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Job Details - General Counsel
Tennessee Public Charter School Commission
In 2019, Governor Bill Lee proposed the creation of a public commission to serve as both an authorizing agent and appellate body for charter schools across Tennessee. The state’s legislature subsequently enacted Public Chapter 219 (codified in Tenn. Code Annotated § 49-13-105) establishing the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission (the “Commission”). The statute set a timeline for the transfer of the charter appellate and authorizer duties currently held by the State Board of Education to the newly-established Commission in 2021.
The Commission will be comprised of nine members selected by the governor and representing a broad geographic cross-section of the state. The Commission’s focus on the authorization of quality charter schools will enable deeper engagement with local districts and stakeholders and in turn ensure that decisions impacting students’ and families’ access to high-quality charter schools are made based on a full appreciation of communities’ specific educational needs. The Commission will commence hearing appeals in January 2021, followed by its assumption of responsibility for supervision of charter schools in the 2021-22 school year.
The law creating the Commission also specified that the Commission’s daily work be overseen by a full-time director of schools (Executive Director) empowered with authority comparable to those of directors of schools in other Tennessee school districts. The Executive Director is entrusted with responsibility for the staffing and organization of the Commission, subject to oversight by the nine voting members.
As its first-ever General Counsel, the General Counsel will provide legal services to the Commission, its Executive Director, and staff. The General Counsel will report directly to the Executive Director and provide legal guidance and counsel in executive and policy decision-making and will serve as a member of the Executive Director’s leadership team.
The General Counsel will provide advice and counsel concerning compliance with federal and state statutes and regulations affecting elementary and secondary schools, governmental entities, and nonprofit organizations. This requires preventative legal services and legal representation in the monitoring and resolving of disputes and intricate matters, including those that may lead to litigation. The General Counsel will coordinate with the Attorney General’s Office as necessary and leads all legal matters at the direction of the Commission and Executive Director. Given the unique nature of secondary education in the regulatory environment of state charter schools, a significant portion of the General Counsel’s duties may relate to complex problem-solving to resolve matters that may be an obstacle to the Commission’s success.
Specific duties of the General Counsel include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Providing advice, counsel, and legal support to the Commission Executive Director, and staff;
In addition, the General Counsel should bring expertise and a proven track record to their execution of the following essential functions:
• Work in close partnership with the Commission’s members and counterparts on the state and local levels to mobilize all aspects of the organization in advance of the 2021 start dates mandated in statute. Specific responsibilities in this period will include but are not limited to:
• Ability to work collaboratively and communicate effectively with multiple and diverse stakeholders.
This position requires a moderate amount of travel on the state and local level, with some travel beyond the state of Tennessee also required. The frequency of in-state travel will increase as the total number of charter schools supervised by the Commission grows.
• Deep base of professional expertise in K-12 education law and an appreciation of the unique role that charter schools can play in advancing student achievement when cultivated and supported with fidelity and forethought.
Tennessee Department of Education
How To Apply
Interested candidates should submit a resume, letter of intent, and a minimum of 3 professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.