In North Nashville’s Whites Creek neighborhood, the Brick Church school building has been a staple for generations. In 2012, Brick Church became part of the LEAD network through a partnership with the state, and the school has risen to a new level of excellence with the motto #WatchUsGrow.
Principal Kathryn McKinzie has been invested in seeing Brick Church middle schoolers grow from the start of her time at LEAD Public Schools. She first worked to codify the instructional coaching processes as LEAD’s director of organizational learning, and then moved to supporting academic work at Brick specifically. In 2022, she took on the role of principal at LEAD Brick Church.
“Brick is an amazing community of students, staff, and families,” said McKinzie. “We have deep roots in the local community – lots of siblings and extended family members, and even parents who went to the school when they were younger. It’s a joy to watch our students grow and, as they move on to high school, to continue the process with their younger siblings.”
“We are rewriting the narrative of what is possible for students in this community. Our students are amazing, powerful, talented individuals.“ – Kathryn McKinzie, LEAD Brick Church Principal.
Frank Pillow has been at Brick Church for five years, where he started as a student support coordinator and then transitioned to the classroom as a seventh grade math teacher. Since then, he has taught both sixth and eighth grade math and also serves as the school’s athletic director.
For Pillow, the uniqueness of LEAD Brick Church lies in the people on his team.
“From the janitorial team to admin, everyone has a ‘we can do it together’ type of mentality,” Pillow said. “It’s truly something special and amazing to be a part of. It allows our scholars to believe not only in themselves but also in the staff members that support them daily. We are not just a school, we are a family!”
“The thing I love most about my job is building relationships with the scholars. You can walk the halls here and see high fives, fist bumps, and hugs.” – Frank Pillow, Teacher at LEAD Brick Church.
Aniyah Crutcher, a seventh-grade student at LEAD Brick Church, is a second-generation Brick Church student–something that makes her experience unique. Aniyah plans to pursue cosmetology or nursing, thanks in part to the support she has received at LEAD.
“LEAD Brick Church has good teachers and counselors to talk to, and we have academic classes like intervention to help you even more.” – Aniyah Crutcher, 7th Grader at LEAD Brick Church.
Carmontez Williams, an eighth-grade student at Brick Church, reinforced that multiple interventions and one-on-one support at the school are important academic resources that have bolstered his educational journey.
On a weekly basis, all Brick Church students meet with a dedicated faculty or staff member for small group counseling called CREW. Through this process, students learn about personal growth and are able to bond with their peers and one adult to open up about issues they may not feel comfortable sharing in a classroom setting.
“CREWs and clubs bring us together,” said Carmontez.
As LEAD Brick Church follows its mission to grow students academically, the school also is committed to providing and upholding an environment in which students and staff feel safe, seen, and valued. With the ongoing leadership and dedication of staff members like McKinzie and Pillow, LEAD Brick Church remains a place where the team works together and supports each other, even when it’s hard, putting students at the center of every action.
LEAD Brick Church may not be the largest school in the network, but they are proud of the place they call home. Last spring at Senior Signing Day, Brick Church students were the loudest bunch and won the cheer-off between schools!
For more information about LEAD Brick Church, please visit: https://leadpublicschools.org/schools/brick-church/