Tennessee Charter School Incubator to Seek Military Advice

The Tennessee Charter School Incubator, which seeks to close the achievement gap in Tennessee by creating and supporting high-quality charter schools, has formed a partnership with Tennessee Troops to Teachers to develop a pipeline between transitioning military personnel and leadership opportunities in charter schools.

Rebecca Lieberman, director of Talent Recruitment at the Tennessee Charter School Incubator, and Cliff Yager, director of Tennessee Troops to Teachers, recognize the extraordinary similarities between the core values of charter schools and the military.

Lieberman went looking for school leaders Tuesday at an unusual location: the Naval Support Activity Mid-South naval base in Millington, Tenn.

"Both high-performing charter schools and the military emphasize doing whatever it takes, the importance of teamwork, a "no-excuses" ethos and a focus on results," Lieberman said.

Lieberman's presentation was part of a larger workshop for veterans in the process of transitioning out of the military who are considering a second career in education.

"The purpose of this presentation was to highlight the incredible opportunities available for veterans to bring their leadership experiences to mission-driven charter schools."

According to Yager, many veterans find the transition from the military to civilian society to be frustrating and difficult. Military personnel, despite a wealth of leadership and teamwork experience, often have trouble finding second careers which suit their unique skill sets.

"It's not uncommon for us to see applicants with degrees from top universities, eight to 10 years of experience as officers on naval submarines, and then two years of post-military work at Wal-Mart," Yager said. "The Charter Incubator and Troops to Teachers want to emphasize that military personnel can avoid those situations and find perfect outlets for their experience in high-quality charter schools."

The motto of Tennessee Troops to Teachers is "Proud to Serve Again," a phrase which emphasizes the idea that transitioning military personnel aren't just finding a new job when they enter the world of education, they are continuing to serve their communities by applying their extraordinary experience to school leadership.

As the first statewide charter school incubator in the country, the Tennessee Charter School Incubator was launched to close the education achievement gap in Tennessee by supporting the creation of high-quality charter schools in Memphis and Nashville.

Founded in 2009, the Incubator plans to launch 20 new, high-performing college-preparatory charter schools in Nashville and Memphis by 2015 and to provide support services to existing high-performing charters in these markets.

You can follow the Incubator on Twitter.

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