TDOE Announces Subcommittee Members Representing Tennessee Schools and Districts Focused on Student-Based Funding Strategy

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | 03:16pm


80+ School and District Leaders Join Conversations Statewide

Nashville, TN - Today, the Tennessee Department of Education 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.

On Friday, October 8, Governor Lee 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. In total, eighteen 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Amber Raymer, Principal, Cheatham County 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 

*The directors of schools will be joined by their finance directors for subcommittee meetings.

  • 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
    • John Barker, Deputy Superintendent for Strategic Operations & Finance, Shelby 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, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee; Liaison, Big Brothers Big Sisters 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, State Board of Education
  • 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
    • Jason Golden, Director of Schools, Williamson County 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
    • Dr. Angela Huff, Interim Director of Schools, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
    • Paul Rose, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 
    • Charlie Baum, Representative, Tennessee General Assembly
    • Bob Eby, Vice 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
    • Lillian Hartgrove, Chair, State Board of Education

“I am very honored to serve on the funding review subcommittee. 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,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, Director of Schools, Johnson County Schools. “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. 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,” said Chris Henson, Chief Financial Officer, Metro Nashville Public Schools.

"I am pleased that Gov. 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

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact