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Randi Weingarten (via Flickr)

Oliver Morrison

Arlington happy to return to old ways, new leader says

After working for 28 years at an elementary, middle and high school, as well as spending a year in the central office, Tammy Mason was hired on as the first superintendent of Arlington Community Schools this past January.

She talked to Chalkbeat TN about why Arlington decided to allow corporal punishment, what it’s like being the only female superintendent in Shelby County and why she believes people will have more patience this year if things go wrong.

1. Arlington is one of only two municipal districts that passed a policy allowing for corporal punishment, which Mason says was due to the makeup of Arlington’s board. It was the only policy that didn’t pass unanimously.

2. Even though Arlington is growing at an incredibly fast pace, if Lakeland opens up its own high school, that will probably leave Arlington High School under-enrolled for many years. Arlington only has 900 students of high school age, but the school was recently the largest in Tennessee, capable of holding 2,500 students.

3. Because Arlington’s school buildings are relatively new, Mason says Arlington will be able to use its capitol improvement money to add to its athletic and science facilities, rather than spending it all on maintenance, as districts with older buildings will have to do.

4. Mason says that being the only female hasn’t been an important part of her relationship with the other five municipal superintendents.

5. As many of the municipal superintendents have said, the new transportations system is what most worries her about the start of the new year.

6. Besides transportation, Arlington parents tell her they are most excited about the district’s cafeteria program being locally run.

7. Even if there are early bumps in the road again this year, people in Arlington will have more patience than last year in the merger, because she believes they have returned to polices Arlington is more comfortable with.

Contact Oliver Morrison at omorison@chalkbeat.org and (206) 643-9731. Follow us on Twitter: @ORMorrison@chalkbeattn. Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chalkbeattn. Sign up for our newsletter for regular updates on Tennessee education news: http://tn.chalkbeat.org/newsletter/