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Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services

a group of about 30 individuals sitting for a posed group photo - they represent a number of state agencies who serve people with disabilities
Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services graduating class 2017

A few years ago, the Council wanted to address leadership development for those who work in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee. We wanted a way to ensure that leaders who work in state government programs that serve Tennesseans with disabilities would operate from a shared set of values, goals and principles and strengthen all agencies' commitment to collaboration. In 2016, we partnered with the TN Department of Human Resources and together developed the concept of a disability-specific leadership academy, now called the Leadership Academy for Excellence in Disability Services.

Participants from the agencies listed below have completed the academy: 

  • Bureau of TennCare
  • Department of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health 
  • Department of Human Services (& Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services)
  • Department of Veterans Services
  • Tennessee Commission on Aging & Disability

The first Academy ran through May 2016-2017.   The second class graduated in 2018.

We believe this ongoing training program will provide numerous long-term benefits to Tennesseans with disabilities and their families by improving their experiences with all state services. 

Read more about why the Council launched this Academy in Breaking Ground issue 83, in Breaking Ground 90 about the first year of the program, and in Breaking Ground 96 about year 2.

Questions? Contact our Director of Leadership Development Cathlyn Smith at or 615-532-6556.