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School Zone: Recapping a busy few weeks at WCS

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Golden signed contract

School Board Chairman Gary Anderson and Vice Chairman Nancy Garrett flank Jason Golden after the signing of Golden’s contract.

Williamson County Schools have been busy this month with new hires and celebrations as they gear up for the coming school year.  

Here’s a recap of the month of June: 

WCS signs Golden as permanent superintendent 

After acting as interim superintendent for several weeks, the Williamson County Board of Education approved a four-year contract to take Jason Golden on as superintendent. 

The contract quotes a $270,504 salary — the same as former Superintendent Mike Looney, who left the district to become superintendent of Fulton County Schools in Georgia. Golden said he felt, if the board valued his work, he ought to receive what the schools had already been paying for a superintendent. 

With a law background, Golden got his start at WCS as the district’s attorney in 2006, working his way up over the years to deputy superintendent, which made him a natural choice for superintendent, according to WCS Communications Director Carol Birdsong. 

As interim superintendent, he held several meet-and-greet sessions with parents, school board members and other constituents, where he voiced his “students first” approach to the leadership role. During these sessions, he discussed teacher salary, the district’s shortage of bus drivers, upcoming opportunities for students like the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, and cyberbullying, among other things. 

Golden’s first official day in the role was June 18. Read the Herald’s profile on Golden and his goals for WCS here and more about his finalized contract here

New principals selected for Centennial and Hillsboro 

In the vein of new leadership, WCS has also chosen new principals for Centennial High School and Hillsboro Elementary Middle School: Dr. Meghen Sanders and Cameron Gish, respectively. 

Sanders started in education as a high school English teacher for six years, later becoming a curriculum specialist and then a school administrator. She has served in three different administrative roles at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in Nashville since 2013, including vice principal of curriculum, instruction and data analysis; principal of the Academy of Entertainment Communication; and principal of the Academy of Entertainment Management. 

Beyond a background in English, data analysis and entertainment, Sanders is also certified to teach history and English as a second language. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English language arts education from Write State University in Dayton, Ohio. She then attended Middle Tennessee State University for a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in instructional technology. Finally, she pursued a doctorate at Tennessee State University in curriculum design. 

Last year, Academies of Nashville presented Sanders with the Academy Assistant Principal of the Year award. 

Meanwhile, as former Principal of Hillsboro Elementary School Alicia Justice moves on to lead the new middle school going up by Oak View Elementary, Gish will take over at Hillsboro. 

Gish actually started his education career at Hillsboro as a teacher in 2011. He then moved on to Mill Creek Middle School, where he has served as assistant principal for the last three years. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lipscomb University. 

Both new principals will officially step into their roles on July 1. 

Centennial teacher advances to Grammy Music Educator Award quarterfinals 

Centennial High School’s choral director, Johnathan Vest, found his name among the 189 quarterfinalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award. 

This award seeks to recognize music instructors — kindergarten through college, private and public — who have made significant contributions to their field. Teachers can be nominated by students, parents, friends, school administrators or anyone who wishes to honor a music teacher’s impact. 

This year, the list of quarterfinalists come from 179 cities across the country. 

The seventh annual awardee will be announced at the 2020 Grammy Awards, and the top 10 finalists and their schools will each receive a $1,000 honorarium. The 15 semifinalists will be chosen in September. 

Fairview High students land three medals at Telly Awards 

After creating a feature-length film called “Minus One,” a group of Fairview High School media students took home three medals at the 40th Annual Telly Awards, which honors the best in video and television. 

Open to those of any amount of experience, the students competed against amateur filmmakers as well as major studios like Netflix and Warner Bros. 

“Minus One” earned silver medals in the General Entertainment and General Student categories, also bringing in a bronze in General Low Budget. 

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