In 2014, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted the law establishing the State Board as an appellate authorizer of charter schools. Since then, the State Board has authorized three charter schools: one located in Memphis, TN and two in Nashville, TN.
The State Board's first authorized charter school opened in Memphis, TN for the 2017-2018 school year. Operated by Green Dot Public Schools Tennessee, Bluff City High School currently serves grades 9-11 and will serve grades 9-12 when fully grown. Additionally, the State Board's second and third authorized charter schools are located in Nashville, TN. KIPP Antioch College Prep Elementary School opened for the 2018-2019 school year and KIPP Antioch College Prep Middle School opened for the 2019-2020 school year. Both schools are operated by KIPP Nashville.
Want to learn more about the State Board's charter authorization process?
One of the priorities in the State Board’s Master Plan is to insist that all students have access to high-quality schools regardless of zip code, prior achievement, or demographics.
As an authorizer, the State Board strives to fulfill this priority by increasing families' access to high-quality charter schools.
Meet our Director of Schools
Dr. Sara Heyburn Morrison joined the Tennessee State Board of Education as their Executive Director in January 2015. In this role, she works with the nine-member, Governor appointed, legislatively confirmed, board on policy review and development across all areas of Tennessee K-12 education. The state board also plays an important role in oversight of K-12 implementation, which involves close partnership with the Department of Education, educator stakeholders, and members of the Tennessee General Assembly.
Dr. Morrison first began working for the State of Tennessee in July 2010 as the K-12 policy advisor in the Governor's Office. From November 2011 through December 2014, she served as Assistant Commissioner of Teachers and Leaders at the Tennessee Department of Education where she directed and oversaw policy implementation related to increasing teacher and leader effectiveness. During this time, Tennessee became the fastest improving state in the nation in student achievement.
Annually, the State Board will evaluate each authorized charter school and make the results of all evaluations accessible to the public. The State Board's first annual report was published following the 2017-2018 school year. Each annual report will be based on the State Board's approved charter school performance framework.