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School Choice

Mayor Karl Dean believes that every child deserves a high quality education. He also recognizes that a “one size fits all” approach to education does not meet the needs of most children. Therefore, he is a firm believer in school choice.

School choice means the ability for each family to choose the right educational path for their children. For this reason, Mayor Dean has been an ardent supporter of adding more high-quality charter schools to the array of school options in the Nashville public school system. Charter schools, which are tuition-free public schools that control their own curriculum, staffing, organization and budget, have flexibility that traditional public schools typically do not have.

Mayor Dean has actively recruited high quality charter school operators from around the country to come to Nashville, and he has been thrilled with their results. Mayor Dean was also instrumental in the creation of the Tennessee Charter School Incubator, the first state-wide charter school incubator in the country. The TCSI has incubated several great charter schools, including Nashville Prep, the highest performing charter school in Tennessee for the 2011-2012 school year.

Tennessee Charter School IncubatorAnnouncement of TSCI in 2009

Mayor Dean helped launch the Tennessee Charter School Incubator (TCSI) in 2009, to recruit and incubate high-quality charter operators to Nashville and Tennessee.  As the first statewide charter school incubator in the country, the TCSI was launched with one purpose: to close the education achievement gap in Tennessee by supporting the creation of high-quality charter schools in Nashville and Memphis.

The TCSI has an ambitious plan of launching 22 new, high-performing college-preparatory charter schools in Nashville and Memphis by 2015 and to provide support services to existing high performing charters in both cities.

In the 2011-2012 school year, the first two Nashville TCSI schools launched: Nashville Prep and Liberty Collegiate. Both schools posted very impressive test scores in their first year and have bright futures. In 2012, the MNPS School Board approved all three of the charter school applicants submitted through the TCSI for the 2013-2014 school year.  

For more information, visit the TCSI official website at

Additional resources on charter schools

MNPS charter school office web page

The TN Charter School Association