Working Group Members

Several district leaders and teachers from the education community, as well as other civil rights and advocacy groups, will help form the transition plan for the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While most of Tennessee’s existing laws and practices are already in line with what is required under ESSA, the new law provides the department an opportunity to engage with Tennessee’s education communities on specific state and local policies to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education.

The department established six working groups that are focusing on key topics: standards and assessment, accountability, support for English learners, educator support and effectiveness, school improvement, and student support. Below is a list of each working group that is led by two senior state education officials and consists of nine to 12 leaders from different education communities and school districts. Working groups begin meeting in early June and will continue to work through the summer to provide input on the ESSA transition plan. Additionally, members of the working groups are encouraged to collaborate within their individual communities to get additional feedback and ideas.

List of working group leads and members:


State Leads:

·  Christy Wall, Assistant Commissioner of Instructional Strategy

·  Virginia Mayfield, Sr. Director of Math, Science, and Instructional Materials

Working Group Members:

· Melanie Allen, Manager, Knoxville Head Start

· Melody Armstrong, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Athens City Schools

· Dr. Maya Bugg, CEO, Tennessee Charter School Center

· Bob Eby, Chairman, Tennessee State Board of Education

· Morgan Rankin, 2022 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Johnson City Schools

· Tara Scarlett, President and CEO, Scarlett Family Foundation

·  Ben Torres, Assistant Executive Director/General Counsel, Tennessee School Boards Association

·  Richard Vanhuss, Director of Schools, Elizabethton City Schools

Assessment & Accountability

State Leads:

· David Laird, Assistant Commissioner of Assessment and Accountability

·  Hsiang Yeh Ho, Sr. Director of Accountability

Working Group Members:

· Jeanne Barker, Director of Schools, Lenoir City Schools

· Jonathan Criswell, Director of Schools, Milan Special School District

· Kevin Deck, Assessment Analyst, Williamson County Schools

· Wendy Hansard, Director of Academic Support for Data

·  Dr. Sara Heyburn Morrison, Executive Director, Tennessee State Board of Education

·  Christy Hovanetz, Sr. Policy Fellow, ExcelinEd

·  Kyle Loudermilk, 2022-23 Principal of the Year, Kingsport City Schools

·  Rep. Harold Love, Jr., Tennessee General Assembly, District 58

·  David Mansouri, President and CEO, TN SCORE

· Bob Nardo, Founding Head of School and Executive Director, Libertas School of Memphis

· Dana Price, President Elect, Tennessee PTA

· Dr. Tina Stenson, Executive Director of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation, Metro-Nashville Public Schools

·  Sen. Bo Watson, Tennessee General Assembly, District 11

Career Readiness

State Leads:

· Deb Knoll, Assistant Commissioner of College, Career and Technical Education

·  Candi Collier, Sr. Director of Career and Technical Education and Special Projects

·  Chelsea Rose, Sr. Director of College and Career Readiness

Working Group Members:

·  Dr. Russ Deaton, Executive Vice Chancellor for Policy and Strategy, TBR

·  Dr. Nancy Dishner, President and CEO, Niswonger Foundation

·  Dr. Jean Luna-Vedder, Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery School System

·  Sen. Jon Lundburg, Tennessee General Assembly, District 4

·  Briana Moore, Chief Strategy Officer, Department of Labor & Workforce Development

·  Deidre Pendley, Director of Career & Technical Education, Bristol Tennessee City Schools

· Tammy Sharp, Chairman, Rutherford County Schools

·  Dr. David Stephens, Director of Schools, Bartlett City Schools

·  Deniece Thomas, Commissioner, Department of Labor & Workforce Development

·  Stamatia Xixis, Chief of Staff, Department of Labor & Workforce Development


State Leads:

·  Brooke Amos, Assistant Commissioner of Human Capital

·  Martha Moore, Sr. Director of Educator Effectiveness

Working Group Members:

·  James Aldinger, Chief of Human Resources and Federal Programs, Bartlett City Schools

·  Dr. Linda Cash, Director of Schools, Bradley County Schools

·  Lillian Hartgrove, Chairman Emeritus, Tennessee State Board of Education

·  Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director, National Rural Education Association

·  Dr. Clint Satterfield, Director of Schools, Trousdale County Schools

Student Supports

State Leads:

·  Lori Paisley, Sr. Director of Coordinated School Health

·  Brinn Obermiller, Sr. Director of ESEA Oversight

Working Group Members:

·  Tyler Boldin, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee

·  Kate Galyon, Health Educator, Loudon County Schools

·  Jayme Simmons, Executive Director, Bill and Crissy Haslam Foundation

·  Dr. Danny Weeks, Director of Schools, Dickson County Schools

·  Jennings Wilson, Northwest Tennessee Parent


State Leads:

·  Robin Copp, Interim Achievement School District Director of Schools and Assistant Commissioner of School Turnaround

·  Penny Tubbs, West TN Regional Director of School Improvement

Working Group Members:

·  Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Schools, Metro Nashville Public Schools

·  Erika Berry, Sr. Director of Policy, TennesseeCAN

·  Erin Block, School Board Member, Metro Nashville Public Schools

· Beverly Davis, President, Whitehaven Empowerment Zone PTSO

· Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, Tennessee General Assembly, District 27

·  Jack Powers, Regional Advocacy Director for the Southeast Region, ExcelinEd

·  Dr. B.J. Worthington, Leadership Coach, Cognia

Unique Subgroups of Students

State Leads:

· Dr. Jennifer Jordan, Assistant Commissioner of Special Education and Intervention Programs

·  Hannah Gribble, Title III and Migrant Education Program Grant Manager

·  Joann Runion, Sr. Director of Intervention Programs

Working Group Members:

· Jennifer Aprea, Director of Family Engagement in Special Education, The Arc Tennessee

·  Dr. Cathy Beck, Director of Schools, Cheatham County Schools

·  Dr. Laura Clark, Director of Center for Educational Media, Middle Tennessee State University

· Dr. Trey Duke, Director of Schools, Murfreesboro City Schools

· Dr. Sandra Edwards, Director of Schools, Tennessee Schools for the Deaf

· Gini Pupo-Walker, Executive Director, The Education Trust- Tennessee

· Martina Stump, Director of Education, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services

· Kirk Vandersall, Founder and Managing Director, Arroyo Research Services

·  Sen. Dawn White, Tennessee General Assembly, District 13