Revered teacher, IB coordinator leaves Metro Schools for LEAD

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 11:04pm

A long-revered Metro teacher and former International Baccalaureate coordinator is moving to Nashville’s largest charter school organization. 

Mary Catherine Bradshaw, whose 27-year run as teacher and later IB coordinator at Hillsboro ended in 2011, is heading to LEAD Public Schools, a Nashville charter network, where she will serve as dean of instruction of LEAD Academy High School. Bradshaw, who most recently taught at Martin Luther King Academic Magnet High School, will begin her new position Monday. 

“Joining the LEAD team represents a seamless extension of a mission that is both personal and professional — ensuring that all students, regardless of socio-economic status or geography, have an opportunity for a college prep education,” Bradshaw said. “I believe LEAD is a perfect fit.” 

The move comes 16 months after Bradshaw — who has a large following of students and parents — was transferred from Hillsboro to MLK following a well-publicized disagreement with Hillsboro administrators over the direction of Metro’s zoned high schools through “The Academies of Nashville.” 

The chamber-backed ‘Academies’ model seeks to bridge traditional coursework with career themes through business partnerships. Critics call the concept vocational education. 

In May, The City Paper reported Bradshaw was considering submitting an application to launch a new IB-oriented charter school dubbed Nashville International. For now, she plans to continue her career at LEAD as dean of instruction at its high school for the next two years. 

After two years in that role, Bradshaw plans to launch her originally conceived charter school, which may or may not be connected to LEAD.  

“Adding Mary Catherine to our team is a dream come true,” said Jeremy Kane, LEAD’s founder and CEO. “Anyone who’s met her knows that Mary Catherine, like LEAD, does whatever it takes to prepare every student for success in college and beyond.” 

LEAD, which opened six years ago in Nashville, has grown to become Nashville’s largest charter organization. Of Metro’s projected 3,000-plus charter students, approximately one-third attend one of LEAD’s four campuses. 

4 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 8/9/12 at 7:40

With the exeception of Julia Green and Hume Fogg the underclass and the unmotivated have pretty much taken over the MNPS. This woman wants to teach those that want to learn how to rise above their circumstances.

By: Bigguy on 8/9/12 at 8:06

Excellent move by LEAD and Ms. Bradshaw. This illustrates the marketplace power competition for students fosters. Great teachers are also positively impacted by competition for their services

Competition alone does not ensure success, but if left alone so the Darwinian survival of the fitness effect to kick-in it will produce success. This success will come at a cost equal to or less than the current per child cost of a public school education.

Since the Darwinian model is a favorite of those on the liberal side of the political aisle, I'd expect them to be full endorsers of Ms. Bradshaw's move. :-)

By: ChrisMoth on 8/9/12 at 8:59

This another great step forward for Charter schools who are committed to serving our kids in poverty. I fear that one problem with "choices", might be that some people in poverty are likely to sit out the "choice" process altogether. In my experience at Percy Priest and JT Moore, things like "Charter School Fairs" are going to bring out very few impoverished parents. JT Moore held a parent meeting at a library near our public housing students - and only two parents from nearby came out. Some 20 parents from the affluent neighborhood went a good distance to that meeting. It is time for members of our churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples to step up - and work with struggling families to navigate the bewildering array of Charter services that are available in nearby Charter Schools, like Lead.

Charter Schools are great - but until impoverished families are ushered into the system, Charter schools will never reach the wider community that we are failing so miserably in our zoned school mode.

We know that shackling sub-Proficient impovershed kids to our zoned schools fails them. Why do we insist on this practice - when the future is so much brighter for impoverished students at Charters?

Rasputin72: I think you mean "poverty" when you write "underclass". If not, tell us more about what "underclass" means. It feels like an unhelpful word, at first glance.

You will be happy to know that Percy Priest, at 10% Free and Lunch is also scoring averages at the very top of our schools. I don't care about average scores personally, I care that my child has access a great education - like the IB Program at Hillsboro High School. I hope you agree with me that it is crazy for us to spend $25,000,000 for an Arizona firm to bring us 5 new economically segregated schools. We should instead build more Hume-Foggs, Percy Priests, and Julia Greens ourselves. We already know how to economically segregate schools today in order to get stratospheric scores. Why again must we send $ to Arizona to get the job done? Why?

Chris Moth, 2020 Overhill Dr

By: govskeptic on 8/10/12 at 4:46

This may be what the opponents of Charter Schools fear. That motivated teachers
will join their staffs. The TEA and support chapters want to oppose these schools
so they can continue to keep the motivated in the same grouping, status, and
salary ranges of those less inclined (and there are many) that keep their union
dues paid and love the status quo of the last 30+ yrs.