The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has announced its new five-year strategic plan to help sustain and advance Tennessee’s momentum and success as the fastest-improving state in the nation in student achievement.
Since 2009, SCORE, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, has been an active and leading player in collaboratively supporting Tennessee’s work to better prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
“Since we last set forth on our most recent strategic plan four years ago, Tennessee has become the fastest improving state in the nation in student achievement — a real testament to the hard work of teachers, students, parents, and local and state education leaders,” said Senator Bill Frist, M.D., former U.S. Senate Majority leader and SCORE’s founder and chairman.
“We are grateful to the many leaders and citizens who have partnered with SCORE in our work as convener, consensus-builder, and communicator in Tennessee,” Frist said. “With all of that work and success, and Tennessee’s changing education environment, comes the need to re-examine and refocus SCORE’s goals and priorities for the next five years to help make sure even more students in our state are prepared for the future. SCORE’s work in the coming years is clear – the organization will drive collaboration across the state on policy and practice to ensure student success.”
SCORE’s strategy to 2020 – which is the result of six months of work with SCORE’s Board of Directors, Steering Committee, and partners throughout the state – includes three bold student achievement goals and indicators of progress:
1. Tennessee must continue to be among the fastest-improving states in the country and to rank in the top half of all states in student achievement as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) by 2020.
2. Tennessee must close all student achievement gaps – at every grade level and subject area – by income, race, geographic location, and student need. These gaps should be narrowing on both state and national assessments by 2020.
3. Every Tennessee student must graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce, and postsecondary enrollment and persistence rates by 2020 should be supporting achievement of the Drive to 55.
In addition to these goals, SCORE’s work will be based on three pillars that are grounded in the best data, research, and practices on what improves student achievement:
Empowering People – Every classroom, school, and district in Tennessee must be led by passionate and effective teachers, principals, and superintendents. This requires Tennessee to better recruit, develop, and retain high-quality talent.
Insisting on High Expectations – Rigorous standards, aligned to quality assessments, should set the clear expectation that all Tennessee students are capable of high levels of achievement.
Fostering a Culture of Innovation – A culture of innovation must extend from the system level through each school and classroom, and the policies and resources that govern schools must create an environment where innovation can thrive. New ideas must be sought and successful models must be embraced wherever they are found.
“To accomplish these bold goals, SCORE’s work will be guided by strategic priorities that will drive collaboration in Tennessee on policy and practice,” said Jamie Woodson, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SCORE. “Our priorities are to advocate for critical policies that advance student success, convene and support state and local partners around a shared student-focused agenda, promote the implementation of promising practices that work, and foster and support strong networks of education leaders, from teachers to superintendents. This is the time to lean in to the work, a commitment that is shared by Senator Frist, our board, and our executive leadership team.”
To help the organization better align its leadership to its strategic priorities, and to ensure a sustainable organization for the future, Frist and Woodson also announced roles for SCORE’s executive leadership team:
Jamie Woodson will continue as CEO and will assume the role of Executive Chairman. In this capacity, Woodson will continue to set the strategic vision of the organization, in collaboration with the Board of Directors, and will lead SCORE’s executive team. In addition, she will continue to lead SCORE’s efforts to build and strengthen partnerships with leaders in Tennessee and across the nation. Woodson has been a leading figure in spearheading Tennessee’s efforts to better prepare students for postsecondary and career for many years. Prior to leading SCORE, she served for more than 12 years in the Tennessee General Assembly in both the House and Senate, serving as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and later as Senate Speaker Pro Tempore.
David Mansouri will become the organization’s new President, leading the day-to-day implementation of SCORE’s strategic plan and directing all programs and initiatives, as well as overseeing the organization’s financial and operational efforts. As SCORE’s Executive Vice President, Mansouri led SCORE’s advocacy, communications, outreach, policy, and research work. Prior to joining SCORE in 2010, Mansouri worked in public relations and political consulting for the late U.S. Senator Fred Thompson and at the Tennessee Republican Party. Mansouri also serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Nashville Classical Charter School, a public elementary school in East Nashville whose mission is to prepare every child – no matter his or her starting point – for college.
Sharon Roberts, currently Chief Operating Officer, will become the organization’s new Chief Strategy Officer. She will lead the organization’s work to cultivate and support leaders across the state who are at the forefront of implementing student-centered work in their schools and districts. Roberts is uniquely qualified to take on these new responsibilities given her deep relationships and respect among educators and leaders across the state. Prior to joining SCORE, Roberts served as Director of the Lebanon (Tennessee) Special School District. She began her career in education as a special education teacher in the Grainger County School System, then worked for more than 21 years in the Knox County School System where she served as a teacher, instructional coach, principal, and assistant superintendent.
Senator Frist will continue to lead the organization’s board of directors as chairman and will remain deeply involved in the organization’s work.
“This executive leadership team will set up SCORE for success in the coming years and will allow us to expand our impact in advancing student achievement,” Woodson said. “David’s transition reflects our priority to ensure a sustainable future for SCORE and to build and grow leaders within our organization. It also reflects the tremendous confidence our board and I have in his abilities and leadership. As our work to support networks of educators grows, this transition will also allow Sharon to deeply engage in work that she is passionate about and uniquely positioned to do – supporting and growing leadership in districts across our state. There is no one in our state better suited to lead this work than Sharon Roberts.”