TDOE Announces Subcommittee Members Representing Tennessee Schools And Districts Focused On Student-Based Funding Strategy

80+ School And District Leaders Join Conversations Statewide

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Tennessee Department of Education on Wednesday announced the subcommittee members of the Teacher Advisory Subcommittee, Principal Advisory Subcommittee, School System Personnel Subcommittee, School System Leadership Subcommittee, Rural and Small District Subcommittee, Suburban Districts, Municipals, and Fast-Growing Communities Subcommittee, Urban District Subcommittee, which is the next in the series of announcements on Tennessee’s review of a student-based public education funding strategy.

Governor Bill Lee on Oct. 8 called for a full review of the state’s funding formula for public education to focus on a student investment strategy that emphasizes all students rather than systems, empowers parents to engage in their child’s education and outcomes, ensures all students are prepared for postsecondary success, and reflects Tennesseans’ values, said officials. In total, 18 subcommittees will convene twice per month to hold conversations on how to create a student-focused investment strategy from the lens of their subcommittee’s respective stakeholder group.

"Bringing our district and school leaders and educators who are the boots on the ground in our school systems each and every day is essential as we hold discussions on a student-focused funding strategy for public education in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our educators, district and school leaders and advocates for these groups understand the needs our students have in the classroom and can provide critical insights during these conversations as we explore how to better support our students and their futures.”

The 86 members of the school and district focused funding review subcommittees are: 

Teacher Advisory Subcommittee 
Chair: Morgan Rankin, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year, Johnson City Schools, First Region 
Daniel Warner, 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalist, Shelby County Schools, Southwest Region 
Brianne Matheney, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Chester County Schools, Southwest Region 
Danielle VanCleave, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Weakley County Schools, Northwest Region 
Elizabeth Evans, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Anderson County Schools, East Region 
Kami Lunsford, 2020-21 Teacher of the Year, Knox County Schools, East Region 
Erin Blalock, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Warren County Schools, Upper Cumberland Region 
Hannah Hopper, 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalist, Hamblen County Schools, First Region 
Laura Boyd, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Franklin Special School District, Mid Cumberland Region 
Lauryn England, 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalist, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Mid Cumberland Region 
Samantha Stevens, 2020-21 Teacher of the Year finalist, Tullahoma City Schools, South Central Region 
Sheron Smith, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year finalist, Cleveland City Schools, Southeast Region 
Dawn White, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly  
Tim Hicks, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly

Principal Advisory Subcommittee 
Chair: Farrah Griffith, Principal, White County Schools 
Kimberly Shurett, Principal, Marion County Schools 
Stephanie Beach, Principal, Bartlett City Schools 
Lance Taylor, Principal, Sumner County Schools 
Monti Hillis, Principal, Warren County Schools  
Corey Limburg, Principal, Bradley County Schools 
Nancy Lay, Principal, Campbell County Schools 
Jenna Sharp, Principal, Clinton City Schools 
Lee Ziegler, Principal, Hamilton County Schools  
Rusty Crowe, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 
John Gillespie, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly

School System Personnel Subcommittee 
Chair: Steve Starnes, Director of Schools, Greeneville City Schools 
Kim Worley, Director of Schools, Dyersburg City Schools 
Bo Griffin, Director of Schools, Millington Municipal Schools 
Cathy Beck, Director of Schools, Cheatham County Schools 
Dr. Joey Vaughn, Director of Schools, Manchester City Schools 
Clint Satterfield, Director of Schools, Trousdale County Schools  
Dr. Bruce Borchers, Superintendent, Oak Ridge City Schools 
Dr. Nakia Towns, Interim Superintendent, Hamilton County Schools 
Tutonial Williams, Chief Financial Officer, Shelby County Schools 
Gary Hicks, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly  
Ed Jackson, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 
Mark Cochran, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly  
Nick Darnell, Member, State Board of Education

School System Leadership Subcommittee 
Chair: Dr. Danny Weeks, Director of Schools, Dickson County Schools 
Mark Florence, Director of Schools, Benton County Schools 
Dr. Gary Lilly, Superintendent, Collierville Schools  
Dr. Steve Barnett, Superintendent, Johnson City Schools  
Chad Moorehead, Director of Schools, Moore County Schools 
Diane Elder, Director of Schools, Pickett County Schools 
Rob Britt, Director of Schools, Blount County Schools 
Dr. Russell Dyer, Director of Schools, Cleveland City Schools 
Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, Johnson County Schools 
Page Walley, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 
John Ragan, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly

Urban District Subcommittee 
Chair: Cato Johnson, Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President of Public Policy/Regulatory Affairs, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare 
Candy Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga; Liaison, Tennessee Urban League Affiliates 
Terence Patterson, President & Chief Executive Officer, Memphis Education Fund 
Cardell Orrin, Memphis Executive Director, STAND for Children Tennessee  
David Jordan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Agape 
Tyler Boldin, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee; Liaison, Big Brothers Big Sisters Tennessee Statewide Association 
Ted Cornelius, Executive Director, Tennessee State Alliance of YMCAs 
Ryan Hughes, Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club in Tennessee 
Chris Henson, Chief of Finance, Metro Nashville Public Schools 
Dr. Joris Ray, Director of Schools, Shelby County Schools 
Raumesh Akbari, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly  
Eddie Mannis, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly  
Darrell Cobbins, Member, Tennessee General Assembly

Suburban Districts, Municipals, and Fast-Growing Communities Subcommittee 
Chair: Dr. Ted Horrell, Director of Schools, Lakeland School System 
Dr. Annette Tudor, Director of Schools, Bristol City Schools  
Scott Becker, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Genesco 
Bill Spurlock, Director of Schools, Rutherford County Schools 
Dr. Catherine Stephens, Director of Schools, Tullahoma City Schools 
Dr. Del Phillips, Director of Schools, Sumner County Schools 
Vanessa Presson, Complex Human Resources Manager, Tyson  
John Aitken, Advisory Board, Association of Independent and Municipal Schools 
Paul Rose, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly  
Charlie Baum, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly 
Lillian Hartgrove, Chair, State Board of Education

Rural and Small District Subcommittee 
Chair: Janet Ayers, President, The Ayers Foundation 
Dr. Allan Pratt, Board Member, Tennessee Rural Education Association 
Charlie Hatcher, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture  
Dr. Jerry Boyd, Director of Schools, Washington County Schools 
Mike Garren, Superintendent, Loudon County Schools 
Kristy Brown, Director of Schools, Jackson County Schools 
Shawn Kimble, Director of Schools, Lauderdale County Schools 
Dr. Norma Gerrell, Director of Schools, Paris Special School District 
Eddie Pruett, Director of Schools, Gibson County Special School District 
William Curtis, Director of Schools, Cannon County Schools  
John Stevens, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 
Ron Gant, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly 
Bob Eby, Vice Chair, State Board of Education

“I am very honored to serve on the funding review subcommittee," said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, director of Schools, Johnson County Schools. "A student-focused funding strategy is essential to systems for innovation and progress that centers around every child in our state being treated fairly and equally. Our goal as educators is to ensure that all of our students PreK-12th grade are college and career ready and to prepare the students in Tennessee for success outside of the classroom.”

“Matching funding to the needs of the students is something we have been doing at MNPS for several years to create a more equitable public school system here in Nashville," said Chris Henson, chief financial officer, Metro Nashville Public Schools. "Students in urban areas especially often experience significant challenges outside of school that require additional resources to address if they are going to be successful in learning and in life. Moving towards a student-based budgeting model has the potential to close historic resource gaps that have existed for far too long in public education."

"I am pleased that Governor Lee is forming several working committees to analyze and possibly revise the current education funding formula in the state of Tennessee,” said Jenna Sharp, principal, Clinton Elementary School. “I look forward to being a part of this collaborative conversation, keeping students in public education as the center of our focus. This work will be essential in shaping public education for years to come and is worthy of much input and consideration."

“I look forward to engaging in this important work as Tennessee makes big moves to meet the educational needs of all students,” said Hannah Hopper, 2020-21 East Grand Division TOY Winner, teacher at Fairview Marguerite Elementary School in Hamblen County Schools.

The state’s engagement includes the central steering committee and 18 subcommittees, in addition to a committee of national experts, regional meetings of county commissioners and school board members, public engagement representatives, and an opportunity for public comment through a formal survey later in the fall. Each of the 18 subcommittees, composed of 8-10 members, will be led by a chair who is tasked with capturing ideas and feedback based in the unique perspective of the stakeholder group or respective topic area they serve. Each chair is a trusted advocate to responsibly collect and share feedback and suggestions for a student-based funding approach.

Over the next three months, the subcommittees will meet twice a month, either in person or virtually. The central steering committee will convene monthly and review finalized feedback provided by the subcommittees. All associated committee meeting materials, including recordings, transcripts, and minutes, will be posted here. Additional subcommittee members will be released in the coming days.

More than 1,000 Tennesseans have already submitted their interest in engaging in discussions and receiving updates related to a student-centered investment strategy. Members of the public are encouraged to continue to submit their interest via this form.

Visit this webpage for more information and learn how to get involved: For funding related inquiries, contact 


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