New Task Force To Strengthen Postsecondary And Workforce Readiness In K-12 Education

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen unveiled on Tuesday a roster of state business, education, and community leaders to serve on the Career Forward Task Force, a group designed to examine and explore ways to better engage students in their academic preparation, personal and social development and workplace readiness.  

“Many students are still not adequately prepared to take advantage of opportunities after high school graduation,” Commissioner McQueen said. “This group of leaders will bring diverse perspectives as we discuss concrete ways we can strengthen the integration of postsecondary and workforce readiness throughout K-12 education, ultimately preparing our students to meet the demands of the real world.” 

The task force includes a broad spectrum of stakeholders from business, education, government and communities across the state. The group will meet monthly throughout the spring and summer to learn, listen, discuss and craft recommendations to strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary and the workforce. They will work to define career readiness and the milestones necessary to prepare a student, as well as developing recommendations to align current workforce needs across the education spectrum. 

The task force will include the following members:
Burns Phillips, Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development
Mike Krause, Executive Director, Tennessee Promise and Drive to 55
Sara Heyburn, Executive Director, Tennessee State Board of Education
Russ Deaton, Interim Executive Director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Ted Townsend, Chief of Staff, Department of Economic and Community Development
James King, Vice Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents
Tristan Denley, Vice Chancellor, Tennessee Board of Regents
Eddie Pruett, Director of Schools, Gibson County Special Schools
Jerry Boyd, Director of Schools, Putnam County Schools
John Faulconer, Principal, Knox County Schools
Arlette Robinson, Career and Technical Education Director, Bradley County Schools
Susan Farris, Career and Technical Education Director, Lauderdale County Schools
Stacey Kizer, Information Technology teacher, Williamson County Schools
Celeste Carruthers, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Tennessee
Harry Brooks, Chairman, House Education Committee, Tennessee General Assembly
John Forgety, Chairman, House Education Committee, Tennessee General Assembly
Jeff Frazier, Principal and Dean, Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Eastman Chemical
Cal Wray, Executive Director, Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council
Suzanne Payne, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Unum
Tony Cates, Human Resources Manager, Gestamp
Coral Getino, Parent, Knox County Schools
Kristina McClure, Parent, Hamilton County Schools
Catherine English, Student, Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University
Debbie Shedden, Tennessee School Board Association President, Hawkins County School Board
Kristen McGraner, Executive Director, STEM Prep Academy, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Missy Blissard, School Counselor, Rutherford County Schools
Jade Grieve, Senior Director, America Achieves
Becca Leech, Special Education teacher, Warren County Schools 

The task force will issue a report on its findings with associated recommendations this fall. The first meeting of the task force will convene on Thursday and will focus on national and international practices and models on postsecondary and career readiness and the stakeholders critical to achieving postsecondary and career readiness. 

For more information, contact Ashley Ball at 615.532-6260 or Ashley.M.Ball@tn.gov.


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