Justin Lattimore
Justin Lattimore, 5th grade teacher at Salem Elementary

Following a competitive admissions process, 30 educators have been invited to participate in the 2020-21 class of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) announced.

The Tennessee Educator Fellowship is a yearlong SCORE program that gives teachers, school counselors, interventionists, and librarians the opportunity to learn about education policy and turn that knowledge into advocacy that positively impacts student achievement and educator effectiveness.

“By bringing together committed educators from across the state, the Tennessee Educator Fellowship drives conversations that lead to action,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Through their impact on policy discussions, fellows keep the best interests of students at the forefront of decisions on the local and state level.”

Since its inception in 2014, the fellowship has supported more than 200 educators in leading advocacy to improve outcomes for all students. Fellows have participated in critical discussions about education policy through speaking at public events, engaging with policymakers, serving on state-level policy committees, and writing about their experiences in state and national publications.

“The fellows bring diverse talents and experiences to the cohort, but they all have a common focus — improving support and outcomes for all Tennessee students. They have boundless optimism for what students can achieve, and we look forward to collaborating with this exceptional group,” SCORE Director of Educator Engagement Leigh Cooksey said.

The fellows chosen for this cohort come from elementary, middle, and high schools in 23 districts across the state in urban, suburban and rural settings. They have 353 years of combined experience teaching subjects that range from math, science, and English language arts to STEAM, career technical education, and wellness. The cohort also includes math and English language arts interventionists, librarians, and a school counselor.

The 2020-21 Tennessee Educator Fellows are:

Justin Lattimore teaches fifth grade at Salem Elementary School in Murfreesboro City Schools. Lattimore has been teaching for eight years.

Brittney Allen teaches third grade at Dyersburg Intermediate School in Dyersburg City Schools. Allen has been teaching for seven years.

Megan Autry teaches math at Orchard Knob Middle School in Hamilton County Schools. Autry has been teaching for eight years.

Erica Carey teaches English language arts at Lincoln Heights Middle School in Hamblen County Schools. Carey has been teaching for 14 years.

Sharon Clark teaches STEAM at East Side Intermediate School in Haywood County Schools. Clark has been teaching for eight years.

Heather Denton teaches math at Marshall County High School in Marshall County Schools. Denton has been teaching for 13 years.

Holly Dickerson is a math and English language arts interventionist at Lenoir City Elementary School in Lenoir City Schools. Dickerson has been in education for 19 years.

Lori Farley is a librarian/media specialist at North City Elementary School in Athens City Schools. Farley has been in education for 17 years.

Maribel Gadams is a school counselor at Grassland Middle School in Williamson County Schools. Gadams has been in education for 13 years.

Brenda Gibson teaches technology at Dyersburg Intermediate School in Dyersburg City Schools. Gibson has been teaching for 15 years.

Mario Grant teaches third-grade math at Memphis Business Academy in Shelby County Schools. Grant has been teaching for six years.

Dr. Edward Habeck teaches at Cora Howe School in Davidson County Schools. Habeck has been teaching for eight years.

Japho Hardin teaches career and technical education at The Howard School in Hamilton County Schools. Hardin has been teaching for seven years.

Rosa Heintz teaches social studies at Tyner Middle Academy in Hamilton County Schools. Heintz has been teaching for 19 years.

Stacey Jefferson teaches third-grade English language arts at Thomas Magnet School in Bedford County Schools. Jefferson has been teaching for 20 years.

Sherman Jones teaches lifetime wellness and physical education at Southwind High School in Shelby County Schools. Jones has been teaching for 16 years.

Maria Keathley teaches first grade at Georgian Hills Achievement Elementary School in the Achievement School District. Keathley has been teaching for four years.

Laura Lavery teaches foreign language at Poplar Grove Middle School in Franklin Special School District. Lavery has been teaching for eight years.

Victoria McAlman teaches third grade at Burt Elementary School in Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools. McAlman has been teaching for five years.

Melanie Mullins teaches English language arts at Central High School in Knox County Schools. Mullins has been teaching for seven years.

Kimberly Partin is an English language arts interventionist at Monteagle Elementary School in Marion County Schools. Partin has been teaching for 33 years.

Rebekah Reed teaches fifth grade at McConnell Elementary School in Hamilton County Schools. Reed has been teaching for 11 years.

Kim Seaton teaches second grade at Camp Creek Elementary School in Greene County Schools. Seaton has been teaching for 13 years.

Jennifer Sharp is a librarian/media specialist at John Overton High School in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Sharp has been in education for seven years.

Teah Shope teaches second grade at Waterville Community Elementary School in Bradley County Schools. Shope has been teaching for 11 years.

Inna Slisher teaches English language learners at Adrian Burnett Elementary School in Knox County Schools. Slisher has been teaching for eight years.

Valencia Smith teaches fourth grade at Vena Stuart Elementary School in Sumner County Schools. Smith has been teaching for 15 years.

David Westberry teaches math at Jackson Central-Merry Early College High School in Jackson-Madison County Schools. Westberry has been teaching for five years.

Heather Whittenburg teaches fifth grade at Stone Elementary School in Cumberland County Schools. Whittenburg has been teaching for five years.

Tera Williams teaches fifth-grade math and science at Hillsboro Elementary School in Coffee County Schools. Williams has been teaching for 23 years.

From improving early literacy outcomes to ensuring students’ postsecondary success, past fellows have led a variety of student-focused initiatives across the education spectrum. Their work has included expanding book access and community support for literacy initiatives; advocating for the use of high-quality instructional materials; supporting preservice and new educators; promoting in-demand industry certifications; expanding student access to early postsecondary opportunities; creating opportunities for college and career exploration for students and families; leading initiatives to support a diverse educator workforce; and much more. Fellows also have engaged in education conversations at the local, state, and national levels and written op-eds and blog posts for news and education outlets, including The Tennessean and other local media outlets.

Over the coming year, this new group of fellows will connect and learn together. As advocates and liaisons, they will serve as the vital link connecting their colleagues, communities, and policymakers as part of the ongoing work to improve academic outcomes for Tennessee students.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) works with state, local and national partners to advance policies and practices for greater student success across Tennessee. They are an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution, founded in 2009 by Senator Bill Frist, M.D., former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. SCORE measures success by the academic growth and achievement of Tennessee’s students. Learn more at tnscore.org.

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