Located on First Avenue just south of downtown Nashville, LEAD Cameron Middle has a rich history with an alumni network spanning decades. In the fall of 1940, with funding provided by the Federal Works Agency and the city of Nashville, Cameron moved into its current building, which was built the year prior. In 2011, Cameron joined the LEAD network and became the first successful turnaround school partnership between a district and charter network in Tennessee.
Principal Briana Shelton first started as a math teacher at Cameron nine years ago, then moved into the math instructional coach role. She then served as assistant principal before becoming the principal at LEAD Cameron in the 2022-23 school year.
One of the aspects of Cameron that Principal Shelton is most proud of is the GreenHouse Program, which serves students who are new to the U.S. and learning English. Today the school reflects the diversity of a growing city, with over 17 languages spoken by the student population.
“We recently had students create a logo for the GreenHouse program and provided all students and families with a GreenHouse T-shirt,” she said. “We want them to be proud of what they are accomplishing.”
Longevity is a trend with the staff at Cameron. Quan Jones has been at Cameron for ten years, where he teaches physical education. For Jones, the uniqueness of LEAD Cameron lies in its diversity as well, which spans the entire history of the school.
“Cameron was named after Professor Henry Alvin Cameron, a black science teacher and WWI veteran,” said Jones. “Cameron was the fourth public school in Nashville named after an African American.”
“What I love the most about my job is the opportunity to work with my students and teach them how PE prepares them for life because it’s all about collaborating with others and overcoming challenges.” – Quan Jones, Teacher at LEAD Cameron.
Latanya Beharrie, a sixth-grade student at LEAD Cameron, recognizes the value of the student supports that Cameron intentionally offers, including CREW, which is a class that is held weekly and provides a chance for students to speak on subjects beyond academics that are important to them.
“What makes LEAD Cameron unique is the curriculum and the counselors.” – Latanya Beharrie, Sixth Grader at LEAD Cameron.
Kevin Cruz, a fifth-grade student at Cameron, shares in the appreciation for Cameron’s dedication to students in all areas of their lives. “People should know that this school is very helpful and attentive to student needs,” said Cruz.
Jordan Cooper, operations associate at LEAD Cameron and long-time staff member with almost 11 years under her belt, knows better than anyone what makes the school special. “The ability of our staff and students to not only embrace challenges, but be energized by them, is what makes LEAD Cameron unique,” she said.
“Getting to meet these students when they join us in middle school and watching them grow up throughout the years brings me a lot of joy.” – Jordan Cooper, Operations Associate at LEAD Cameron.
As LEAD Cameron follows its mission to hold students to high expectations and provide the necessary support to help them reach their potential, the school is also committed to championing the social, emotional, and behavioral development of all students, to ensure they are ready for life. With the ongoing leadership and dedication of staff members like Shelton, Jones, and Cooper, LEAD Cameron remains a place where students are set up to thrive well beyond middle school.
For more information about LEAD Cameron, please visit: https://leadpublicschools.org/schools/cameron/