NASHVILLE – Thirty-one educators have been selected for the 2019-20 class of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship through a competitive admissions process, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) announced today.
“The Tennessee Educator Fellowship convenes talented and driven educators who are relentless advocates for improving student achievement through student-focused policies and practices,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “The fellows bring unique and diverse perspectives and experiences that are invaluable as they participate in local and state-level conversations about preparing all students for success in college, career, and life.”
The Tennessee Educator Fellowship is a yearlong program that equips teachers, school counselors, interventionists, and librarians to learn about education policy and advocate for their students and their profession. The educators chosen this year work in a variety of settings: traditional public schools, public magnet schools, and public charter schools.
Since 2014, the fellowship has supported more than 180 educators to engage in critical discussions about education policy by speaking at public events, inviting policymakers into their classrooms, writing about their experiences in state and national publications, creating regional professional networks, and serving on state-level policy committees.
“The 31 fellows—from different backgrounds, grade levels, subjects, and regions of the state— bring diverse perspectives to policy and practice conversations with a clear focus on greater academic growth and opportunities for all Tennessee students,” SCORE Educator Engagement Associate Leigh Cooksey said.
This is the sixth year of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship. The fellows chosen for the 2019-20 cohort have a combined teaching experience of 358 years and represent elementary, middle, and high schools in 26 districts across East, Middle, and West Tennessee. The members of this cohort teach English language arts, math, science, social studies, STEM, construction trades, and special education in urban, suburban, and rural schools. The cohort also includes educators who serve as school counselors, a librarian, and an educator who teaches English language learners.
The 2019-20 Tennessee Educator Fellows are:
Lize Bailey teaches first grade at Rock Springs Elementary in Sullivan County Schools. Bailey has been teaching for seven years.
Linda Biggers teaches eighth-grade English language arts at Milan Middle School in Milan Special School District. Biggers has been teaching for 15 years.
Lauren Binkley teaches English language learners at Cole Elementary in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Binkley has been teaching for 11 years.
Stephanie Boyd teaches sixth-grade English language arts at Algood Middle School in Putnam County Schools. Boyd has been teaching for 19 years.
Crystal Brooks teaches second-grade English language arts and math at Thelma Barker Elementary School in Jackson-Madison County Schools. Brooks has been teaching for three years.
Marsha Buck teaches eighth-grade science at Ross N. Robinson Middle School in Kingsport City Schools. Buck has been teaching for 19 years.
Dr. Allie Dempsey teaches sixth-grade English language arts at Farragut Middle School in Knox County Schools. Dempsey has been teaching for eight years.
Billie Goldston is a reading interventionist for grades K-5 at Raymond S. Bowers Elementary School in Roane County Schools. Goldston has been teaching for 18 years.
John Graham teaches high school construction and wellness at Union City High School in Union City Schools. Graham has been teaching for seven years.
Dr. Amanda Hargis teaches English language arts for grades 9-12 at Warren County High School in Warren County Schools. Hargis has been teaching for 12 years.
Melody Hawkins teaches eighth-grade science at Vine Middle Magnet School in Knox County Schools. Hawkins has been teaching for four years.
Ashley James teaches kindergarten at W.G. Rhea Elementary School in Paris Special School District. James has been teaching for 13 years.
Bob Kirkland teaches STEM at Sam Houston Elementary in Maryville City Schools. Kirkland has been teaching for 13 years.
Haley Lee teaches 10th-grade English language arts at Claiborne High School in Claiborne County Schools. Lee has been teaching for six years.
Tameka H. Marshall teaches third grade at Norman Binkley Elementary School in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Marshall has been teaching for 13 years.
Dr. Tekeysha McCown teaches eighth-grade English language arts at Munford Middle School in Tipton County Schools. McCown has been teaching for seven years.
Carlin McGlown teaches seventh-grade English language arts at Munford Middle School in Tipton County Schools. McGlown has been teaching for seven years.
Jeff McMurray teaches construction trades at Halls High School and North Knox Career and Technical Education Center in Knox County Schools. McMurray has been teaching for 14 years.
April Moore teaches eighth-grade English language arts at Stone Elementary School in Cumberland County Schools. Moore has been teaching for 21 years.
Carol Nanney is a librarian at McKenzie High School in the McKenzie Special School District. Nanney has been in education for 26 years.
Marie Papini is a school counselor at KIPP Collegiate High School in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Papini has been in education for 13 years.
Sara Perry teaches fifth-grade English language arts at Westhills Elementary School in Marshall County Schools. Perry has been teaching for nine years.
Jacob Puckett teaches seventh-grade social studies at William James Middle School in Dickson County Schools. Puckett has been teaching for seven years.
Caroline Souza teaches third grade at McConnell Elementary School in Hamilton County Schools. Souza has been teaching for six years.
Terrence Surles teaches grades K-5 special education at Roy Waldron Elementary School in Rutherford County.Surles has been teaching for 17 years.
Kenya Turner is a school counselor at Humboldt Junior and Senior High School in Humboldt City Schools. Turner has been in education for 15 years.
Liza Vaughn teaches fifth grade at Kenrose Elementary School in Williamson County Schools. Vaughn has been teaching for 18 years.
Katherine Watkins teaches 12th-grade English language arts at Millington Central High School in Millington Municipal Schools. Watkins has been teaching for eight years.
Vandy Watt teaches high school social studies at Central High School in McMinn County Schools. Watt has been teaching for seven years.
Tatiyana Webb teaches eighth-grade math at The Soulsville Charter School in Shelby County Schools. Webb has been teaching for six years.
Deb Wimberley teaches seventh-grade English language arts at Coffee County Middle School in Coffee County Schools. Wimberley has been teaching for nine years.
Past fellows have led new education initiatives and worked to improve outcomes for all students. Their work has included advocating for the use of high-quality instructional materials; starting a leadership academy for students to explore a career in teaching; bringing community leaders into classrooms to discuss the importance of literacy in their careers; expanding access to early postsecondary opportunities for students; amplifying the voice, presence, and support for educators of color; and much more. Fellows also have engaged in education conversations at the local, state, and national levels and written op-eds and blog posts for news and education outlets, including The Tennessean, Education Post, and Hechinger Report.
Throughout the upcoming year, the fellows will learn through in-person and online convenings and will serve as liaisons between their colleagues, their communities, and policymakers as Tennessee continues the work of improving academic achievement for all students.