Mary Catherine Bradshaw, a teacher who earned a sterling reputation during nearly 30 years at Hillsboro High School, has been replaced as the International Baccalaureate program leader in a shakeup that has led to much criticism of the school and administrators. Sharon Chaney, coordinator of advanced academics at Hillsboro High, will take Bradshaw’s place, according to a news release issued by Metro Nashville Public Schools late Thursday afternoon.
According to those close to the teacher, Bradshaw will be transferred to another school by the end of the semester. Metro schools’ news release doesn't give any reason. It only notes that the teacher will continue on with the school district.
But consult the Facebook page with nearly 1,300 members as of this writing — primarily friends and grateful current and former students — and theories abound.
Sources familiar with the situation say Bradshaw was approached during spring break by Hillsboro High principal Terry Shrader, who told her she'd be “happier” at another school. Neither Shrader nor associate superintendent for high schools Jay Steele responded to interview requests.
Bradshaw’s ouster appears oddly timed, as a record number of Hillsboro students applied to the IB program this year. As well, a record number graduated from the IB program in the 2009-2010 school year — more than any other school in the state. In fact, the Hillsboro cluster offers the only kindergarten-through-12th-grade IB continuum in the state, and it is one of only a few in the country.
Paula Jennings, mother of two Hillsboro grads, said Bradshaw was the reason teachers and administrators from schools around state would come to observe the Hillsboro model.
“None of this would have happened without Mary Catherine,” Jennings said.
Among the many students on which Bradshaw has left an impression was Metro Councilman Erik Cole.
“I would not be in public service, I would not be in politics, if not for her,” he said.