Sup. Mayo receives statewide award for advocating school health
The Tennessee Department of Education’s Coordinated School Health division awarded ACS Superintendent Jeff Mayo the 2023 Director of the Year Award at its annual conference in Nashville! This award is given to superintendents who are prioritizing school health through budgeting and strategic initiatives that focus on student and employee health. Mayo was nominated by Dana Viox, ACS Coordinated School Health Supervisor, and ultimately selected by the TDOE.
“My department has always been supported and championed by Mr. Mayo,” Viox wrote in her nomination. “As superintendent, he has always recognized that the wellness of our students is tied to their health and health habits. With Mr. Mayo, school health is never a one-time priority only; he consistently roots the success of our district with student health at the forefront.”
During his first three years as superintendent, Mayo has ensured that school health is reflected in the district budget and has advocated for those enhancements to the ACS Board of Education. One of those initiatives is the addition of three nurses district-wide, which has lowered the nurse-to-student ratio and given students better access to health care at the level they require. He also included funding in the budget for a new, modernized clinic at Arlington High School and for the district’s ongoing opioid antagonist initiative, which has equipped all Arlington schools with Narcan kits that can help give lifesaving aid to those experiencing an opioid overdose. The initiative also funds training for nurses and administrators.
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayo worked closely with several local and state agencies to organize one of Shelby County’s first school-based sites to deliver vaccinations to every school district and town employee who wanted the vaccine. The site, hosted at Arlington High School, ultimately served the first two rounds of the vaccine to more than 800 employees in ACS, the town of Arlington and two nearby school districts.
Mayo’s impact on school health goes beyond the budget alone. In the district’s most recent strategic plan, The Portrait of an ACS Graduate, Mayo supported a component that focuses on the health and mental well-being of students by identifying areas of stress to maintain and improve a positive culture and climate. Among other things, the Portrait also encourages service-learning projects and school-level listening sessions that center on student perspectives. For employees, he also personally writes and emails “Monday Motivations” that address the health and well-being of district employees and has instituted quarterly food celebrations since 2020.
“His care, concern and on-going efforts are paramount to the health and well-being, both physically and mentally, to our students and employees,” Viox continued. “Mr. Mayo has shown that the general health of our school community is a top priority of his administration.”