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Core Values

The Tennessee Department of Education strives to expand students’ access to effective teachers and leaders, families’ access to good schools, educators’ access to resources and best practices and public access to information and data.

In doing so, we commit ourselves to the following core values:

Excellence - We hold ourselves and our colleagues to high standards for our daily work and for reaching our goals. We actively seek and give feedback in an effort to advance outcomes for ourselves and the students we serve. We believe in the importance of continuous improvement, and we constantly strive for a higher level of performance in all of our work.

Optimism - We believe in the potential of all Tennessee students to reach high levels of academic achievement. We believe that, in collaboration with our colleagues across the state, we can and will build a system that helps our students meet their potential. We operate with a strong sense of possibility that we can accomplish difficult tasks, and we foster innovation in ourselves and others.

Judgment - We aspire to make wise decisions. Therefore, we seek input from a diverse set of perspectives and think critically about the impact of our choices. We use accurate data to set goals, analyze results, and to make changes based on evidence.

Courage - We are unwaveringly student-centered in our decision making, prioritizing the needs of students over the comfort of adults. We align our words and our actions to the core belief that all students can achieve at a high level when we provide the opportunities that they deserve. We make hard decisions to improve the academic achievement and life prospects of Tennessee students.

Teamwork - We believe that excellent teams, composed of high-performing team members, can have an enormous impact on student achievement. We value the diverse experiences and commitment to service that each team member brings. We strive to communicate effectively within teams and across teams, ensuring that we are successful in helping all Tennessee students reach their potential.