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State Board of Education Elects New Chair and Vice Chair

Friday, January 26, 2018 | 04:10pm

Longtime chairman of the State Board of Education, Mr. Fielding Rolston, retired from the Board on Friday during the first quarterly meeting of 2018. Fellow members of the Board elected Ms. Lillian Hartgrove as the new chair and Mr. Gordon Ferguson as the new vice chair.

After more than two decades of service at the State Board of Education, Mr. Fielding Rolston retired from the Board during the January meeting. First appointed in 1996 by Governor Don Sundquist, Mr. Rolston represented the first Congressional district through three governors' administrations. Prior to his service at the Board, Mr. Rolston worked for Eastman Chemical Company for 38 years and retired in 2003 as Senior Vice President.

“When I was first appointed to the Board, I didn’t have any grandchildren,” said Mr. Rolston. “But now, I have six and four of
them are in college. It kind of puts the 22 years into perspective for me.” 

Lillian Hartgrove of the sixth Congressional district, who was appointed in 2014 and served as the Board’s vice chair from 2017 to 2018, was elected Chair to succeed Rolston. Ms. Hartgrove is the Workforce Development and Education vice president for the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce and the Highlands Economic Partnership, focusing on education and workforce preparedness initiatives for the region.

“Chairman Rolston has provided invaluable service to the students and citizens of Tennessee in his nearly 25 years on the board,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “Under Lillian Hartgrove’s leadership, the State Board of Education will continue to work to improve student learning and achievement and strengthen support for Tennessee’s educators.”

Mr. Gordon Ferguson, representing the fourth Congressional district, was appointed to the Board in 2016. In addition to serving on the Board, Mr. Ferguson is president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas Regional Hospitals. He has served as Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital president and chief executive officer since 2006 and as the president of Saint Thomas Regional Hospitals since 2015.

Ms. Allison Chancey, the teacher member of the Board from the third Congressional district, also retired on Friday after a five year term on the Board. An educator for 36 years in Bradley County, Tenn., Ms. Chancey’s educational expertise ensured the voice of Tennessee teachers has been a top priority in the board’s policy conversations.

By the next quarterly meeting in April 2018, Governor Haslam will appoint two new board members. State law requires that at a minimum, one member of the Board must be a current educator. With Ms. Chancey’s retirement, one of the new members appointed by the governor will be a teacher.