Lillian Hargrove Re-Elected as State Board of Education Chair

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 | 12:35pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           
February 12, 2019                                                                               

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — During their first quarterly meeting of 2019, members of the State Board of Education re-elected Ms. Lillian Hartgrove as board chair and selected Mr. Bob Eby as vice-chair to serve a two-year term.

Ms. Lillian Hartgrove, of the sixth Congressional district, has served on the Board since 2014. From 2017 to 2018, she served as the Board’s vice chair.  In 2018, Ms. Hartgrove was chosen by her peers to serve as chair of the state’s K-12 education policymaking body.

Aside from her State Board of Education duties, Ms. Hartgrove is also 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.

“Ms. Hartgrove has done an excellent job in this role after replacing our former long-term chairman, Mr. Fielding Rolston,” Mr. Gordon Ferguson said as he nominated Ms. Hartgrove for re-election. “Chairman Hartgrove has led this board with respect and integrity and clearly places the interests of the students in K-12 as her top priority.”

Mr. Eby first joined the State Board of Education in April 2018 following his appointment to the board by Governor Bill Haslam in February. He brings with him a 43-year career, including 16 years of experience on the Oak Ridge Board of Education where he served as chairman from 1991 to 1995 and vice-chairman from 2009 to 2018.

While serving on the Oak Ridge Board of Education, Mr. Eby spearheaded several major activities for the Oak Ridge Schools, most notably, championing the recent school’s strategic plan, Oak Ridge 2020, which has become a model for school systems in the state.

“In the time he has served on our board, Bob has demonstrated a keen interest in the purpose of this board and has been able to devote a great amount of time as a volunteer to understand the challenges and opportunities we have to positively impact the quality of education provided to the students of the great state of Tennessee,” Mr. Ferguson said in nominating Mr. Eby to assume the role of vice chair of the board.

Previously, officers of the board were elected to four-year terms. In 2018, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation that limits board officer terms to two years.

Last year, members of the board elected Ms. Hartgrove as chair and Mr. Ferguson as vice chair following longtime chairman Mr. Fielding Rolston’s retirement. During the officer elections on Friday, Mr. Ferguson cited his other professional responsibilities in his decision to not seek re-election as vice chair of the board.

Representing the fourth Congressional district, Mr. Ferguson was appointed to the State Board of Education 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.