NASHVILLE – Thirty-two leaders from higher education, K-12 education, government, business, and nonprofit organizations have been invited by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) to participate in the 2021-22 cohort of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute (CTLI).

In partnership with The Hunt Institute, SCORE will provide learning opportunities for CTLI participants and translate that learning into action during the one-year program. The goal of CTLI is to eliminate barriers to postsecondary education and completion in Tennessee — work that is made more urgent due to education disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Community college enrollment rates dropped significantly in the fall of 2020, most notably for Black and Hispanic students,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Given the compounding effect the pandemic is having on college enrollment, persistence, and completion, it is more urgent than ever that we partner with the leaders in this cohort to ensure equitable opportunity for all Tennessee students to attend and complete postsecondary education.”

By 2025, the Lumina Foundation projects that 60 percent of adults in the United States will need education beyond high school in order to obtain gainful employment. According to the latest figures from the Lumina Foundation, Tennessee’s college attainment rate is just shy of 47 percent.

Since 2019, SCORE has partnered with The Hunt Institute to provide national perspective for CTLI participants and help lead them in translating what they learn into action in their communities.

“Over the past three years, we’ve been impressed with the way in which CTLI has brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from across Tennessee,” said The Hunt Institute President and CEO Dr. Javaid Siddiqi. “Among past cohort members, we’ve seen an immense increase in leadership capacity and knowledge regarding higher education issues. I’m confident that we’ll see further improvements in higher education as we develop more leaders capable of championing education reform in their local communities and across the state. We are excited to continue our partnership with SCORE and look forward to supporting these efforts for years to come.”

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

Kiah Albritton, Policy and Communications Associate, The Education Trust in Tennessee
Sonji Branch, CEO, Communities In Schools of Memphis
Dr. Ernest L. Brothers, Associate Dean, The Graduate School, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Dr. Shanita Brown, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Karen Brunner, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Student Success Initiatives, Roane State Community College
Alex F. Ortiz Calix, Director of School Operations, Kipp Memphis Academy Middle
Dr. Jeff Cockrell, Programs Coordinator, TCAT Nashville                   
Dr. Verontae Deams, Interim University Registrar, Tennessee State University                  
Bo Drake, Program Director, Vice President of Economic & Workforce Development, Chattanooga State Community College   
Dr. Leslie Eldridge, CTE Supervisor, Putnam County School System
Dr. Christopher Garner, Director of Student Life, Meharry Medical College
Nathan Garrett, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Workforce Alignment, Tennessee Board of Regents
Carlton Greene, Associate Dean Business & Technology, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Dr. Shane Harwood, Executive Principal, Signal Mountain Middle High School, Hamilton County Schools
Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston, Assistant Professor of Public Health, Health Administration, and Health Sciences, Tennessee State University 
Alisha Hinton, Senior Specialist, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching
Ruth Ann Holt, Vice President, Student Affairs, Columbia State Community College
Dr. Jacob Kamer, Director of Research and Strategy, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Karla MacIntyre, College Access and Success Manager, Conexion Americas
Michelle McKissack, Board Commissioner and Chair, Shelby County Schools
Dr. Sidney McPhee, Interim Assistant Vice President of Student Success, Motlow State Community College
Matthew Otero, Senior Director of Data, tnAchieves
Amy Profant, TN Pathways Regional Coordinator, Tennessee Board of Regents  
Anna Lisa Roberts, Economic Development Manager, Williamson Inc.
Dr. Javiette Samuel, Associate Vice Chancellor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Dr. Ahmad Sims, Dean of Student Success, Christian Brothers University
Inna Slisher, English Language Learners Supervisor and Migrant Liaison, Knox County Schools
Dr. Anna Lora Taylor, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Carson-Newman University
Chris Tingle, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Data Strategy, Tennessee Board of Regents
Dr. Dustin Warren, Assistant Principal, Culleoka Unit School, Maury County Public Schools
Dr. Bobby White, Founder and CEO, Frayser Community Schools
Mike Whitehead, President, TCAT Pulaski

“We are excited to have these outstanding leaders on board to address the tough challenges we face to support Tennessee students — especially during these extraordinary times,” said SCORE Postsecondary Program and Engagement Manager Shawn Boyd. “We appreciate the willingness and commitment of these leaders to drive the change that will help ensure all Tennessee students are able to achieve career and life success through higher education.”

Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion. Over the coming year, this diverse group of leaders will work to identify the barriers and equity gaps that exist in our postsecondary system and advocate within their own communities to drive systemic change.