Nashville’s public school district has a new technology chief.
John M. Williams has been hired as the new Metro Nashville Public Schools director of information technology, Director of Schools Jesse Register announced Tuesday. Williams has worked at the director level for public school districts in Atlanta and Orlando, as well as in the capacity of senior manager for technical services for MCI Communications.
“He brings some real assets as an administrator,” Register said when announcing the appointment Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
Williams starts work next Monday. More than 130 applied for the job, according to MNPS.
The position is likely to be a high-profile one, if events of the last year are any indicator. Technology at MNPS has come under serious political fire, as the district’s use of the Chancery data system has been named one of the culprits behind consistent holes in student attendance data. The attendance issue has come under fire from Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas and Mayor Karl Dean.
MNPS student information also drew the public spotlight last school year, when data leaked by a Tennessee Department of Education contractor resulted in the release of personal identifying information — including Social Security numbers — for more than 18,000 Metro students. The error was not an MNPS issue, and the company responsible for the breach has said there were no indications that anyone tried to deliberately access the data.
The district’s current technology chief, long-time administrator Lance Lott, is stepping down to become a teacher. He’ll start teaching business classes this fall at Cane Ridge High, and will also coach girls’ softball. A statement from MNPS referred to this transition as the pursuit of “a dream” for Lott, who has taken separate coursework over the last few years to prepare to teach. Register said Tuesday that he will welcome Lott back to the central office, if Lott chooses to return.