Candidate Questionnaire | Nashville Now
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Candidate Questionnaire

District 7: Freda Player-Peters

What motivated you to run for the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) board of education?

I know a quality education can be the great equalizer for a child. In fact, it is the only way many children will rise out of tough situations at home and in their neighborhoods and change the narrative of their lives. An effective and thoughtful School Board can have profound, lasting and positive effects on the entire generation we serve

What do you believe are the primary and most critical roles and responsibilities of a school board member?

The role of the MNPS Board Member is to provide a vision and oversight to ensure that all students can achieve by having access to a quality education. MNPS Board of Education provides the oversight of the District’s administration of policy and budget, the selection and management of the Director of Schools, and to advocate for the MNPS school system within Metro General Government, the State of Tennessee and the community at large.

What are your top priorities and suggested reforms for improving education in MNPS overall, and specifically in improving equity, excellence, and access for all students?

  1. Developing a long term plan to recover from the learning loss and the economic impact to the budget due to COVID-19.
  2. Creating and implementing a multi-year strategic funding plan that provides consistent of funding for textbooks, education technology and building infrastructure
  3. Creating a culture of dignity and respect for students, parents and employees

What does a highly effective and functioning school board look like to you?

A highly functioning and effective school board would be able to have thoughtful, rigorous, strategic and visionary conversations about creating and implementing the appropriate and equitable policies to educate our students, engage our parents and community partners, and to manage our Director of Schools.

Please rank the following school board responsibilities in order of priority, with the first being the most important and last being the least important.

  1. Establishing an overarching plan and direction for the school district
  2. Allocating resources appropriately and encouraging fiscal responsibility
  3. Hiring and managing an effective Director of Schools
  4. Transparently informing and engaging the public
  5. Promoting continuous improvement and holding the system accountable

A key responsibility of the school board is to hire and manage the director of schools. Over the past five years, MNPS has cycled through three directors and two interim directors. What do you think is the School Board’s role to ensure effective and stable leadership going forward?

The board must give clear, thoughtful, and measurable expectations to the Director of Schools. The Board must hold the Director of Schools accountable to the implementation of policy the Board sets forth. The evaluation of performance must be based on qualitative and quantitative evidence that is provided on a consistent basis. It is also crucial the Board provides public support to the Director when presenting policy to the school community as a whole

Board members are responsible for adopting the annual budget to provide the necessary funding to enable the school system to carry out its functions. In this time of extremely tight resources, what are your thoughts on where efficiencies can be found and where limited dollars must be invested to produce the best results for ALL students?

The schools’ portion of Metro’s budget has decreased over 5% over the last decade as the enrollment has increased by the thousands of students. Metro Schools has discovered and implemented the major efficiencies that can be found. Any other efficiencies that can be found at this point would be playing in the financial margins of the overall budget which can always go into the classroom for supplies and other small line item budgets.

There has been some controversy around the role of public charter schools, yet many of MNPS’s best performing schools are charters. What is your opinion of charter schools and what role should they play in the MNPS system?

We need to have a productive relationship with charter schools in our district to ensure the best education is being provided to all students. We need to learn from each type of school within our district and what practices are effective and innovative in providing quality education to our students.


The district must raise the standard by which we hold charter school applicants and leaders to the same level of accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility regarding taxpayer dollars as the elected officials and administrators of traditional schools.

Past MPNS school boards have been criticized for internal turmoil and public division. What do school board members need to do to ensure the board stays focused on student achievement?

We need to have a plan and timeline of how we assess and evaluate the different metrics of student achievement throughout the calendar year as a board. The metrics need to be reviewed on a regular basis to track progress in real time. We as a board can adjust the policy and academic infrastructure accordingly to the areas where student achievement lacks progress.

How can school board members improve transparency and keep families and community members better informed and engaged?

We need to invest resources in the School Board’s office so we can provide information, do community outreach, and receive input from the community. This is how we as elected official can inform and engage the community. We do not have the comparable level of staffing and resources as other elected officials to do effective outreach and constituent services.

What is the role of annual assessments related to system accountability, and in evaluating the progress of schools, classrooms, and teachers?

There must be a level of annual standardize assessment to provide a metric for student learning and growth both individually and collectively. There needs to be an assessment for teachers to track their growth. I do not like the practice of using the TVAAS scores as a crucial and critical part of the teacher evaluations. There are too many external factors beyond the teacher’s control that could factor into a student’s poor performance on a test. However, teacher assessment needs to occur to ensure teachers are providing the best instruction possible

With early school closings this past spring due to COVID-19 and the uncertainties heading into fall – what ideas do you have to urgently and immediately assess and address the likely learning loss that students have experienced and may continue to experience as we wrestle with this pandemic?

I am not an academician by trade. Therefore, I cannot provide the technical ideas needed to assess the learning loss of students. I will leave that to the experts to measure that loss in an efficient and accurate way.


My role as a school board member is to require the assessment occurs and it is done in a timely manner. It is my responsibility for the assessment to be done throughout the district in a fair and equitable manner; the administration has a plan to make up for the learning loss; and the financial resources are provided to implement the plan over a period of time.