LEAD was proud to welcome Tennessee’s new Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn to our Neely’s Bend campus as part of her statewide tour and first week on the job.

During her hour-long tour of the turnaround school Wednesday, Feb. 6, Schwinn met with students, visited classrooms, and learned about the progress made at Neely’s Bend since 2015.

“We saw students who wanted to be lawyers and astrophysicists and one I’d like to hire at the Department, frankly,” Commissioner Schwinn said.

The Commissioner’s visit brought reporters to hear Neely’s Bend story and resulted in TV stories across the state. (To watch the WKRN story, visit this link).

“When you see students who are so passionate about what they do and are so excited about coming to school, it is contagious and it is exactly what we want to see in all of our public school classrooms in this state,” Commissioner Schwinn told reporters about LEAD Neely’s Bend.

Neely’s Bend students have achieved top marks for growth in reading and math, and in 2017-2018, the school was ranked in the top 3 percent for academic growth among all schools in Tennessee — and number one for middle schools in the Achievement School District.

“We’re honored that we are one of the first schools picked for the Commissioner to visit,” said Neely’s Bend principal Tait Danhausen. “I was impressed with our teachers and our students and I’m really excited that Commissioner Schwinn and Dr. Sharon Griffin (Superintendent of the Achievement School District) were here to recognize our work and the work we will do in the future.”