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LIFT Education Voices Support for Teacher Licensure and Pay Reforms

Monday, June 24, 2013 | 06:03am

Nashville – LIFT Education, a new group of school superintendents from across Tennessee, today expressed their support for proposed reforms around Tennessee’s teacher licensure and renewal process as well as the way school districts compensate educators.  The group, Leading Innovation for Tennessee Education (LIFT Education), formally launched earlier this week.


“Even though we just recently began LIFT Education, we felt compelled to act quickly and decisively to support compensation and licensure reform alongside our endorsement of Common Core implementation,” said Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools.  “These efforts are closely aligned with our principles of high standards, effective teaching, and strong instructional leadership.  Licensure and compensation reform will have positive impacts on our districts, provide us with more flexibility, elevate the profession of teaching, and enable every student to have an excellent teacher in every classroom, every year.”


The state board of education is scheduled to consider a proposal to reform the state teacher licensing system, and to act on changes to the state minimum salary schedule for the 2013-14 school year. 


Proposed changes to teacher licensing include streamlining the types of licenses the state issues; introducing more rigorous entry standards into teacher training programs; tying advancement in the profession to performance; reducing the duration of the license; and making renewal automatic for teachers meeting minimum benchmarks.


If teacher pay reforms are approved, Tennessee’s mandated minimum pay scale will not require that districts pay all teachers the same way, a process that previously has been based solely on training and experience.  The new proposal will allow districts to include factors such as market demand or performance and, also for the first time, will provide a state increase in funding for teacher salaries (1.5% this year) that will be accompanied by school district flexibility in determining how best to use those new funds to pay teachers. 


LIFT Education members endorse and support the proposed policy changes because of the positive impact they believe the policies will have in their districts.  Linking compensation and licensure to teacher performance reinforces LIFT Education members’ shared priorities of effective classroom instruction and high expectations for students and teachers.  The policies also provide districts flexibility to design systems that are right for their local needs.


In advance of state board action on the bold new policies, the LIFT Education superintendents felt the need to state openly, directly and strongly their support for the leadership of Governor Haslam, Commissioner Huffman and the State Board of Education in continuing to push and align reforms with the goal of improving student outcomes.


Currently eight school directors make up LIFT Education and have coalesced around the effort’s guiding principles. Members include: Lyle Ailshie, Superintendent, Kingsport City Schools; Jerry Boyd, Director, Putnam County School System; Neel Durbin, Director, Dyersburg City Schools; Shawn Kimble, Superintendent, Lauderdale County School System; Vicki Kirk, Director, Greene County Schools; Jim McIntyre, Superintendent, Knox County Schools; Clint Satterfield, Director, Trousdale County Schools; and Jubal Yennie, Director, Sullivan County Department of Education.


For more information, contact Drew Kim: or (615) 289-8953.



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