Press Release from the Office of Gov. Bill Haslam, June 15, 2015:
18 Tennessee teachers to provide real-time feedback from classrooms
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced 18 Tennessee teachers selected to serve on the first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet.
The cabinet will meet quarterly with Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share real-time information from the classroom, advise on policy considerations and provide a direct line of communication to schools and communities.
A year ago the governor travelled the state to hear from groups of teachers, and in December, he announced plans to create the cabinet in an effort to improve teacher communication and collaboration.
“We’ve had a number of conversations with teachers in a variety of settings, and this is another way to receive direct feedback from teachers who are in front of a class every day,” Haslam said. “As Tennessee continues to build on the success we’ve seen in our schools over the past four years, we want to hear from teachers about what is working and what needs improvement. These teachers have a lot on their plates, so I really appreciate their willingness to serve the state in this way.”
Directors of schools were asked to nominate one teacher from each of their districts, and 18 classroom teachers were selected from across the state based on the following criteria: focused on student achievement, encourages collaboration among colleagues, demonstrates leadership, solutions-oriented and relentlessly pursues excellence.
The teacher cabinet includes a diverse mix of backgrounds and experience. Members represent each of the state’s three grand divisions as well as cities, suburbs and rural areas and have varying years of experience teaching first through 12th grades.
Members of the first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet are:
Elisabeth McArthur Bellah, Maryville City Schools
Melissa Bennett, Blount County Schools
Marsha Buck, Kingsport City Schools
Nick Darnell, Hamblen County Schools
Rebecca Few, Murfreesboro City Schools
Cathy Ginel, Oak Ridge City Schools
Anita Underwood Gray, Lebanon Special School District
Annette C. Johnson, Franklin County Schools
Abbey Kidwell, Clinton City School District
Wanda N. Lacy, Knox County Schools
Jessica Lindsay, Achievement School District
Schwann Logan, Bartlett Municipal School District
Lance Morgan, Union City Schools
Jessica Murray, Dyer County Schools
Kyle Prince, Rutherford County Schools
Angie Tisdale, Franklin Special School District
Karen Vogelsang, Shelby County Schools
Catherine Whitehead, Chester County School System
Teachers will serve two-year terms on the cabinet. The first meeting is planned for July.