TDOE Announces Members of Fiscal Responsibility Funding Review Subcommittee

Monday, November 01, 2021 | 03:19pm


Subcommittee Focused on Responsible Funding Strategy to Support Students


Nashville, TN - In the next phase of announcements on Tennessee’s review of a student-based public education funding strategy, today the Tennessee Department of Education announced the members of the Fiscal Responsibility Subcommittee.

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.

“As we continue our public engagement process, we recognize developing a student-based approach for funding public education that is reflective of all Tennessean’s values and is fiscally responsible will help ensure we are serving our students over systems and meeting all their needs,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Inviting all Tennesseans to share their hopes, dreams and feedback is essential to this process as we give all voices an opportunity to be heard and taken into account while discussions continue on how to develop a student-based funding strategy for public education.” 

The members of the Fiscal Responsibility funding review subcommittee are:

  • Chair: Justin Owen, President & Chief Executive Officer, Beacon Center of Tennessee
  • Katherine Hudgins, Founder, Rutherford County Heritage Sentinels
  • Chris Littleton, Co-Founder, Rutherford Students First
  • Tom Tunnicliffe, County Commissioner, District 7- Brentwood
  • Harry Brooks, Retired, Former State Representative and House Education Chairman
  • Michael Hendrix, Director of State and Local Government, Manhattan Institute
  • Jim Ethier, Retired, Chairman, Bush Brothers & Company
  • Kate Thompson, Volunteer Coordinator, Chattanooga Preparatory School
  • David Perdue, Retired, CEO of DS Partners Memphis
  • Karen King, Retired, Former Assistant Superintendent and Director of Finance, Sevier County Schools
  • Tara Bergfeld, Director of Resource Strategy, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Shane Reeves, Senator, Tennessee General Assembly 

“As a lifelong Tennessean and former educator, school board member, and chair of the House Education Committee, I have been part of many discussions over the years about how our state funds public education and understand the importance of this topic,” said Harry Brooks, Former State Representative and House Education Chairman. “I am glad Governor Lee and Commissioner Schwinn are seizing this important moment and including all Tennesseans in the conversation on how to build a funding strategy that will best serve our children.” 

"I am honored to be selected to serve on one of the Tennessee Department of Education's public education funding review subcommittees to join fellow Tennesseans as we discuss how best to support and fund our students to prepare them for success,” said Tom Tunnicliffe, County Commissioner, District 7- Brentwood. “As a county commissioner, I have heard from folks in my area and across the state on the need for a more student-based funding strategy to address all the needs of our children and ensure they have access to a high-quality education."

The state’s engagement includes the central steering committee and 18 subcommittees, in addition to a committee of national experts, an opportunity for public comment through a formal survey later in the fall, and eight public town halls. All associated committee meeting materials, including recordings, transcripts, and minutes, will be posted here.

Tennesseans are invited to regional public town halls to be part of the open dialogue and discussion on Tennessee’s review of a student-based public education funding strategy. Last week, the first two town halls took place and recordings are available here. The remaining town halls will take place in-person and will also be livestreamed.

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: All Tennesseans are also invited to submit comments and questions via email to

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact