MNPS Voices: Pat Finney

#MNPSVoices: Patricia “Pat” Finney, Secretary, MNPS Pre-K Programs
Posted on 01/27/2022
Pat Finney portrait

Patricia Finney has dedicated well over half of her life to serving students and families in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and there is no doubt that she is committed to her work in the school district. Pat Finney portrait

Now, after 50 years of service to the students, families and staff of MNPS, Finney is looking forward to a well-deserved retirement.
Finney, who is Alabama-born and Florida-raised, started her career with Metro Schools in February 1971, when she joined the MNPS Nashville Occupational Training Program to brush up on her typing and shorthand skills for the workplace.

“My sister lived in Nashville, and I came to visit and liked it so much I joined the training program, and as they say, the rest is history,” Finney said.

After she completed the program, she was hired by Metro as a secretary in what was then known as District 1. Prior to the introduction of tier levels for elementary, middle and high schools, MNPS functioned as a three-district school system with offices around the county, including:

  • District 1 – Maplewood
  • District 2 – Crieve Hall
  • District 3 – Cavert (Exceptional Education)

“I worked on the campus site of Maplewood High School in the elementary department, which was kindergarten through eighth grade at the time,” she continues.

In 1983, Finney moved to the district’s central office, now referred to as the Support Hub. Although she has always remained in an administrative role and a supporter of elementary students, she has worked in various departments, such as Administrative Services, Curriculum and Instruction, and the Pre-K department.

After serving under nine superintendents, Finney is a walking wealth of knowledge for all things Metro Schools, including when and why various departments were established or disbanded and who the department heads were.

While she has watched the district evolve under each new administration, she believes not much has changed since she started many years ago.

“We’ve gone from typewriters to computers, but my work has pretty much stayed the same, I’m just doing more of what I’ve always done,” Finney said.

Nine Superintendents Patricia Finney Has Served

  • Dr. Elbert Brooks (1970-1980)
  • Charles Frazier (1980-1992)
  • Dr. Richard Benjamin (1992-1997)
  • Dr. Bill Wise (1997-2001)
  • Dr. Pedro Garcia (2001-2008)
  • Chris Henson (Interim, 2008-2009 and 2015-2016)
  • Dr. Jesse Register (2009-2015)
  • Dr. Shawn Joseph (2016-2019)
  • Dr. Adrienne Battle (2019-present)

Finney currently performs her administrative duties as the secretary for the Pre-Kindergarten department, which serves over 3,000 students in 186 programs and four early learning centers.

Finney remembers when seats were selected on a first-come, first-served basis, but she is glad they use the lottery system now.

Finney has enjoyed her time serving families and other co-workers by answering their many questions about Pre-K programs.

“I have learned so much from Patricia Finney about dedication, patience and what it means to honor your commitments. Because of her knowledge and history with our school system, her input has been invaluable not only to me, but to team members, school staff and the families we serve,” said Phyllis Phillips, Director of Pre-K Programs and Finney’s supervisor.

Finney has been affectionately called the “Pre-k Princess” for many years and is admired by many co-workers past and present. Bettye Mathis, a 1984 Hillsboro High School graduate and a 36-year MNPS employee, worked with Finney for many years and had this to say about her:

“Talk about MNPS knowledge and MNPS rulebook, she was the go-to person when we needed anything at central office. She was always so pleasant over the phone and always willing to help,” Mathis said. “When I moved to central office in 1998, I was able to meet Pat face to face, and it was like meeting a ‘Princess.’ I was lucky to work directly across from her for many years.”
Florence Kidd, retired executive director of elementary schools (1976-2008) and still a regular at the Support Hub, has been with MNPS in one capacity or another for nearly as long as Finney.

“You can count on Pat, she’s very steady,” Kidd said. “If she said she was going to do something, she got it done. She was also going to do it her way, which was always the Metro way.”

There is no doubt that Patricia Finney has given her time, talent and dedication to Metro Schools over the last 50 years, and she looks forward to retiring this upcoming June. She’ll have plenty of good memories to carry with her.

“It’s been fun,” she said.

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