132 – Reinventing Tennessee Public Education :: Dr. Grant Bell

A Middle Tennessee Business Podcast…

In 2013, I met Dr. Grant Bell just as he was beginning his current role as Principal of Springfield Middle School in Springfield, TN. The school he was inheriting had a myriad of issues mostly due to culture problems. A hopelessness felt amongst the faculty trickled down to the students who came from troubled home lives.

Then, Dr. Bell decided to call the students, “scholars”.

What transpired over the following years is something of a miracle. Small cultural shifts that Dr. Bell implemented had seismic effects. 

Springfield Middle School went from a place that parents fought for their kids to avoid to what is now the Innovation Academy of Robertson County. It is a grade 6-12 Magnet STEAM school that takes hundreds of applications for attendance every year. 

From Dr. Bell:

“I graduated from Springfield High School (TN), have an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama, and three graduate degrees: Masters- Tennessee State University, Education Specialist- Austin Peay State University, and an Education Doctorate from Tennessee State University.  I served as a teacher for 11 years at Greenbrier Middle School, in Greenbrier , Tennessee, and served as assistant principal at Springfield Middle School for 2 years, and am currently in my 11th year as principal.  Our school has transitioned from a traditional middle school (6-8) to a 6-12 magnet school, the Innovation Academy of Robertson County.

I was blessed with wonderful parents, and grandparents.  My grandfather Bell was the principal of my current school from 1938-1959.  My grandfather Murphey was a tobacco and cow farmer.  I learned leadership lessons from both that guide decisions I make to this very day.”

Learn more about Dr. Bell and the Innovation Academy:






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