Gary L. Nixon, Ed.D.
Dr. Gary L. Nixon was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Tennessee State Board of Education on September 1, 2004. Dr. Nixon is a native of Tennessee and received his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Tennessee Technological University. He received a Master’s degree in Education and an Educational Specialist degree from Tennessee Technological University. He also holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Administration from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Nixon began his educational experience as a Chemistry/Physics teacher at Cumberland County High School in 1971. He later served as Principal of Cumberland County High School for sixteen years. He moved to Nashville in 1994 and worked for the Tennessee State Board of Education for six years. He served the State Board as a Research Associate, Interim Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director until December of 1999. On January 3, 2000, Dr. Nixon became the Principal of Blackman High School for Rutherford County Schools. He opened the new Blackman High School in August 2000 and served as its Principal until assuming the position of Executive Director of the State Board of Education.
Dr. Nixon is an avid supporter of the Southern Regional Education Board’s High Schools That Work initiative. Both Cumberland County High School and Blackman High School were High Schools That Work sites under his leadership. Blackman High School was recognized as one of the top ten high schools in the national network for student achievement. Further, Blackman High School was recognized in the top 50 schools in the national network for guidance services and providing extra help and extra time.
He believes three initiatives are absolutely essential to moving education forward in Tennessee as we meet the ever increasing demands of No Child Left Behind. The Early Childhood/Pre-K program is needed to ensure students enter kindergarten ready to learn. Middle grades education must be bolstered in order to assure student achievement continues to improve. Finally, Dr. Nixon believes that every school must have effective leadership that results in increased student achievement.