TA Director Interview Series – Part 3

In this edition of the newsletter, we are highlighting the work of the West Tennessee region. Our feature this month is a chat with Victoria Perry, our Technical Assistance Director in the region.

Can you introduce yourself?

Perry: I’m Vicki Perry and I’m about to begin my fifth year with the University of Memphis as the Technical Assistance Director for the West region. Prior to this position I was a classroom teacher, then a school librarian, and then an assistant principal.

Can you tell me a little bit about your region?

Perry: Our region goes from the Kentucky state line down to the Alabama and Mississippi line. It goes from the Mississippi River to the Tennessee River. In our region, we have the largest school district in the state of Tennessee, which is Shelby County. The majority of our districts are rural.

What is something your region has taken the lead on for Tennessee Tiered Supports Center (Tennessee TSC)?

Perry: The West region is in charge of “FACE,” which is family and community engagement. We held an open-access, community of practice event on FACE in January. We talked about how to get students engaged in the work that’s going on in schools, how to support parents at home, and how to bring the community in. That could be as simple as community members allowing high schoolers to job shadow or learn a trade. It could be local businesses contributing to the school and the events that it has. Our goal is to make support cohesive, so students are supported, no matter where they’re at.

Tell me about a recent accomplishment or celebration in your region.

Victoria: Our biggest accomplishment is that we have established a partnership with Memphis, Shelby County, which is the largest school district in Tennessee. In fact, it’s the third largest in the nation. We just finished training our first two school cohorts and we are scheduling the next round of schools for Spring 2024.

What is one of your favorite resources to share with schools?

Perry: I always point them toward the Tier I resource binder. It has so much information that’s already been thought through and is ready to use. Administrators can use the information in it to conduct professional development and have topics for faculty meetings to support their teachers. I wish I had that resource as a teacher and administrator.

What is a word of advice you have for your districts looking to improve their RTI2 A + RTI2 B implementation?

Perry: I think you’ve got to ensure that your Director of Schools is committed in the investment, and I think you really have to make good choices about who is on your district and school leadership teams because leadership in this work makes all the difference.