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Judge Robert Philyaw, Chair, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
After serving as a commission member since 2020, Governor Bill Lee has appointed Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Robert Philyaw to serve as chair of the commission for the remainder of his three-year term.
Governor Lee announced Judge Philyaw’s appointment to the TCCY in December 2019 for a three-year term. As a member of the TCCY’s 21-person policy-making body, Judge Philyaw has helped further the organization’s mission of leading systems improvement for all children and families through data-driven advocacy, education, and collaboration.
Judge Philyaw received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration degree from Christian Brothers University. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, where he received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence and the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award.
He has received numerous awards during his time on the bench as well. In 2015, Judge Philyaw was given the Chief Justice William M. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award by Legal Aid of East Tennessee.
In 2019, Judge Philyaw received the prestigious McCain-Abernathy Memorial Award from the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Law Judges. He is a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Judicial Conference, and both the National and Tennessee Councils of Juvenile and Family Law Judges.Judge Robert Philyaw, Chair, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State
Tre Hargett was elected by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2009 to serve as Tennessee’s 37th Secretary of State. He was reelected to four-year terms in 2013, 2017, and 2021.
Secretary Hargett is the chief executive officer of the Department of State with oversight of approximately 300 employees. With his role on fifteen boards and commissions; oversight of nine functional divisions, including elections and the new 165,000 square foot state-of-the-art Tennessee State Library & Archives on Bicentennial Mall. The services and oversight found in the Secretary of State's office reach every department and agency in state government.
Since Secretary Hargett took office, the Department of State has made measurable progress toward the goals of increasing customer-service and cost-saving efficiencies. Under Secretary Hargett’s leadership, the department has implemented a massive overhaul of its technological abilities to embrace customers online.
The Department of State offers Tennesseans online voter registration, the GoVoteTN mobile app, and county-by-county election results which are available to all Tennesseans in real time to help increase voter registration, turnout, and awareness. Under Secretary Hargett’s leadership, the department will soon offer a new online business and charitable document filing and management system, making is easier for customers to file documents and manage their corporate accounts, while saving the state approximately $4.5 million.
Secretary Hargett was named a Council of State Governments Henry Toll Fellow in 2010, an honor given annually to forty-eight of the nation’s top state government officials. Additionally, he is on the board of directors of the YMCA Center for Civic Engagement, a member of the Union University Advisory Board, as well as chairman of the executive committee of the Republican Secretaries of State Committee (RSSC). Secretary Hargett is a graduate of the Aspen Institute - Rodel Fellowship Class of 2010. He has also been recognized for his support of National History Day.
Previously, Secretary Hargett served as chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Before joining the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, he was regional vice president for a publicly traded emergency services provider. Secretary Hargett served in the Tennessee House of Representatives for a decade representing District 97 (Bartlett and Memphis) and was twice elected Republican Leader by his colleagues.
A native of Ripley, Secretary Hargett now lives in Hendersonville with his wife, Dawn, and their two sons, one of which is now a freshman at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is a Southern Baptist and worships at Indian Lake Peninsula Church.
Dr. Greg Jones, President, Belmont University
Known for his entrepreneurial leadership, Dr. Greg Jones became president of Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee on June 1, 2021. Prior to his appointment at Belmont, he served as the longtime dean of Duke Divinity School (from 1997-2010 and again from 2018-mid 2021). Between 2010 and 2018, he served in a variety of roles, including vice president and vice provost for global strategy at Duke University and provost and executive vice president of Baylor University.
During his time at Belmont, Greg has established a new vision for the institution “to be the leading Christ-centered university in the world, radically championing the pursuit of life abundant for all people.” Achievements during his first year include securing more than $35 million in grants and gifts, launching the Belmont Data Collaborative, expanding the Bridges to Belmont program to support Metro Nashville Public School students and establishing a program that more deeply connects Belmont students, faculty and staff to the regional community to create programs that foster social good.
A gifted speaker, Jones is the author or editor of 19 books, including the recently released Navigating the Future: Traditioned Innovation for Wilder Seas (with Andrew P. Hogue) which outlines his perspective on traditioned innovation as “a habit of being and living that cultivates a certain kind of moral imagination shaped by storytelling and expressed in creative, transformational action.” Other works include Christian Social Innovation, the co-authored Forgiving as We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace (with Celestin Musekura), the co-authored Resurrecting Excellence (with Kevin R. Armstrong), and the widely acclaimed Embodying Forgiveness. An ordained United Methodist minister, he has published more than 200 articles in a variety of publications.
Dr. Jones is also a gifted speaker, media contributor and thought leader in higher education, social innovation and theology. He recently joined the National Leadership Council for the Partnership for American Democracy and currently serves as a senior fellow at Leadership Education, which he founded, and senior fellow at the Fuqua-Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics. Greg is passionate about re-shaping cultures within and across organizations and has coined the term “traditioned innovation” to capture how he re-frames complex challenges to seize significant opportunities.
He received his bachelor’s in speech communication and a masters of public administration from the University of Denver, and his masters of divinity and Ph.D. in theology from Duke University. He currently serves on the boards of the John Templeton Foundation, the McDonald Agape Foundation and the India Collective.
Dr. Jones is married to the Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones, and they are the parents of three children: Nathan, Ben and Sarah, and are grateful for their two daughters-in-law, Amy Little Jones and Allison Jones, their son-in-law Joey Fala and their granddaughters Clara, Audrey and Sophie.
Dana Winters, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media
Dana Winters, Ph.D., is the Rita McGinley Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. Her extensive field research from interviewing prisoners to shadowing crossing guards, from observing Head Start teachers and developing coaches in early childhood systems has informed the co-development of the Simple Interactions approach to support children, families, and their helpers. Dr. Winters describes and affirms the essential and relational practices of professionals across early education and intervention, out of school time learning, healthcare, family engagement, and more. She is an experienced applied researcher who has served as co-principal investigator and program evaluator for consecutive NSF-funded early childhood research and intervention projects in the areas of early literacy, social emotional development, and early mathematical learning. She leads numerous foundation and government project grants to improve early childhood systems and family engagement practices. Dr. Winters serves as a UNESCO Faculty Fellow in Children and Youth Studies, collaborating with faculty around the world in the advancement of empathy development and adult-child relationships across developmental settings. She received her Ph.D. in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, Commissioner for Tennessee Department of Health
Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, was honored to join Governor Bill Lee’s cabinet upon his inauguration in January 2019, as the 14th commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health. Preceding her public service, Dr. Piercey spent a decade in health systems operations, most recently as Executive Vice President of West Tennessee Healthcare, a public, not-for-profit health system with over 7,000 employees servicing 22 counties. Her executive responsibilities included oversight of five rural acute care hospitals, two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, a behavioral health hospital and eight community mental health centers, and the system’s population health initiatives. Prior to this role, she served as the Vice President of Physician Services, managing the 17 clinics and approximately 90 providers of the West Tennessee Medical Group.
Dr. Piercey is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both General Pediatrics and in the specialty field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. She has remained active in evaluating children for suspected abuse and neglect and serves in a volunteer capacity as Medical Director for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center and faculty member at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Piercey is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, where she has been the President of the Mid-South Healthcare Executives chapter, as well as the National Chairman of the Management Series Editorial Board.
In addition to volunteering on multiple community and non-profit boards, Dr. Piercey has served on the American Hospital Association’s Small and Rural Hospital Governance Council, the Joint Commission Critical Access Hospital Advisory Group, and the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development Board, as well as was appointed by Governor Haslam in 2017 to the State of Tennessee Healthcare Facilities Licensing Board. Professional awards include Senior Healthcare Executive of the Year (2016), Rural Healthcare Executive of the Year (2017), and the WestStar Make-a-Difference Award (2018).
She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Lipscomb University, her M.D. degree and Pediatrics residency training from East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, and her M.B.A. from Bethel University. Both Dr. Piercey and her husband, David, an industrial safety specialist, are west Tennessee natives and have four children.
Richard Kennedy, Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
Richard Kennedy was appointed to be TCCY executive director beginning June 16, 2018. Kennedy began with the agency in 2000 as an ombudsman, and he served as the associate director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth since January 2011. He was promoted to director of field operations before becoming associate director. Kennedy has spent his entire professional career working directly with and advocating for children and youth. Prior to joining state government, Kennedy worked with the Davidson County Community Services Agency, Camelot, Hermitage Hall and the Greater New Orleans Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
A native Middle Tennessean, Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, and a master of arts degree in counseling from Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee. Kennedy is an alumnus of LEAD Tennessee, Tennessee Government Management Institute and Tennessee Government Executive Institute.
He is an inaugural member of the Tennessee Government Leadership Council. His involvement in the community includes having recently completed his final term on the board of directors for Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, where he served as board chair in 2015-16. He has also volunteered as a Big Brother with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Nashville.
Deborah Stein, Network Director, Partnership for America’s Children
Deborah Lee Stein, JD, Network Director, Partnership for America’s Children has 30 years of experience in policy analysis and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children and their families. She is a nationally recognized child advocate and strategic communications expert who is passionate about improving children’s lives through better public policy. Since 2014, she has served as the first Network Director and CEO at the Partnership for America’s Children. She supports the advocacy skills and organizational development of multi-issue child advocacy organizations in states and localities across the country as they pursue better policies for children in state capitols, local government, and with their federal delegations. She also leads the Count All Kids initiative. Before she began her work with the Partnership, she spent eight years at The Hatcher Group, a public affairs and communications firm, where she served as Vice-President of Public Policy. Before her work at the Hatcher Group, Debbie spent nine years with Voices for America’s Children, the predecessor organization to the Partnership, where she rose to become Director of Policy and Advocacy and a member of the senior management team. In 2005, she built and led a national children’s tax and budget working group that helped prevent significant cuts to federal programs. Debbie previously worked for the Food Research and Action Center and as a consultant for several national legal services organizations. She spent six years at Brooklyn Legal Services, where she represented indigent clients in housing matters and in obtaining public assistance. She was co-president of the New York City Legal Services union local. A cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Debbie has a law degree from New York University.
Jennifer Nichols, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Children's Services
Jennifer Nichols was appointed by Governor Bill Lee to be the Commissioner of the Department of Children’s Services in January 2019.Under Commissioner Nichols’ leadership, in 2021 the Department implemented the Family First Prevention Services Act, the most comprehensive legislative child welfare reform in 25 years that will provide evidence-based prevention services for children and youth at risk of entering foster care.In 2019, the Commissioner created ChildStat, a statewide systematic and data-driven review of the department’s work to help reduce time to permanency. She has also overseen a department-wide reorganization that merged Child Protective Services units with the department’s Assessment teams, improving the department’s response to child protection and prevention required by the Family First Prevention Services Act.Prior to joining DCS, Commissioner Nichols served as an Assistant District Attorney General in Shelby County for more than 20 years. During her tenure at the DA’s Office, she was the Deputy District Attorney, or first assistant, to the District Attorney General. In this role, she supervised the day-to-day operations of the office and its employees. Before being named Deputy, she served as the Chief Prosecutor over the Special Victims Unit. There she supervised and handled child homicides, child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, elder abuse, and other special projects. In that role, she worked closely with the Department of Children’s Services as well as law enforcement.In addition to her work at the District Attorney General’s Office, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Ms. Nichols to the bench as a Criminal Court Judge in Shelby County in January 2018 where she presided until September 2018.Ms. Nichols is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. She passed the Florida Bar in 1988 and practiced law in Orlando before joining the DA’s office in Memphis in 1991. Ms. Nichols was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Memphis law school from 2012 through 2018, where she taught mostly third-year law students in the skills class, Trial Advocacy.
Alison D. Peak LCSW, IMH-E, Chief Executive Officer, Allied Behavioral Health Solutions
Alison D. Peak LCSW, IMH-E is Chief Executive Officer with Allied Behavioral Health Solutions, headquartered in Nashville, TN. With ABHS, Ms. Peak has collaborated with partners across the state to develop programs that close gaps in systems and result in better outcomes for all. These collaborative efforts have led to the advancement of an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health workforce development project, Tennessee First Five Training Institute (TFFTI), that works to prepare agencies and their clinical staff to provide evidence-based IECMH services across the state. TFFTI further promotes the development of reflective capacity among agency administrators to allow for a multi-tiered understanding of IECMH work.
Ms. Peak is a Founding Board Member for the Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee (AIMHiTN) and continues to collaborate with the organization to provide reflective supervision as a Regional Consultant. She also provides this support to a variety of interdisciplinary professionals, including MIECHV-funded home visitors, Childcare Resource and Referral staff, and others.
Ms. Peak has an MSW from the University of Michigan with an emphasis in Interpersonal Practice with Children and Youth and two post-graduate certificates: Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care Settings and Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health. Clinically, Ms. Peak is passionate about working with families with children who are adopted, who have histories of early trauma, and families with infants/very young children.
Rikki Harris, Cheif Executive Officer, TN Voices
Rikki Harris is the Chief Executive Officer for TN Voices. Rikki holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Master’s in Christian Education. Having served TN Voices now for 10 years, she has a background in management of federal and local contracts, Marketing, Business Development and Fundraising. She has won awards in TN and Texas for her roles as community leader, advocate, and collaborative partner with other child serving agencies. Rikki also worked as a consultant for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice entities in Texas where she wrote curriculums for staff training for probation officers and juvenile drug court staff. Since coming to Nashville 12 years ago, she also taught Child and Adolescent Development at Welch College. She is a four time finalist for Nashville Emerging Leader Award, nominated top three for Center for Non-Profit Management’s CEO of the year, and given a Healthy Hero award from Amerigroup TN. She has led TN Voices through significant growth and expansion with nearly 150 positions to serve the people of TN. Her background in the field provides a solid foundation to lead TN Voices in today’s fast-changing healthcare environment. When not working, Rikki enjoys spending time with her husband of 20 years and their two daughters, being active in her church, and collecting sneakers 😊 She also loves old cars, sno cones, and summertime!
Naomi Smoot Evans, J.D., Executive Director, Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Naomi oversees member relations and development, fundraising and grant management, and CJJ's initiatives in government relations, leadership development, juvenile justice reform, communications, and training and technical assistance. During her tenure at CJJ Naomi has spearheaded the organization's federal policy work and served as co-chair of the Act4JJ Coalition. She has assisted State Advisory Groups in their pursuit to build their capacity as change agents, and worked with youth members in an attempt to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities in which they work. Prior to CJJ, Naomi represented young people in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia in juvenile court proceedings and special education matters. Before attending law school Naomi worked as a print journalist for nearly a decade, amassing nearly a dozen awards for her news coverage. She received her J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, and her B.S. from Christopher Newport University.
Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Marie Williams, LCSW, was reappointed Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) by Governor Bill Lee on January 19, 2019. Ms. Williams was initially appointed to the position by Gov. Bill Haslam, effective October 22, 2016.
As Commissioner, Ms. Williams oversees and leads the department in its role as the state’s public mental health and substance abuse authority with an annual budget of more than $500 million. She provides leadership and oversight to 1,849 full-time positions that assist individuals to secure treatment and recovery services for serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbances, and substance abuse disorders. Her duties as commissioner also include system planning; monitoring, licensing, evaluating, and setting policy and quality standards; collaborating with other state and community agencies; and working to educate the community about mental health and substance abuse services. Ms. Williams’s oversight responsibilities include community mental health and substance abuse programs and the operation of four regional mental health institutes. TDMHSAS-funded community behavioral health services are provided through contracted relationships with not-for-profit and faith-based organizations with about 1,200 ongoing contractual agreements. The department also operates four regional mental health institutes which serve more than 8,000 people on an annual basis, and the department has contracts with three additional private psychiatric hospitals which serve more than 3,000 people annually. In all, the department serves approximately 350,000 Tennesseans annually who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
In her time as Commissioner, Ms. Williams has served as a leader in addressing several essential issues facing Tennessee including the opioid crisis, emergency psychiatric services, and criminal justice reform.
Under the direction of Gov. Bill Haslam, Ms. Williams co-chaired a workgroup of commissioners, state and local lawmakers, and law enforcement officers to develop a comprehensive plan to address opioid addiction and reduce overdose deaths in Tennessee. This plan became known as TN Together and was the signature policy initiative of Gov. Haslam’s final year in office. The $30 million plan addressed the crisis by making significant investments in substance abuse treatment, addiction prevention, and law enforcement.
In the arena of emergency psychiatric services, Commissioner Williams established an unprecedented public-private partnership in collaboration with the Tennessee Hospital Association which resulted in the creation and implementation of psychiatric treatment protocols for use in Emergency Departments (EDs) across the state. These protocols have been adopted by the Tennessee College of Emergency Physicians and are being adopted as a national model by the American College of Emergency Physicians as well. This collaboration continues to pay dividends as the department works with stakeholders to address the burden that emergency psychiatric services place on communities across Tennessee.
Ms. Williams’s efforts in the area of criminal justice reform include advocating, increasing funding, and expanding the network of recovery courts to encompass 82 recovery courts in Tennessee. Additionally, Ms. Williams is responsible for leadership and oversight of the department’s new juvenile justice program which seeks to create alternatives to out-of-home placements in areas of the state where options are limited.
In her previous position as Deputy Commissioner, Ms. Williams served as top advisor to the Commissioner and managed the departmental budget of more than $337 million. Ms. Williams successfully assisted in the department’s transformation initiative. Through strong partnership and collaboration with community providers, treatment for patients was moved into less-restrictive environments, and $20.5 million was reinvested into community-based services. Her leadership secured the support of three East Tennessee private psychiatric in-patient hospital partners to provide services to those patients previously served by Lakeshore Mental Health Institute.
Commissioner Williams’s drive for serving Tennesseans with behavioral health challenges still lies with the area where her passion was first sparked: housing and homeless services. Ms. Williams began her career in Memphis supporting people experiencing homelessness and mental illness. Her success there led to employment with TDMHSAS starting in 2000 as the Director of Housing Planning and Development. Her initiative, the Creating Homes Initiative (CHI), since its creation has leveraged $600 Million and developed more than 20,000 supportive housing options for people diagnosed with mental illness and co-occurring disorders.
Commissioner Williams is the recipient of numerous professional and community awards from national and state groups including the Excellence in Advocacy Individual Achievement Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health, the George Goodman and Ruth P. Brudney National Social Work Award from Mental Health America, the Alumni Professional Achievement Award from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, the Senator Douglas Henry Award for Service to Children and Families at Risk from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, the Voice of Recovery Award from the Tennessee Association of Alcohol Drug and other Addiction Services, and the Tipper Gore Legacy Award from Tennessee Voices for Children. Ms. Williams lives in Nashville, and she is the mother of Nicole Williams.
Judge Shelia Calloway, Davidson County Juvenile Court
Sheila Calloway, a native of Louisville, KY, came to Nashville, Tennessee in 1987. She received her B.A. degree in Communications in 1991 and her J.D. in 1994 both from Vanderbilt University. After graduating, she worked at the Metro Public Defender’s Office in both the adult system as well as the juvenile system. In January 2004, she was appointed by Judge Betty Adams Green to the position of Juvenile Court Magistrate. She was elected Juvenile Court Judge in August 2014. She serves as an Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University Law School, Belmont Law School and American Baptist College.
Judge Calloway is currently a member of the Napier-Looby Bar Association, the Nashville Bar Association, and the Disproportionate Minority Local Task Force. She also serves on The Pencil Foundation Board and the Homework Hotline Board. She has previously served on the Board of the Nashville Prevention Partnership, the MNPS Academies Partnership Council, where she is a past chair of the Health and Public Services Partnership Council. She is a past chair of the Advisory Board of the Cane Ridge High School Academy of Law, a 2013 member of Leadership Donelson/Hermitage, a member of the 2016 Class of Leadership Nashville and served on the state-wide Advisory Board of Tennessee Voices for Victims. She is the former co-founder and co-director of The Voices of Justice – a choir comprised of Juvenile Court employees and others that work with juveniles. She has also worked with Project Prison Connect – a program designed to educate high school students across Davidson County about the criminal justice system. Calloway is a member of the Temple Church. At Temple, she is an active member of the Music Ministry, the Women’s Ministry, and a regular volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank. She is happily married to Paul Butler Calloway, Jr. and the proud mother of one son, Paul Calloway, III.
Andrea Joseph-McCattyAndrea, Ph.D, MSW, MA, University of Tennessee College of Social Work
Andrea Joseph-McCatty is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville – College of Social Work. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a PhD in social work where she studied the use of restorative practices to address racially disproportional school suspensions. Prior to this, she worked for the Anti-Defamation League designing and facilitating anti-bias and anti-bullying programs for students and educators in K-12 schools and university settings. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Joseph-McCatty served as a Fulbright Postgraduate at University College of London – Institute of Education. As a Fulbright Postgraduate, she earned an MA in Social Justice and Education studying racially disproportional school exclusions in England. Currently, Dr. Joseph-McCatty conducts research on interventions to address gendered and racially disproportionate school discipline and examines the relationship between student trauma and school discipline. As such, Dr. Joseph-McCatty is especially interested in the creation of inclusive schools and the ways educators, school social workers and staff can use cultural humility, anti-racist practices, and trauma-informed care to support inclusive school environments.
Sarah Loch, Director of Research Operations, Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy
Sarah Loch is a public health and policy researcher dedicated to supporting systems that promote equity in opportunity and care for children and families. As Director of Research Operations for the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy, she leads work focused on the impact of substance use on families and the systems that support them to provide evidence for meaningful policy change. Sarah previously worked in the TN community leading the implementation of an evidence-based home visiting program and talking to communities and providers about adverse childhood experiences and primary prevention strategies. Bringing her community experience to academia, she is spearheading efforts to enhance community partnerships in the Center’s work. Sarah graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Master of Public Health degree and is Certified in Public Health through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
Penny Schwinn, Ph.D., Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Education
Dr. Penny Schwinn was sworn in as Tennessee’s education commissioner on February 1, 2019.As commissioner, Dr. Schwinn is committed to building on Tennessee’s momentum over the last decade, and plans to continue to accelerate growth through the state’s strategic plan, Best For All, which focuses on high-quality academics, student readiness and supports, and the state’s strong current and future educators.Coming from a family of educators and committed to increasing access to an excellent education for all children, Commissioner Schwinn began her work as a high school history and economics teacher. She previously served in a number of roles in education including Chief Deputy Commissioner of Academics, an Assistant Superintendent, a school principal, and an elected school board member.Commissioner Schwinn earned her Bachelor of Arts from the UC-Berkeley, her Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and her PhD in Education Policy from Claremont.She is the proud parent of two daughters in Tennessee public schools, and a son not yet school age
Samuel (Sam) Pettyjohn, DrPH, MPH – Research Faculty, ETSU College of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, Center for Rural Health Research
Dr. Pettyjohn’s primary research interests and experience focus in infectious disease, harm reduction, state and national opioid use disorder policy, and opioid use disorder co-morbidities including homelessness, HIV, HVC, stigma, and poly-substance use. He provides his expertise in dynamic system modeling, community-based participatory research, health promotion, and health literacy to the Johnson City Child Friendly Cities project. He has since found himself advocating for children, youth, and young families to be included in municipal, governmental, and school system strategic planning and decision making. CFCI represents an ongoing four-year commitment to include the rights of children into the future growth and development of Johnson City, TN. Pettyjohn received his Master of Public Health (MPH) in health policy from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO and a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN.
Brad Turner, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
Brad Turner was appointed in January 2019 by Gov. Bill Lee as the commissioner of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He is the third person to serve in that role since DIDD became a standalone agency in 2011.
In his role as commissioner, Turner oversees approximately 1700 employees responsible for administration and oversight of community-based services for approximately 7,300 people with intellectual disabilities as well as 4,400 people through the Family Support Program. In addition, the department operates 37 4-person intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities, the Harold Jordan Center and seating and positioning clinics in each grand division along with a mobile clinic. His role as commissioner also includes oversight of services and supports for children through the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) and Katie Beckett Program.
Under Turner, the department has been recognized nationally for its leadership in Employment First and Enabling Technology as a means to promote full access, inclusion and independence for people with disabilities. The department has also been recognized as the first state service delivery system to receive Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.
As the father of a daughter with intellectual and developmental disabilities that inspires him every day, Commissioner Turner is passionate about advocating alongside people with disabilities and their families.
Prior to joining DIDD, Turner was the Director of Client Services at HealthStream Inc., and served on the Rutherford County Commission for eight years.
Turner, his wife Rebecca, and daughter Kinsley are proud to call Smyrna home.
Cherrell Campbell-Street, Deputy Commissioner of Programs and Services, Tennessee Department of Human Services
Cherrell Campbell Street has been with the Tennessee Department of Human Services since November 2011, serving now as the Deputy Commissioner of Programs and Services. She has over 20 years of experience in the Human Services sector, with an emphasis on employment services for persons with disabilities and public safety net programs. Over the expanse of her career, Cherrell has had a proven record of accomplishments in leading and driving several federal and state programs in meeting and exceeding standards of compliance and goals. She has expertise in administering programs for persons with disabilities, community/social programs, and Social Security Administration's disability claims. She manages large budgets, capital projects, develops policies, establishes effective teams, and secures partnerships with private and public stakeholders.
Blair Taylor, President & CEO, Tennesseans for Quality Early Education
Blair Taylor is President & CEO for both TQEE and TQEE-Policy and Research.
She founded the organizations in 2016-17, and served as Executive Chair for both until assuming the CEO role in 2020. Since its founding, TQEE has been instrumental in state policy wins including the PreK Quality Act, the defeat of legislation that would have siphoned funds from the TN-VPK program, the doubling of Tennessee’s evidence- based home visiting program budget, and a strategic reset of the state’s TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program, among others. Additionally, under her leadership TQEE published the first of its kind in Tennessee child care economic impact report series: Want to Grow Tennessee’s Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis, has published an annual Tennessee voter survey on early education policy proposals, and established the first and only PAC dedicated to early childhood education birth to 3rd grade in Tennessee.
Blair holds a second job as President and CEO of Memphis Tomorrow, an association of CEOs of Memphis’ largest businesses which partners with government and civic leadership to advance prosperity and quality of life in the Memphis community. In that role she has founded and helped build four successful social purpose organizations, steered the turnaround of two others, and launched a university institute. She has led numerous successful collective impact initiatives, public/private partnerships and spearheaded local and state policy advocacy in domains including cradle-to-career education, economic development, health, broadband, and public safety, among others. She is especially passionate about ensuring all children get the quality, early childhood education necessary for future success in school and life.
Prior to her work with Memphis Tomorrow, Blair was the founder and President of The Work Place, a nonprofit organization that married custom training and hiring solutions for businesses with programming for people making a transition from government dependency to family-sustaining employment. Prior to that, she held various roles in nonprofit organizations that supported people transitioning from government dependency to self-sufficiency.
Blair holds master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University in New York City, and a bachelor of arts degree in Political and Social Theory from Connecticut College.
She was born, raised and currently resides in Memphis.
Dr. Ryan Jackson
Dr. Jackson has served in public education for over 15 years. Before coming to Maury County, where Jackson has served as Executive Lead Principal at The Mount—Tennesse’s first and premier Pre-K-12 STEAM campus for the past six years—Jackson was an English teacher, Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at Maplewood High School in Nashville, TN. He received both his masters and doctorate degrees from Trevecca Nazarene University. Jackson has served in both urban and rural schools, traveled to China with Vanderbilt University, given a TED TALK and served as Keynote speaker for organizations such as Junior Achievement, Advanced Education/Cognia, Leadership U and the Departments of KY and North Dakota Public Education. His passion is serving the Underdog—ensuring all students have access to a high-quality education and purposeful, lucrative post-secondary opportunities. Along with being a principal, Jackson currently serves on the Maury Alliance Board of Directors and leads the executive leadership team for Kids On Stage of Maury County, a non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between public-private partnerships in middle Tennessee. Jackson has also founded Fit Leaders, LLC, a leadership development organization that supports all leaders from all industries on their road to living and leading a healthy lifestyle.