The Metro school board voted unanimously last week to hand the director of schools position to its second choice, Pedro Garcia, the superintendent of a school district outside Los Angeles. The school board, along with Mayor Bill Purcell, had wanted Minneapolis school superintendent Carol Johnson for the job, but after some hemming and hawing, she chose to stay put. (One government source says that the thin-skinned Johnson grew irritated when The Tennessean characterize her pleas for better insurance coverage as “contract demands.”) More consequently, observers say that Garcia has proven he has the right stuff just by taking the job. After all, he is not exactly coming with a mandate. According to school board member George Blue, Purcell said that “Dr. Johnson was a better fit for the city.”
The University of Tennessee may excel on the athletic field, but it lags behind where it matters mostin the classroom. That’s the conclusion of a recent report from a commission appointed by former school president J. Wade Gilley. According to the Associated Press, the report ranked the state’s flagship university near the bottom among similar institutions on a host of academic indicators including graduation rates and number of National Merit Scholars.
A legend passes
Country legend Chet Atkins died this weekend at his Nashville home, losing his long battle with cancer at the age of 77. The groundbreaking instrumentalist, record producer, and music executive had a hand in boosting the careers of many rock and country legends including Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, and Dolly Parton. As a guitarist, Atkins is considered among the best to have ever played.