Adrienne Battle takes over Monday as the interim head of Metro Nashville Public Schools, following last week’s departure of director of schools Shawn Joseph after nearly three years in charge.
Battle has been with the district for more than 20 years. She’s served as a principal at the elementary and high school levels. And since 2017, she’s been one of the district’s four “community superintendents,” responsible for coordinating across all schools in Southeast Nashville’s Antioch, Cane Ridge and Glencliff clusters.
School board member Rachael Elrod says she believes that experience in the district will shield Battle from some of the negative attention received by Joseph.
“I’m hoping for Dr. Adrienne Battle that, [with] her already built relationships and successes within MNPS, that will die down,” Elrod said, “and there will not be this need to constantly get to her and that she’ll be able to do her work.”
Battle will be the first woman to lead Metro Nashville Public Schools. Elrod says she will likely be in the superintendent’s position for at least a year, while the district looks for a permanent replacement.
Joseph joined Metro Schools in 2016 from Prince George’s County, Md., where he was deputy superintendent. His tenure was marked by persistent criticism — including from several school board members — of his handling of spending, personnel and sexual harassment issues.
Joseph’s contract was supposed to run through the upcoming school year, but he agreed to a buyout of just over $260,000.