TDOE Announces School Letter Grades Working Group Members

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 | 02:09pm


Nearly 300 Public Comments Submitted

NASHVILLE, TN — As the next phase of the engagement process on how to determine School Letter Grades, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the working group members representing district and school leaders, elected officials, parents, and education stakeholders to review the public comment submitted and make recommendations on the new calculations for each letter grade.

In 2016, T.C.A. § 49-1-228 was established and required the department to develop a school letter grading system beginning in 2017-18 to provide parents and families with information that shows how our public schools are performing. The state’s letter grade legislation is intended to provide a snapshot of how each school performed during the previous academic year and compare those results over time. 

Following passage of the legislation, testing administration issues and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed a roll-out of school letter grades as part of Tennessee’s state accountability system. Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Education is requiring adjustments to components of Tennessee’s plan to comply with federal accountability requirements. Nevertheless, after months of coordination and discussions with Tennessee elected officials and stakeholders, the department is prepared to move forward in creating a calculation for school letter grades.

During August and September, nearly 300 public comments were submitted from Tennesseans on their top priorities for measuring a school’s academic success, and how the state should measure progress towards those priorities. Public comments were submitted via e-mail, written, and also during the 10 town halls hosted in each region of the state.

“This next phase of work brings us one step closer to fulfilling the state’s promise to its citizens to create a letter grade calculation for schools that is transparent, meaningful and easy to understand,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “This group will move forward with those goals in mind to help create calculations to clearly show how Tennessee’s schools are performing so they can target student academic needs.”

The School Letter Grades Working Group will deliberate and determine the new school letter grades calculations. All working group meetings and materials will be posted online for the public to access. View the schedule for the working group meetings here:

  • Thursday, October 5: Meeting 1- Introductions & Overview of the Task at Hand
  • Tuesday, October 10: Meeting 2- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Achievement
  • Thursday, October 12: Meeting 3- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Growth
  • Monday, October 16: Meeting 4- Required Component of the A-F Calculation: Other Indicators
  • Friday, October 20: Meeting 5- Putting it All Together: Weighting

Members of the School Letter Grades Working Group include:

  • Aleah Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE)  
  • Bob Eby, Chairman, Tennessee State Board of Education  
  • Bob Nardo, Executive Director, Libertas School of Memphis  
  • Chrisi Bollinger, Analytics, Strategy, and Special Projects, Emerald Charter Schools  
  • Christy Carrol Highfill, Vice President of Advocacy, TN PTA  
  • Christy Hovanetz, Senior Policy Fellow, ExcelinEd  
  • Corby King, Director of Schools, Putnam County Schools  
  • Debra Moody, House Education Instruction Committee Chairlady 
  • Eddie Pruett, Director of Schools, Gibson County Special School District  
  • Erin O’Hara Block, School Board Member, Metro-Nashville Public Schools  
  • Francisco Moreno, Parent  
  • Gini Pupo Walker, Executive Director, Ed Trust  
  • Harold Love Jr., House Education Administration Committee Member
  • JC Bowman, Executive Director & CEO, Professional Educators of Tennessee  
  • Jean Luna-Vedder, Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools  
  • Jenna Sharp, Principal, Clinton City Schools  
  • Jim Mcintyre, Dean of the College of Education and Assistant Provost for Academic Excellence, Belmont University  
  • Joey Vaughn, Director of Schools, Manchester City Schools  
  • Jon Lundberg, Senate Education Committee Chairman
  • Kevin Deck, Assessment Analyst, Williamson County Schools  
  • Kim Inglish, 2022-23 Teacher of the Year Grand Division Winner, Murfreesboro City Schools  
  • Kirk Haston, House K-12 Education Subcommittee Chairman 
  • Kyle Loudermilk, 2022-23 Principal of the Year, Kingsport City Schools  
  • Margaret Bright, Teacher, Lenoir City Schools  
  • Maria Paula Zapata, Director of Programs, Conexion Americas  
  • Mark White, House Education Administration Chairman 
  • Mary Graham, President, United Ways of Tennessee  
  • Melissa Collins, 2022-23 Teacher of the Year, Memphis-Shelby County Schools  
  • Missy Testerman, 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, Rogersville City Schools  
  • Nate Morrow, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Norma Gerrell, Director of Schools, Paris Special School District  
  • Patsy Hazlewood, House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee Chairlady 
  • Russell Dyer, Director of Schools Cleveland City Schools  
  • Ryan Holt, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director, Memphis Lift
  • Sara Morrison, Executive Director, State Board of Education  
  • Scott Cepicky, House Education Instruction Subcommittee Chairman    
  • Tammy Garrett, Director of Schools, Bedford County Schools  
  • Tanya Coates, President, Tennessee Education Association 
  • Tim Parrott, Director of Schools, Anderson County Schools  
  • Tim Ware, Executive Director, Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School  
  • Tyler Salyer, Principal, Collierville Schools  
  • Venita Doggett, Director of Advocacy, Memphis Education Fund  
  • Victor Evans, Executive Director, TennesseeCAN  
  • Warren Wells, Board Member, State Board of Education  
  • Wendy Hansard, Assistant Principal, Knox County Schools  
  • Yetta Lewis, CEO, Gestalt Community Schools

Learn more about these school letter grades here. For media inquiries, contact