Education Leader and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore to Lead Tennessee-Based Reform Organization
(Nashville) – The Chairman of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced today that Jamie Woodson will lead the organization as President and Chief Executive Officer, following a national search for the position. Woodson, an attorney who currently serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee State Senate, will resign from the General Assembly at the end of the current legislative session to begin her new role at SCORE.
“Improving public education has been the hallmark of Jamie Woodson’s career in public service and her commitment to student achievement and growth has been remarkable,” Frist said. “As SCORE’s President and CEO, Jamie will not only lead one of the nation’s most innovative education reform organizations, but will have the unique opportunity to continue bringing about meaningful change for Tennessee’s children by working with educators, policymakers, philanthropists, business leaders, and parents.”
During her 12 years in the General Assembly, Woodson has helped spearhead Tennessee’s education reform efforts. She chaired the Senate Education Committee from 2005 until 2009, and during that time led successful efforts to overhaul the Basic Education Program (BEP), the mechanism for funding K-12 public education in Tennessee. In 2009, she sponsored key revisions to the Tennessee Public Charter School Act, resulting in more charter schools, expanded student eligibility, and increased statewide public and philanthropic support.
In 2010, Woodson served on Tennessee’s five-member Race to the Top pitch team, which helped secure the more than $500 million grant by demonstrating Tennessee’s commitment to reforming K-12 public schools to the U.S. Department of Education. Since then, she has chaired Tennessee’s First to the Top Advisory Council, a panel of national and state education experts that provides strategic guidance on implementation of the state’s landmark Race to the Top reforms.
“I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to lead SCORE at such a critical time for Tennessee,” Woodson said. “As a legislator, supporting and improving public education in Tennessee has truly been my passion. There is no higher priority for parents, school systems, and our state. While I will miss my work in the legislature, this new opportunity is a natural continuation of the work in which I have already been engaged, and gives me the opportunity to dedicate 100 percent of my efforts to improving public education in our state.”
Woodson’s first task at SCORE will be leading a strategic planning process to chart the organization’s future. This planning work, which will be supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will help define and expand SCORE’s ongoing activities in areas such as advocacy, policy, research, and technical assistance.
“Since launching in 2009, SCORE has done an excellent job of building and maintaining the case for meaningful education reform,” Frist said. “Looking ahead, we want to make sure the organization is properly positioned to support the work of state government and our local school systems. No one is better suited for this role than Jamie Woodson.”
Woodson will resign from the State Senate effective July 1, 2011, or at the close of business on the last day of the current legislative session, whichever comes first. Woodson will begin her work at SCORE at that time.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with state and local governments to encourage sound policy decisions in public education and advance innovative reform on a statewide basis.