Williamson County Schools has stayed within the district to hire a director for its new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, a program scheduled to get underway for the 2019-20 school year.
Superintendent Mike Looney announced Monday that Mill Creek Middle School Principal Kari Miller has been hired as the director, effective immediately. Miller has been with WCS since 2010.
“Kari has a proven track record of going above and beyond in every role she’s had in our district,” Looney said in the district’s newsletter, InFocus. “From opening a new school to improving student performance, she’s a proven leader, and I know that she will help us make the EIC a national model.”
The EIC — which is open to all Williamson County high school students who have an interest in starting a business, developing a product or providing a service — will be housed in a newly renovated 10,000-square-foot-facility that was formerly part of the Williamson campus for Columbia State Community College, adjacent to Franklin High School. Half of the building, known as the Franklin annex, opened last January to provide extra classroom space primarily for freshmen. Demolition is currently taking place on what will be the EIC portion, with construction and renovation to follow.
The EIC concept, according to an article in InFocus, responds to three key needs: booming student interest in entrepreneurism, an increasing number of colleges offering entrepreneurship education and job market demand for those who have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Miller joined WCS as principal of College Grove Elementary. She served at Hillsboro School for almost five years before opening Mill Creek Middle School. Prior to joining WCS, she was a teacher, academic programming facilitator and principal in California for a combined six years.
Miller earned her bachelor’s in Planning and Development from the University of Southern California; master’s in Education from Pepperdine University; and Doctor of Education in Assessment, Learning and School Improvement from Middle Tennessee State University.
“It has been an incredible honor to be the first principal of Mill Creek Middle School, and the students, staff and families will remain in my heart forever,” Miller said in InFocus. “I am looking forward to building relationships with the new students and families I will serve, and I’m excited to work alongside the EIC Advisory Board and business community as we develop this tremendous opportunity for the teen entrepreneurs of Williamson County Schools.”
She will begin her new role immediately while continuing to serve as Mill Creek Middle’s principal until her replacement is named.