I am happy to share with you that beginning in January 2019, Dr. Vicki Kirk will serve as the official and full-time superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Deaf. As many of you know, Dr. Kirk has been serving our students at TSD in an interim capacity since March, and in that time, her vision, compassion, and focus on high expectations has been a tremendous asset to the TSD community. She has already taken on key initiatives, including expanding access to services and working with TSD leadership to develop a strategic plan for student success, and has laid a framework for continued growth. We are honored that she will move into this role full time and continue to build on the progress we are already starting to see at the three TSD campuses across the state.
While we are excited about this new opportunity, it also means that Dr. Kirk will be transitioning from her role as deputy commissioner and chief academic officer at the beginning of January. She has been with the department since April 2015, and during her time with us, she has led many of the strategies within the department’s Read to be Ready work – which encompasses a number of our initiatives that are designed to increase the number of students who are reading on grade level by the time they reach third grade – and spearheaded critical work to implement new math, English language arts, science, and social studies standards. Additionally, Dr. Kirk has overseen the phase-in of Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) into high school and RTI2 guidance enhancements and support.
We are appreciative of Dr. Kirk’s service to our 70,000 educators and 1 million students and believe she has built a strong foundation upon which we will continue our reading, standards, RTI2 and academic-focused work. Dr. Kirk’s guiding belief in the potential in every child in Tennessee has been an embodiment of our All Means All priority, and I know she will continue to shape and support a culture that reflects that belief at TSD. Please join me in thanking Dr. Kirk for her continued service to our state!