Middle School

Grades 5-8Middle School Life

In Middle School we provide a challenging and encouraging environment that is sensitive to the unique developmental needs of middle grade students and supportive of a positive self-concept for each student. We aim to help young scholars move along the continuum toward greater independence, giving them responsibility for their own work and behavior while affording them increasing opportunities to make appropriate, independent decisions as they show their readiness to do so.  

MS students require both support and space from the adults who care about them, and our grade-level academic teaching teams are always seeking the right balance. We partner with families to encourage students to take positive risks knowing that failure is a crucial part of learning, and we make every effort to help students learn from mistakes.

Middle School by the Numbers

List of 4 items.

  • 15

    Average Advisory Group Size Grades 5-8
  • 23

    MS Trimester Elective Offerings
  • 4

    Dedicated Grade Level Retreats
  • 82%

    MS & HS Student Athletes

What Guides our WorkMiddle School Core Beliefs

  • The person a student is becoming is more important than what a student knows. 
  • The social-emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. 
  • The brain of a preadolescent is still developing in significant ways including time management, perspective-taking, reasoning, impulse control, and attention; as a result, instructional time should provide scaffolding in these areas. 
  • Discovering and making use of how a student learns best is as important as what a student learns. 
  • Preadolescents develop better decision-making skills and learn best when they are in the company of adults they trust and who know them. 
  • Learning to struggle effectively and to seek appropriate assistance when struggling leads to maturity. 
  • Self-confidence is crucial for personal and academic growth; it comes when effort invested is met with a feeling of progress. 
  • Content taught should have a high life-worthiness value. 
  • Partnership between students, parents, and teachers leads to the best learning. 
  • Students need adequate time for play, nature, and reflection, without electronic devices.
MS Curriculum &  Course Details

MS Classroom ExperienceIn and Beyond the Classroom

A holistic approach to learning and community for young adults

The Role of Parents & Families in Middle SchoolSupporting Growth & Independence

Best practice for educating and raising healthy, well-informed students is to have healthy, well-informed adults — both at home and at school — talking with them regularly about the same things in the same ways.  

At USN, we place great importance on our partnership with parents and families. Ultimately, we want students to be at the center of the conversation, becoming ever-better advocates for their own learning needs. Teachers and advisors address their progress notes, emails, and other correspondence to students rather than parents on a regular basis; parents are included to help keep them well-informed. Students lead one parent-teacher conference each year to discuss their progress toward goals and learning using work samples.

Middle School Leadership

List of 8 members.

  • Photo of Shavon Davis Louis

    Shavon Davis Louis 

    Head of Middle School
    Lipscomb University - Ed.D.
    Middle Tennessee State University - Ed.S.
    University of Southern Mississippi - MS
    Alcorn State University - BS
    At USN since: 2023
  • Photo of Kelicia Cox

    Kelicia Cox 

    Assistant Head of Middle School
    Tennessee State University - M.Ed.+30
    David Lipscomb University - B.S.
    Vanderbilt University - M.Ed.
    At USN since: 2010
  • Photo of Kristine Lord Johnstone

    Kristine "Kristy" Lord Johnstone 

    Administrative Assistant, Middle School
    615-321-8016 ex2175
    O'More School of Design - BA
    At USN since: 2022
  • Photo of Anna Claire McKay

    Anna Claire McKay 

    Middle School Learning Coordinator
    (615) 277-7470
    Wake Forest University - B.A.
    Peabody College, Vanderbilt University - M.Ed.
    At USN since: 2011
  • Photo of Randi Days

    Randi Days 

    Middle School Counselor and Resource Director
    Trevecca Nazarene University - EdD
    Tennessee State University - MEd
    Fisk University - BA
    At USN since: 2022
  • Photo of Kari Luecke

    Kari Luecke 

    Middle School Educational Technologist
    Lipscomb University - M.Ed. Administration; B.S. Interdisciplines
    National Board Certified Teacher - Middle Childhood Generalist
    At USN since: 2018
  • Photo of Roderick White

    Roderick White 

    Director, Office of Diversity and Community Life
    615 277-7480
    Trevecca Nazarene University - BA
    Nashville School of Law - J.D.
    At USN since: 2015
  • Photo of Michael Gimblette

    Michael Gimblette 

    Middle School Athletic Director and Varsity Baseball Coach
    State University of New York at Cortland - MSed
    State University of New York at Cortland - BS
    Peabody College, Vanderbilt University - MEd
    At USN since: 2015
USN Mission: 
University School of Nashville models the best educational practices. In an environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville, USN fosters each student’s intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential, valuing and inspiring integrity, creative expression, a love of learning, and the pursuit of excellence.