those saddened by Joseph leaving next year and those who say they’re relieved.

I am disappointed, said Clementine Chamberlain. I’m very saddened because he has focused on student success. He has focused on teachers being teachers.

Is this the type of person we want to work for anymore? said teacher Keri King. Is he supporting us? We’re seeing that less and less and less. Now, that he’s gone maybe we can get somebody that’ll be there and support us more.

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