NASHVILLE – The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) has invited 30 leaders from across higher education, K-12 education, government, business and industry, and nonprofits to participate in the next cohort of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute (CTLI).

By 2025, at least half of the jobs in Tennessee will require some type of postsecondary credential, according to data from the Center for Economic Research in Tennessee; latest figures from the Lumina Foundation put Tennessee’s college attainment rate at 45 percent. Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion.

“The mission of CTLI is to ensure that all Tennesseans have equitable access to a high-quality postsecondary opportunity and the supports necessary for completion,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the challenge for students even greater by worsening the systemic inequities. We applaud the members of this year’s cohort for their commitment to tackle these tough issues and improve outcomes for Tennessee’s postsecondary students.”

SCORE continues to partner with The Hunt Institute, a national leader in the movement to transform public education, to help design learning opportunities for CTLI and serve as an out-of-state voice to lead participants in translating their learning into action.

“The Hunt Institute is excited to work with this new cohort of CTLI leaders at a time when supporting higher education students is more important than ever,” said The Hunt Institute President and CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “I have no doubt that this diverse group of Tennesseans will effectively champion higher education reform efforts in their local communities, and we look forward to supporting those efforts in partnership with SCORE.”

The participants chosen for this cohort bring varied expertise and perspectives to the program. The leaders selected for CTLI are:

  • Sally Avery, Director of Center for Economic Research in Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Tanisha Baker, Director of Programming and Analytics, Project GRAD Knoxville
  • Jamilica Burke, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Seeding Success     
  • Claudia Caballero, Executive Director, Centro Hispano de East Tennessee
  • Chuck Carter, Career and Technical Education Director, Hamblen County Schools  
  • Darrell Cobbins, CEO, Universal Commercial Real Estate                     
  • Eric Dailey, Vice President, Teach for America                          
  • Laura Delgado, Program Director, Pionero Scholars, Lipscomb University  
  • Julius Dodds, Director of Academic Retention, Chattanooga State Community College
  • Dr. Echell Eady, Vice President of Instruction and Accreditation, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro                         
  • Michalyn Easter-Thomas, City Council Representative, City of Memphis
  • Annie Freeland, Director of Policy and Engagement, University of Tennessee  
  • Robert Fisher, Senior Education Advisor, Office of the Mayor – Nashville
  • Kimberly Herring, Student Information Systems Administrator, Cumberland County Schools
  • Dr. Keith V. Johnson, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, East Tennessee State University
  • Dr. Bethany King Wilkes, Program Director, Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support, Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Jessica R. Lewis, Special Assistant for Strategic Initiatives, Volunteer State Community College
  • Dr. Jean Luna, Chief of Programs, Tennessee Department of Education 
  • Scott Meltzer, Director of Talent Solutions, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce  
  • Brianna Morton, Counselor, Ayers Foundation
  • Dr. Brittany Mosby, Director of HBCU Success, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • Ellen O’Neal, Scholarship Program Specialist, HCA Healthcare Foundation  
  • Dr. Jeff Sisk, President, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Jackson
  • Robin Sealy, Tipton County Government, Workforce Development Coordinator        
  • Brandi Stroecker, Director, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network – Battelle
  • Dr. Arrita Summers, President, Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Dickson      
  • Maegan Tribble, Senior Director of Finance and Administration, tnAchieves    
  • Dr. Keith D. White, Director of Research and Effectiveness, Hamilton County Public Education Foundation
  • Tracy Whitehead, Tennessee Pathways Coordinator, Tennessee Board of Regents
  • Regina Wilkerson Ward, Director of Education and Workforce Development, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce

“By bringing together Tennessee leaders from a broad range of sectors and backgrounds to engage in educational opportunities and address challenges in Tennessee higher education, CTLI creates a diverse network of committed leaders to serve as champions for postsecondary students,” said SCORE Chief Postsecondary Impact Officer Dr. Russ Wigginton. “These leaders will drive needed change at all levels of higher education — local, regional, and state — to improve postsecondary access, persistence, and success for Tennessee students.”

Over the coming year, this group will work together — meeting virtually to start and in person when safe and appropriate — to identify barriers to postsecondary education in Tennessee and advocate within their communities to drive systemic change.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) believes all Tennessee students deserve success in college, career, and life. SCORE supports a unified and coordinated approach to education – from kindergarten through postsecondary – focused on helping all students complete high school and postsecondary education, earning the diplomas and credentials needed for a rewarding career. An independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution, SCORE was founded in 2009 by Senator Bill Frist, MD, former US Senate Majority Leader. SCORE measures success by the academic growth and achievement of Tennessee’s students. Learn more at

An affiliate of the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, The Hunt Institute is a recognized leader in the movement to transform public education. Marshaling expertise from a nationwide partner network since it was established in 2001, The Institute brings together people and resources that help build and nurture visionary leadership and mobilize strategic action for greater educational outcomes and student success. Learn more at