Jason Manuel, the first superintendent of Germantown Municipal Schools, is himself a product of Germantown schools and has served as an educator in the community for the past 21 years.
Mr. Manuel attended Farmington Elementary School through 8th grade and then went on to graduate from Germantown High School in 1989. He received a Bachelor of Science from University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1994 and then a Masters in Education in 1995. In 2009, he received his Education Specialist degree from Union University.
Mr. Manuel is a respected member of the community. He has the support of his wife, Melissa, and three children, who have all attended the Germantown School System.
He began teaching at Houston High School in 1995. During his time as a classroom instructor, he taught Horticulture, Environmental Science, Ecology, Biology, and Journalism. He also served as the assistant boys and girls soccer coach for 10 years. In 2008, he became an assistant principal at Houston High School. As assistant principal, he created the Houston High School Honors Academy. That program has grown to include over 450 current students and serves as model across the State as an exemplar AP Program. The program has been incredibly successful in creating community service events, leadership opportunities, and increasing academic rigor. In 2011, Mr. Manuel was named the principal of Houston Middle School, breathing new life into the overall culture of the school by increasing parental and community involvement through annual events such as Haunted Houston, the Dodge ball Tournament, a school musical, and the Video Game Tournament.
Passionate about fundraising and reaching out to the local community, Mr. Manuel used funds generated from these events to increase the amount of Promethean Boards and laptop carts bringing Houston Middle School into the 21st Century. He served there for a short time, as he was named the Superintendent of Germantown Schools in December of 2013.
When Germantown Municipal Schools opened in the fall of 2014, the system included over 5400 students and 500 employees. Mr. Manuel, excited about the opportunity to lead Germantown Schools, has watched the District grow to over 5700 students and over 530 employees. Under his helm, the District has seen numerous capital improvement projects; the addition of a turf field, the creation of a state of the art television studio, wooden gym floor upgrades, installation of climate controlled systems, and the replacement of outdated windows at Farmington.
Mr. Manuel and his staff have also strived to increase parental involvement in the District through multiple community meetings: School Zoning Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, Facilities Improvement Committee, Textbook Selection Committee, Series of three Capital Improvement Town Hall Meetings, the Germantown Community Conversation, Series of five satellite Start Time Meetings, Riverdale Expansion Design Committee, and the District Calendar Committee.
Looking to future of the District, Mr. Manuel has formed a very detailed five-year capital improvement plan that includes big-ticket items like a cutting edge addition to Riverdale Elementary School to replace the portables, a new roof for Dogwood, and a new boiler at Riverdale. All of these projects were either completed or planned for while the District has maintained a five million dollar reserve in the budget.
Even more exciting than the changes to the physical spaces in the District, Mr. Manuel has greatly enhanced the academic and fine arts curriculum at each of the five schools. Strings classes were added to each elementary school. Chinese classes are also now a fixture in the lower grades. The Honors Academy has grown to include an offering of twenty-four AP courses, including the prestigious AP Seminar and Research classes. A blended learning 1:1 technology pilot program was implemented in all the middle and high schools, putting laptops in each students’ hands. The special education programming has flourished by forming new community partnerships to ensure our graduating students success in the job market after graduation. To further develop leadership skills amongst students who may not qualify for the Houston High School Honors Academy, a new Leadership Academy was created. The Leadership Academy leans on similar premises as the Houston High School Honors Academy, relying on facets of small cohorts, strategically created leadership opportunities, and community service.
In his first year as Superintendent, Mr. Manuel earned his fair share of accolades from the State. Named one of twelve Exemplary Districts in Tennessee, other school districts are looking to Germantown Municipal Schools for ideas and guidance. With two 2015 state-named Reward Schools performing in the top 15% for performance on standardized tests, Germantown Municipal Schools was also proud to announce that the district earned the highest ACT average for the entire State of Tennessee in its first year. Mr. Manuel and his staff deliver frequent presentations across the State as to how the District has pulled off such successes in such a short time.
Looking forward to what the years will bring, Mr. Manuel continues to further the vision of transforming Germantown Municipal Schools into a top performing, world-class school system.