Union University School of Education Alum Serves as First Superintendent - Germantown
April 30, 2014 - Jason Manuel, an alum of Union University’s Graduate School of Education, was unanimously selected to serve as the first superintendent of the newly formed Germantown Municipal School District. The district is located in the Memphis-area suburb of Germantown, Tennessee. Manuel earned his Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from Union University in 2009.
Superintendent Manuel credits his graduate work at Union University for teaching him about the importance of servant leadership and relationship building. Furthermore, Manuel believes his understanding of servant leadership is why he was chosen to serve as the district’s first superintendent.
Prior to beginning as superintendent, Manuel served as an Assistant Principal at Houston High School four years and as the Principal at Houston Middle School three years. Both schools are located in Germantown.
Manuel says that he is glad to be “fighting the fight” as a servant leader for his newly formed district, as he feels honored to be representing and standing for the principals, teachers, and students in the district.
Manuel is someone who clearly believes that relationship building is a vitally important component of his job. After starting his work as superintendent, Manuel got on the phone and began calling many of the parents in Germantown. He knew that he was in a hurting community, especially with the loss of three schools to neighboring Shelby County as the new Germantown district was formed. The personal, one-on-one phone calls with parents were unexpected by many of those on the receiving end, but the calls served as the start of a new relationship with the community.
The new superintendent aims to get more parents involved with the Germantown schools, while also building a better partnership with Germantown’s Parks and Recreation department to offer more educationally supportive after-school programs for students. Manuel views each school in his district as a place to get families involved, and he wants Germantown schools to serve as a center for community life.
The new superintendent credits his personal relationship with God as foundational to who he is as a person. “My relationship with God is important and influences my relationship with people,” Manuel stated. He further indicated that he strives to treat others as a reflection of this relationship and views the decisions that come before him with Christian lenses. “You can serve in a secular world and serve as a Christian,” Manuel concluded.
As the superintendent of a district with approximately 5,300 students, Superintendent Manuel sees the size of the Germantown district as a benefit. To this end, he said, “We can focus on student needs.” Whereas larger school districts may have to focus on the “greater good” of the students, Superintendent Manuel’s vision is one that is largely student-focused. The superintendent does not intend to allow his student-focused vision to stifle relationship building with others in the community, however. Manuel is confident that his district’s relatively smaller size will also allow it to more directly work with businesses and other education entities on a much more personal level.
In relation to the five schools in his district, he states, “We are at the top of the charts.” But his vision for the district is one that does not want complacency to come as a result of success. Manuel wants to “continue to challenge the population” and to be willing to “think outside of the box.”
Manuel is an educator who understands that education is both an art and a science. He understands the importance of balancing these two important aspects of education, which also translates into the type of leaders he wants in his district. He wants to continue to see his district led by innovative, servant minded administrators. Likewise, he wants to continue to hire teachers who are team players and willing to work toward the common goals of the district.
Union University’s School of Education and the Rosebrough Center for Educational Practice at Union University are proud of the accomplishments of Jason Manuel, especially as he embraces this new role as Germantown’s first superintendent. To learn more about graduate degree offerings from Union University’s School of Education, including degrees offered in Germantown, TN, please visit: http://www.uu.edu/programs/education/graduate/.