In 1855, Nashville’s first public school, Hume High School, opened at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Broad Street. Nashville’s second public school, Fogg High School, opened in 1875 on the same property facing Broad. The schools combined as Hume-Fogg High School on the same site in 1912. As a part of the 1982 desegregation court order, the school was designed to attract a voluntary cross section of academically able students from all racial, ethnic and economic groups. Hume-Fogg has 51 faculty members; 80 percent hold at least one advanced degree. The 920-plus students attending Hume-Fogg were selected countywide from students who score ‘advanced’ in math and reading achievement tests and have an academic grade-point average of at least 85 (B) with no failing grades.
The following is from an Interview with Hume-Fogg Magnet High School principal, Dr. Kellie Hargis.
DES: How does Hume-Fogg Magnet High School differ from other magnet schools in Nashville?
Dr. Kellie Hargis: Hume-Fogg is a public high school dedicated to providing a high-quality, college-preparatory educational experience to the academically talented and culturally diverse students we serve. Like other magnets, our school is accessible to and pulls students from all across Davidson County, rather than from a specific geographical zone in which they live. Students enrolled here must enter through an application process and must meet certain academic criteria. Hume-Fogg and MLK are the only two academic magnet high schools with academic entrance requirements. Our curricular focus sets us apart from MLK. We follow a liberal arts framework, while our sister school, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet, focuses on math, science and engineering.
DES: What led you to pursue a career as a principal?
Dr. Kellie Hargis: It simply felt like a natural next step for me. I have been an educator for more than 18 years, starting as a Head Start Preschool teacher then moving into middle and high school teaching, school counseling with elementary and alternative school students, and eventually finding my way into administration. Each of my experiences with students, families and teachers strengthened my practice and resolve to continue to grow professionally. Each of those positions provided me a new perspective and fresh lens to see the impact education can, and does, have on our communities. While cliché, I know, I truly feel my work is not a job but a calling. My heart led me to education – my personality and my need for continued challenge and growth led me into administration.
DES: Working in a building full of teenagers must keep you busy. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Dr. Kellie Hargis: By far the most rewarding and “feel good” part of my job is watching the students learn. I find relief and solace from the day-to-day pressures of administrative work by going into a classroom in my building and watching our students engage in meaningful and interesting discourse – hearing their ideas, their perspectives, their arguments … they truly inspire me.
DES: In your opinion, what is Hume-Fogg’s most important contribution to the city?
Dr. Kellie Hargis: We are educating some of our best and brightest students to be meaningful contributors to their communities. We are providing these students a topnotch educational experience, preparing them not just for success in college and a career, which will potentially add to our community’s economic well-being, but also to be involved and informed citizens, engaging, equipping and empowering them to be people of courage, compassion and character and to let those traits play out in meaningful ways throughout the community. Our students in all grades, nine through 12, spend time in community action and service. We celebrate that here.
DES: What benefits do you see with the building being on the Metro DES system?
Dr. Kellie Hargis: The system helps us provide a proper environment for learning. We are thrilled to be a part of such a collaborative energy system. Partnerships like this can only make our community stronger.