Tag Archives: Renita Perkins

Tennessee State University Remains Key Pipeline to Recruit Metro Area Teachers

University Ranked No.1 Among Top 10 HBCU Teacher Producers 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renita Perkins is a second-generation graduate of Tennessee State University. Her mother, a retired teacher, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from TSU, and so did her daughter and son-in-law who are working on their doctorate degrees.

Renita Perkins, Principal, Taylor Stratton School of Excellence

“I continue to be a part of the school’s heritage,” said Perkins whose tie to TSU spans more than 30 years. “Tennessee State University is truly a ‘school of excellence.”

When it comes to excellence, many agree with Perkins, principal at Nashville’s Taylor Stratton School of Excellence, who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and Education Specialist degrees from TSU.

“Tennessee State taught me the value of professional collaboration and networking,” said Whitney Bradley, a 2009 TSU graduate and teacher at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School, who earlier this year was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” in her school, and for the Tennessee Mid-Cumberland Region, for her approach to team building. “I believe in highlighting the good in my team members so that we all shine together.”

With graduates like Perkins, Bradley and many others, teacher preparation is serious business at TSU, and a mainstay in the supply of qualified teachers and school administrators serving in the area and across the nation.

A year ago, as Metro Nashville Public Schools wrapped up the year with the need to hire or name principals to new assignments for 2014-15, TSU-trained teachers and administrators answered the call. With the exception of three, all of the 10 principals hired or assigned received all or part of their training from TSU. Perkins, who was named “Principal of the Year” in June by the Greater Nashville Alliance of Black Educators, was one of the newly assigned.

Unknown-1This achievement has earned the TSU teacher preparation program many national and local recognitions over the years. Just recently, HBCU Lifestyle, a publication dedicated to “black college living,” ranked TSU No. 1 among the “Top 10 HBCUs that Produce Teachers” in the nation. The publication, which provides HBCU students and their families with “valuable advice” about college admissions, campus life and financial aid resources, said TSU’s undergraduate and graduate offerings and concentrations in biology, chemistry and elementary education made the school’s teacher preparation program more attractive.

“Obviously we are very excited about this ranking,” Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy, said. “This only shows that Tennessee State University is a leader in this area as is reflected in the quality of students we are graduating.

Dean's Shot
Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter

The Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Kimberly King-Jupiter, was equally excited about the HBCU Lifestyle ranking. “We are thrilled about this No. 1 ranking,” she said. “Our goal is to contribute to the production of diverse, highly qualified and culturally responsive teachers who can meet the needs of all students.  We believe that when schools hire our candidates, they are capable of inspiring and helping students realize their own dreams.”

TSU has long been a popular spot to recruit top educators into the Nashville school system. During the 2013-2014 school year, of the 636 new hires, 54 were from TSU, second only to MTSU with 56. Vanderbilt University followed in the third spot with 44, along with Lipscomb and Trevecca Nazarene Universities, which tied for the fourth spot with 40 among area institutions pipelining students directly into Metro. In 2012, TSU beat out all area universities for the most teachers hired.

“We have a great working relationship with Metro schools, with nearly 9 percent of TSU’s teachers going on to teach within the school system over the past two years,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, associate dean of the College of Education, about a year ago. “We have a direct pipeline with our students who are highly recruited. In fact, some of our students have been offered positions prior to finishing their program.”

According to Richards, one of the most successful programs is the Ready2Teach training that students receive in their senior year. An undergraduate teacher residency preparation program, Ready2Teach emphasizes problem-based learning, co-teaching, and performance-based assessment.

“This (program) gives our students the opportunity to stay in the same class the entire year and receive valuable training with the same students and mentor teacher. Students in the program are ready to teach after just four years and are prepared to walk into a classroom and teach immediately,” Richards added.

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.