I am writing today to share exciting news about SCORE and steps our Board of Directors have taken to continue the momentum of our organization and the historic educational gains Tennessee students are making.

Without a doubt, the progress Tennessee has made in student achievement has been unprecedented. The state has become a national leader in education improvement. I am so proud that under the strong leadership of Jamie Woodson, SCORE has played such a major role as an advocate for student-focused, research-backed policies that have helped Tennessee educators produce these historic gains for our students.

In 2011, SCORE was barely two years old when Jamie stepped into lead, and I have watched with deep appreciation and admiration her work to realize and exceed my vision. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that SCORE has incubated an environment for unprecedented student and school success all across our state. Jamie has significantly expanded SCORE’s reach and impact – quadrupling the investment in our mission to dramatically increase programs and bring on the talented professionals to lead them – to foster great teaching and learning and advance student success in Tennessee.

Thanks to Jamie’s vision, direction, and active collaboration with so many national and state partners, SCORE is widely seen today as one of the nation’s best-in-class, policy-focused nonprofits dedicated to making a real and substantive difference in the lives of students, their families, and communities. With such an exceptional foundation, SCORE is poised for even greater success.

After eight tremendous years of leadership, and at her request to explore new ways to contribute to our success, Jamie will transition into a new role beginning January 1 as senior adviser to SCORE – continuing to counsel and support our team in multiple ways.

To succeed her, I am excited to share with you that the SCORE board has unanimously voted to promote SCORE President David Mansouri, naming him President and Chief Executive Officer.

No one is better prepared than David to build upon Jamie’s tremendous accomplishments and to lead us forward in our work to help Tennessee’s students become the very best in the nation. It truly is the best of both worlds to have an experienced leader like David settle into a new role while SCORE continues to benefit from Jamie’s wise counsel.

Under David’s leadership, SCORE will continue to lead the nation in advancing real and substantive education reform and will assist and support our newly elected leaders – and the parents, teachers, principals, and district educators who work so hard every day to create a lifetime of opportunity for each and every Tennessee student.

Today, Tennessee is consistently ranked as one of the fastest improving states in the nation in student achievement. During the past eight years, students in the Volunteer State have jumped from 46th to 34th in the nation in fourth-grade math, and we have moved from the back of the pack into the top half of states in fourth- and eighth-grade science. We enjoy the highest graduation rates, and we have the highest ACT scores in the history of the state.

Throughout this period, David has not only served as Jamie’s right hand, but he has led much of our work. He is uniquely positioned to lead SCORE as we support the transition of so many state and local leaders, and he will also launch and lead SCORE’s new strategic planning process to quickly set the course for where our organization will lead moving forward.

I hope you will join me in congratulating David on this tremendous new role – and in thanking and honoring Jamie for her leadership, service, and commitment to SCORE and to the students and families of Tennessee.

Thank you for all you continue to do. I look forward to seeing or talking with you soon.

Senator Bill Frist is the founder and chairman of SCORE.