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Kimber Halliburton slated as next Washington County Director of Schools

Kimber Halliburton, left, shakes the hand of current Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes. Halliburton was named the new Director of Schools for Washington County, which will take effect after Dykes retirement on July 30.
Kimber Halliburton, left, shakes the hand of current Washington County Director of Schools Ron Dykes. Halliburton was named the new Director of Schools for Washington County on March 29. She will replace Dykes after his retirement on July 30.

“I have no doubt that she will be extremely successful and that the Washington County School System will prosper under her leadership.”

— Dr. Jesse Register

Former Superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools

 

By COLLIN BROOKS

Staff Writer

[email protected]

History was made when Kimber Halliburton was selected as the first female Director of Schools for Washington County, but she hopes to lead the school system into a new age when she starts on July 1.

Halliburton was selected out of five finalists for the job that will become vacant when Ron Dykes retires on June 30.

“I am delighted to be named the new superintendent, but I am especially proud that they have named me as the first female, “ Halliburton said. “I am very delighted,  I feel like that is a historical moment for me, but most of all for the people of Washington County.

KIMBER HALLIBURTON
KIMBER HALLIBURTON

“I am hoping that young girls sitting at desks in our classrooms will be motivated by that.”

One of the first things that Halliburton wants to do is to tour the schools before they dismiss for the summer.

“I could easily tour the schools during the summer, but you won’t get the same feel and the same concept of what is really occurring ‘in the school until you see the students seated at their desk, the boys and girls engaged, so that is what I want,” Halliburton said.

The search for a new director of schools started last August for the Washington County Board of Education and Chairman Todd Ganger said that Halliburton met all the criteria.

“I liked that she is a true leader, very professional and she is a good communicator,” Ganger said. “Her interview went great.”

The new Director also has a proven track record when it comes to technology, as principal of Waverly-Belmont, a technology demonstration school for the Metro-Nashville Public School System.

“Technology has been huge in this system, Mr. (Ron) Dykes has done a great job moving us forward and I am hoping that with Mrs. Halliburton we will be able to go even further,” Ganger said. “Her school in Nashville is probably the best in the state, as far as technology. So I think that is going to be huge moving forward for Washington County. She brings some of those ideas and implements some of those plans to our school system.”

Each classroom at Waverly-Belmont is equipped with large touch-screen computers which give teachers the ability to create interactive lessons in minutes. Those lessons can then be mirrored onto handheld touchpads. The classrooms also feature surround-sound systems to project teacher voices and video tools to record lessons, according to an August 2015 article in The Tennessean.

“I am a fan of technology in the classroom, but quite frankly, there are probably some other things that we need to look at and I really wouldn’t know what to address until I really involve the community in that piece.”

Kimber Halliburton

“I really am a firm believer in the use of technology in instruction, both as a presentation tool for teachers, but also as a tool for students to use,” Halliburton said. “Students, they do know how to use their devices to text and with social media, but I am a firm believer in really teaching children how to use technology for projects. For real research and real-world application.”

Waverly-Belmont, the school that Halliburton currently serves as principal is a technology demonstration school in the Metro-Nashville school system which is just under 90,000 students.

She was named principal of Waverly-Belmont Elementary School in 2014, when the school first opened and has been Metro Schools employee since 1988. Halliburton began as a special education teacher and currently is a lead principal who supervises leadership at four other schools.

Former Superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools Dr. Jesse Register got to know Halliburton well during the seven years that they worked together. He selected Halliburton to start Waverly-Belmont because it was a very critical new-school start up in the area.

“The success there has been outstanding,” Register said. “It’s a very diverse school, racially and socioeconomically, but it has started out as a very high performing school.”

That wasn’t the first school that Halliburton helped to launch though, as she was also the principal at Lockeland Elementary in 2004 when it reopened in the inner-city of East Nashville.

“Kimber went there to lead reconstruction of that school and it has been perennially one of the best performing elementary schools in the state,” Register said.

Register noted that her experience as an elementary and middle school principal has helped Halliburton gain a great understanding for educational leadership, but he also said that isn’t her only strong point.

“The thing that is really good for Washington County is that she is very successful at engaging the community,” Register said. “I think you’ll find her to be very good at that, reaching out to people in Washington County and getting them involved in planning and decision making in making the schools better.

“I have no doubt that she will be extremely successful and that the Washington County School System will prosper under her leadership.”

That is one of the skills that Halliburton will use first as she engages with the community, faculty, students and school board to see what they believe are the three strengths of the system and the three weaknesses.

While technology might be one of those weaknesses, Halliburton said she will just have to wait and see.

“I am a fan of technology in the classroom, but quite frankly, there are probably some other things that we need to look at and I really wouldn’t know what to address until I really involve the community in that piece,” she said.

One of the things she knows that the school system would like to improve on is their achievement data.

“We are even with the state in some categories, above the state and below the state in some areas,” Halliburton said. “I want to take a look at some of our surrounding counties and see how we are doing relatively.”

While there are things that she know she will need to work on, Halliburton is just looking forward to starting in her new environment.

“I am absolutely delighted to serve in this community, to serve the boys and the girls of this community,” Halliburton said. “This is probably the best board that I have encountered. I am elated, excited and ready to get started.”