By Ann Talbott Brown –
Dr. Linda Gilbert, superintendent for Murfreesboro City Schools, is Tennessee’s 2019 Superintendent of the Year. She will go on to represent Tennessee in the 2019 national competition put forth by the American Association of School Administrators. I first met Dr. Gilbert shortly after she left her professorship at Middle Tennessee State University in education and leadership in 2010. My colleague and I met in her office to discuss the arts integration work at one of the district’s schools, Bradley Academy. Bradley Academy was one of six schools selected throughout Tennessee to participate in the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Value Plus Schools program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Arts Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant.
During that first meeting, I was immediately struck by Dr. Gilbert’s willingness to discuss arts integration and her commitment to support a full-time theatre teacher in an elementary school. I quickly learned that she is a former elementary and instrumental music teacher and private flute and piano instructor. A superintendent with a background in music education was music to my ears. Recently, our paths crossed again when Dr. Gilbert agreed to serve on a statewide arts education advisory group and as a panelist for the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts360 grant program earlier this year. She brings a wealth of knowledge, complete attention to the task at hand, and a direct and kind nature. I am thankful for Dr. Gilbert’s insight and support of the arts and more broadly in education. This award is well-deserved. Congratulations, Dr. Linda Gilbert!