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Center for the Improvement of Educational Systems Forges First Consulting Partnerships

Two Tennessee county school systems sign on for leadership training

Launched last fall with the hiring of former Metro Nashville Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register, the nonprofit Center for the Improvement of Educational Systems (CIES) announced today that it has signed on its first two school districts for consulting services and leadership training, with recently established Memorandums of Understanding with Warren County Schools and Maury  County Schools as part of the Center’s pilot year programming. The Center is the product of a collaboration between Belmont University and The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA). The Center is being formed to provide support and add capacity for local school districts to sustain successful systemic school improvement initiatives.

Register, who possesses nearly 30 years serving as a public school superintendent in Tennessee and North Carolina, said, “Our goal is to help develop highly effective district leadership teams of school boards and superintendents that are collaborative, understand governance structures and political context, and use effective short term and long term strategic planning processes. We will focus on fundamentals for sustained success and hope to work with partner districts over three to four year engagements.”

Dr. Tammy Grissom, executive director of the Tennessee School Boards Association and Belmont alumna, is collaborating with Register for the consultancy initiative. She added, “This partnership will enable us to fully develop the district leadership team concept. School boards and superintendents must have a common vision and strategic plan if system level progress is maintained.”

Once a district leadership team is established for each pilot school system, that team will complete a two-day orientation retreat and the School Board Academy “Planning a Joint Venture” workshop. The pilot programs will then participate in on-going work sessions and monthly consultations with CIES. As part of the consultation, an administrative Change Leadership Group will be formed in each district, modeled on research from the Change Leadership Group at Harvard University, to facilitate the implementation of the district’s strategic plan.

In addition, an accountability system will be implemented to measure progress and outcomes of the social, emotional and academic development of the district’s students. Ongoing engagement for each participating district will be developed based on a specific analysis of needs and capacities of each district.

Dr. Chris Marczak, director of schools for Maury County, said, “Maury County is excited to partner with Belmont University and the Center for the Improvement of Educational Systems to further our newly created Maury County Public Schools’ seven Keys to College and Career Readiness. The vast wealth of knowledge that Dr. Jesse Register brings to our district will accelerate the opportunities we are seeking for all students to have success with the Keys.”

Bobby Cox, director of schools for Warren County, added, “Warren County Schools is very excited to begin our partnership with the new Center for the Improvement of Educational Systems.  We are excited to partner with Belmont University and Dr. Register to help improve our district leadership, instructional practices and gain knowledge from such an accomplished and nationally recognized school leader as Dr. Register. Our district and school leadership as well as our board of education feel that this partnership will benefit the students and teachers of our school system now and will pay long lasting dividends improving student achievement in the future.”