From the Director

At University School of Nashville, teaching and learning come first.

Everything we do is rooted in a commitment to celebrate the potential of each day in a community of learners, to explore the remarkable dimensions of a K-12 school in an educational setting unlike any other. Our students and faculty can count on being asked for their very best and on being encouraged at every step along the way.

In our Lower School, each classroom provides a world of possibilities and a teacher who guides a child's day with great care. In Middle School, grade-level teams of dedicated teachers help students develop skills and habits of mind to promote greater academic independence and social maturity. Led by inspiring teachers, High School students pursue deeper understanding as they find their own voices in preparation for the challenges of a college curriculum.

Our families represent an inspiring breadth of cultural experience, united in their wish for young people to learn from one another as they come to know themselves. We may find those opportunities in weekly town meetings, on our River Campus playing fields, in vibrant art studios, in lunchtime conversation, or in a neighborhood tutorial program.

We're glad you visited our web site. USN is a school community that challenges intellect in pursuit of independent thinking, that strengthens character by encouraging personal responsibility, that sees arts and athletics as fundamentally complementary to academics, and that actively seeks to find its place in the wider world. My hope is that, whether you're an alumnus, a potential student, or a friend, you'll come to see us here on campus, to learn more than the web site can tell you. We'd be delighted to welcome you in person.

Vince Durnan's Newsletter Columns

List of 20 news stories.

  • Like students and faculty, Director Vince Durnan has spent time learning how to navigate Zoom.

    From the Director: Two Questions … Of Many

    When will we return to face-to-face classes on campus? How long will major school events be postponed? How long will the community disruption last? What are students learning? What are administrators and faculty learning about what school is and what school could be?
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  • Tuesday mornings are for coffee with the director

    Director Vince Durnan will host Zoom conversations with parents at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays during remote learning.
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  • Thoughtful seniors

    Join Director Durnan for morning joe

    Director Vince Durnan welcomes USN parents to use their phones, laptops, and desktops to catch up with him at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 31. He'll be drinking decaffeinated coffee. Bring your orange juice, tea, or other caffeinated beverage of your choice.
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  • A Day We Didn't Expect

    Director Vince Durnan shared the following letter on Thursday, March 26 to update alumni, parents of alumni, parents, faculty, and staff on how the school is functioning during the first week of remote learning.
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  • Director Vince Durnan

    From the Director: Checking in during Spring Break

    Given the dynamically changing situation, we are more motivated than ever to stay connected as the USN community. Here is what is on our minds. Director Vince Durnan shared the following column in the USN Newsletter sent Wednesday, March 18.
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  • Remote Learning as a Coordinated Effort

    The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14 regarding conversations among heads of schools as well as between USN and local public health leaders.
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  • Calendar Changes

    The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, March 12 regarding changes to Spring Break and a move to remote learning.
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  • Director Vince Durnan

    A Thought Experiment

    What scenarios is USN considering for school as concerns grow regarding the novel coronavirus? Director Vince Durnan shared the following column in division publications sent late Wednesday, March 11.
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  • Today's News About the Coronavirus

    The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 5 regarding a confirmed case of coronavirus COVID-19 in Williamson County.
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  • This morning at USN

    This letter was shared with USN families and faculty at 5 a.m. Tuesday, March 3 regarding the overnight storms and tornadoes that swept through Middle Tennessee.
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  • Coronavirus Preparedness & Health Precautions

    The following letter was shared with K-12 parents, faculty, and staff at 4 p.m. Saturday, February 29 regarding the coronavirus COVID-19 and CDC recommendations.
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  • From the Director: Back in Backhoe Mode

    The last remaining physical connection to our Peabody origins will soon be removed to make room for a new energy loop. Construction crews are coming to USN's corner of 19th and Edgehill Avenues in March.
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  • USN remembers Interim Director Jean Gray Litterer

    The Nashville educator led USN at the turn of the century.
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  • Director Vince Durnan meets Julius Caesar during third grade's living museum in December.

    From the Director: Life in Full

    In the big, beautiful community enterprise of USN, there’s always something happening. Read on for upcoming highlights to help confirm your ”in the know” status, with a special kicker at the end.
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  • From the Director: Creatures of Habit

    At the risk of being prescriptive, let me still suggest that you make time in the next couple weeks to reflect on the habits that set the rhythms of your family, celebrating those that might otherwise go unappreciated. May you appreciate the glue that binds us together and leave a little room for what might be emerging as the next activities that will be worth repeating as ways to make meaning together.
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  • Director Vince Durnan waltzes with Fourth Grade Teacher Kim Avington during Parents' Day on Monday, November 25.

    From the Director: Reasons to Be Thankful, Part 20

    It may have taken a while to get to the annual gratitude holiday, so late in arriving this year, but with grandparents and special friends here and the Mystery Turkey revealed, let the celebrations continue. For me, watching the little trotters clad in paper bag costumes for two full decades now, it carries special meaning. So here goes a litany of things on my desk worthy of pausing for appreciation.
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  • Reflections on 45 years of Board leadership

    Editor's Note: University School of Nashville welcomed more than five dozen former Board of Trustees members to 2000 Edgehill during a reception on Monday, November 18, 2019. The group included USN parents, parents of alumni, and alumni from throughout the country. Following the event, Director Vince Durnan shared these words with the school's current and former trustees dating back to the school's 1974 transition from Peabody Demonstration School to become University School of Nashville.
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  • Director Vince Durnan is attending the INDEX Conference to digest data shared among independent schools across the nation.

    From the Director: By the Numbers through a National Lens

    How does University School of Nashville compare to its national peers? Take a look at this comparison of tuition, faculty salaries, philanthropy, test scores, diversity, enrollment, need-based financial aid, and retention, among other notable numbers.
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  • Director Vince Durnan addresses the Class of 2020 during Senior Induction in August.

    From the Director: What We Said About What We Do

    A summary of results from the 2018-2019 Annual Parent Survey.
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  • Director Vince Durnan speaks to students during Senior Induction.

    From the Director

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Archive

The Director's Office

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Vincent Durnan

    Vincent Durnan 

    Director
    (615) 327-3877
    Williams College - BA
    Harvard University - M.Ed.
    Vanderbilt University - Ed.D.
    Started at USN: 2000
  • Photo of Susan Pearlman

    Susan Pearlman 

    Administrative Assistant to the Director
    615-327-3877
    Penn State University - BA
    Started at USN: 2010

So Now What?

University School of Nashville

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