The Spring 2019 class of Rutherford County Schools' Aspiring Administrators Academy.
The Spring 2019 class of Rutherford County Schools' Aspiring Administrators Academy.

By KIRSTIN TAYLOR
Rutherford County Schools

Rutherford County Schools has been selected by the American Association of School Personnel administrators to receive the C.S. Robinson Award for innovations and leadership in the field of human resources.

This year, the award’s theme was “Total Rewards” which prompted applicants to share “how their district has introduced creative measures, including culture changes, to regard and retain employees in the face of a shrinking budget.”

The required essays and materials were written and collected by Dr. Andrea Anthony, assistant superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services.

Dr. Anthony, who has led the department since 2017, highlighted the Aspiring Administrators Academy (AAA) as the district’s most successful HR innovation of the past year.

“The AAA is taught by central office administrators and district-level administrators to help candidates gain knowledge on school culture and instructional leadership to be a change agent,” Dr. Anthony explained.

The seven-week program’s curriculum focuses on strengths-based leadership and comprehensive understanding of the “theoretical and experimental [bases]” of effective school management.

This year, the program saw 10 of its participants reach administrative roles within the district.

“We doubled our initial goal of five,” Dr. Anthony said. “Plus, another participant received a principal position with Murfreesboro City Schools. Even outside of the county (district), they saw fit to move her straight from the classroom to principal.”

The AASPA is the only education human resources organization in the nation and has an 81-year history of providing resources and opportunities for education personnel administrators. As a dedicated member, Dr. Anthony has been writing for the organization’s quarterly publication the past three years. She has been recognized at a national conference and spoken at national and state gatherings and in webinars.

Her essay detailing the AAA’s formation, implementation, and outcomes was featured in August in the AASPA Best Practices magazine. In October, she will be presenting on the same subject at the AASPA’s national conference in New Orleans.

Dr. Anthony has a storied and impressive history as an educator in Middle Tennessee. She began her career as a math teacher at Riverdale High School.

As she moved through the ranks she earned her doctorate, as well as a law degree, while working in the classroom and administration. After a 12-year tenure as a principal in Williamson County, she returned to RCS as the secondary coordinator in the district’s instruction department in 2015. Two years later, she was named to her current position as the head of human resources.

Connection among colleagues and students is what she enjoys most about the work she does.

“I think my personality lends me to be a relationship-builder,” Dr. Anthony said, continuing, “That’s what I love about school.”

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