Volunteer Tennessee board and staff during our Fall 2017 board Retreat in Chattanooga
Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member bipartisan board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs, advancing volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State.
Our Vision and Mission
Volunteer Tennessee Documents:
The State of Tennessee is the national leader in the promotion of volunteerism, community service initiatives and partnerships in which its citizens of all ages and backgrounds engage in services addressing the educational, public safety, environmental and other human needs of the state and nation.
To encourage volunteerism and community service.
Chair: Tina Hodges, Nashville, attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Tina earned a Certificate in Medical Technology from Meharry Medical College and a Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University. After several years of emergency room practice as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Tina joined her husband to operate Advance Financial. Tina is a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville and a supporter of the Bootstraps Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the 18th Avenue Family Enrichment Center.
Vice Chair: Donovan Robertson, Brentwood, is Co-Founder of Read2Me, a collaborative partnership between community stakeholders designed to improve literacy rates of students reading below grade level. Previously working in the private sector, he has almost 30 years of experience in business management and analysis. Donovan has served as a board member for various organizations including the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, the Sharpe Kids Foundation and the Near North Economic Development Committee. Donovan chairs the Strategic Partnerships Committee.
Secretary: P.J. Davis, Gallatin, is Executive Director of the Gallatin Shalom Zone, which seeks to engage residents of Gallatin’s Clearview community in the work of healing, peace, reconciliation, justice, and love to grow beyond current circumstances and, together, live as the beloved community. She has over 25 years of experience with community-based non-profits and is a trainer for Rotary, HOBY, 4-H and the American Red Cross. P.J. has served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity.
Treasurer: Amy Walter, Nashville, is currently the Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. She has also worked at the Nashville Zoo and human and social services agencies such as Nashville CARES and the Community Resource Center. Amy also has over 20 years of experience with communications and media. She is a member of the Volunteer Administrators Network and volunteers with Hands On Nashville. Amy also chairs the Communications Committee.
Jennifer Abernathy, Nashville, is the Executive Director of the Tennessee Respite Coalition, which hosts a Senior Companions National Service program. She previously served as an AmeriCorps member at United Neighborhood Health Services. Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Independent Living and the Leadership Council for the Council on Aging of Greater Nashville. Jennifer has 20 years of experience in community and health services.
Justin Crowe, Knoxville, is an Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth Development at the University of Tennessee. Justin and 4-H partnered with Volunteer Tennessee on the recent, nationally competitive Learn and Serve America Community-Based Organization grant. He formerly was Life Skills Instructor in McNairy County and is pursuing an Ed.D. in Learning and Leadership from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Justin previously served as the Secretary for Volunteer Tennessee and chair of the Foundations of Service committee. Justin is Chair Emeritus.
Stephanie Davis, Sevierville, currently serves as a receptionist at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology Associates. As a student at Pellissippi State Community College, Stephanie founded the Homeless Student Scholarship, which provides funds for homeless students who might not otherwise be able to attend college. She holds a certificate in Early Child Training from Roane State Community College.
Brittany Debity-Barker, Nashville, represents Penny Schwinn, Commissioner of Education, on the Volunteer Tennessee board. She is the Director of Student Leadership for the Division of College, Career and Technical Education.
Ethan Harvill, Grimsley, is currently a student at the University of Tennessee. He has been active in Tennessee 4-H, serving as a regional and state officer. He has also been active in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Interact; Future Business Leaders of America; FFA and BETA. Ethan owns a business raising rabbits and is the only registered rabbitry owner in Fentress County. In 2014, he was named as a Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards honoree. Ethan serves as the Youth board member for Volunteer Tennessee.
Andrea Hill, Memphis, is the Director of Volunteer Memphis at Leadership Memphis. She previously served as the Memphis Affiliate Program Manager at Communities In Schools of Tennessee. Andrea has extensive non-profit experience, and she is very involved in community activities.
Rick Kriesky, Murfreesboro, recently returned to Tennessee after retiring as Superintendent of Lexington City Schools in North Carolina, where he supervised an increase in graduation rates from 44% to 90%. He previously served for 30 years in Tennessee in the Henry County school System as teacher, principal and Director of Schools. Rick has involved in the Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Tennessee Organization for School Superintendents.
Greg Lyles, Murfreesboro, is the Coordinator of Community Initiatives and Teacher Performance at Murfreesboro City Schools. He has developed several youth programs including Boys To Men Mentoring Program and Club MARVEL. Greg serves on various community boards such as the Linebaugh Public Library, Community Care of Rutherford County and St. Clair Senior Center. Greg is Chair Emeritus.
Jennifer McFarland, Chattanooga, is the Executive Director of Morning Pointe of Collegedale at Greenbriar Cove, an assisted living and Alzheimer’s memory care community. Jennifer has served as a member and co-chair of fundraising committees with Pink!, Dancing with the Chattanooga Stars, the American Cancer Society, and the MaryEllen Locher Foundation. She also volunteers to coach her daughter’s basketball team.
Lee A. Moten, Jr., Memphis, is the Community Relations Manager at Youth Villages, which is dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. He previously served as Vice President of Leadership Development and Field Ministries at the Memphis Leadership Foundation and was the Founding Director of the Training Department at BRIDGES, USA. Lee served a previous term on the Volunteer Tennessee board from 2006-2008.
Tony Olden, Sr., Memphis, worked as a senior investigator for the Memphis Housing Authority for almost 20 years. He previously served as Director of Security at LeMoyne-Owen College, which is his alma mater. Tony is active in various community organizations, including the advisory board for the Heads-Up Program, the State of Tennessee Advisory Committee for Disproportionate Minority Confinement, and the Neighborhoods, USA Board of Directors.
Sara Palmer, Brentwood, is the Membership Coordinator at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. She previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Jackson Center for Independent Living, where she had an emphasis on deaf services. While in college, Sara completed a leadership project in Urban Volunteering with a focus on Title I elementary schools. She has volunteered for the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Clinic, the Tennessee Justice Center and Albuquerque Public Schools
Wanda Perry, Jackson, is the Volunteer Coordinator at Avalon Hospice in Jackson. She has also worked as a mental health case manager at PATHWAYS and assisted persons with disabilities at Community Connections. Wanda has volunteered for the Madison County General Hospital, Feed the Children – Haywood County, and the New Life Christian Center.
Sarah Petschonek, Memphis, is Founder, President and CEO of Volunteer Odyssey and Adjunct Professor at Christian Brothers University. Volunteer Odyssey seeks to increase volunteerism through innovation and evidence-based volunteer matching. She has experience across non-profit, business and government sectors.
Kane Reeves, Jackson, is an Extension Agent with the Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Program in Madison County. He served as a Volunteer Leader at 4-H Camp for five years and volunteered with the Union City Boys and Girls Club for its Senior Seminar Service-Learning Project. Kane chairs the Foundations of Service Committee.
Jason Scott, Knoxville, is the Program Director of the Knoxville/Knox County Community Action Committee AmeriCorps program, Tennessee’s only environmental corps. He served two terms as an AmeriCorps member: first with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and then with Florida State Parks AmeriCorps. Jason is president of the local AmeriCorps Alums chapter and volunteers with the American red Cross.
Leon Shields, Lenoir City, is the Supervisor of Field Operations for the Lenoir City Utilities Board. He is also the owner and president of Instructional Concepts, which provides specialized safety training for Handgun Permits, CDL Driving Test, Confined Space Training, Trench Operations/Rescue, EVOC, High Angle Rescue, and other programs to certify private citizens or companies in safety training. Leon is very active with community groups, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, Loudon County Chamber of Commerce, Lenoir City Committee of 100, and DeMolay International.
Terry Silver, Old Hickory, is an Associate Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She is a service-learning trainer and a Lions Quest curriculum trainer. Terry has taught using the service-learning methodology, and she has studied and written extensively on service-learning. She regularly works on committees for the Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning. Terry volunteers at Mt. Juliet High School.
Tracy Van de Vate, Knoxville, is the manager of the Grandparents as Parents program in Knox County. She previously served as Secondary Clinical Instructor and Supervisor at the UT College of Education, Health and Human Services and an Instructor with the UT Education 100 Apple Corps. Having held various collegiate teaching positions, she has broad experience in the education field. Tracy is active with the Girl Scouts and the Great Starts Transagency Committee. Tracy is Chair Emeritus.
Betty White, Nashville, has just retired as the Service-Learning Director at the University School of Nashville, where she worked with students for 38 years coordinating partnerships with local public schools and organizations in order to implement student-driven programs. Betty volunteers with several organizations including Room In the Inn, Magdalene House, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity, and she was an Olympic Torchbearer in 1996.
Eileen Wollam, Nashville, recently retired as the RSVP Outreach Coordinator at FiftyForward, a non-profit in Nashville that helps people 50 years and older live fuller, more productive lives with a sense of dignity and self worth. Eileen volunteers with Nashville in Harmony and has a certification in Volunteer Management from the Center for Nonprofit Management. Eileen also has significant experience in technical publications editing. Eileen also chairs the Board Development committee.
Ex Officio Representatives:
Christine Willamson acts as Honorary Chair of Volunteer Tennessee. Christine was crowned Miss Tennessee 2018, and acts as Governor Bill Haslam's Official Spokesperson for Character Education. She speaks to over 50,000 schoolchildren about the character trait of respect during her year as Miss Tennessee.
Robin Corindo is director of the Tennessee State Office of the Corporation for National & Community Service, which administers Senior Corps and AmeriCorps*VISTA.
Lt. Col. Bobby Graves represents Major Gen. Jeff Holmes, TN Department of the Military.
Marjahna Hart represents Commissioner Jennifer Nichols, TN Department of Children’s Services.
Michael Hogan represents Commissioner Jeff Long, TN Department of Safety & Homeland Security. Michael chairs the Grants committee.
Buddy Lea represents Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, TN Department of Finance & Administration.
Heidi Leming represents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents.
Carol Oglesby represents Interim President Randy Boyd, University of Tennessee.
Donovan Robertson is Chair of Friends of Volunteer Tennessee.
Nancy Schelin represents Commissioner David Salyers, TN Department of Environment & Conservation.
Vacant - Commissioner Lisa Piercey, TN Department of Health.
Vacant - Commissioner Danielle Barnes, TN Department of Human Services.
Vacant - Commissioner Jeff McCord, TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Vacant - Commissioner Marie Williams, TN Department of Mental Health.