NASHVILLE (WRCB)-- Governor Phil Bredesen announced Monday 14 appointments to the Tennessee First to the Top Advisory Council, a broad-based group of Tennesseans and national experts who will provide strategic guidance, direction, and thought leadership to state policymakers overseeing Tennessee's Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

"Tennessee's education agenda has accelerated in recent years because of the shared commitment to improving education that has been developed among stakeholders including teachers, administrators, business leaders, philanthropy, and advocacy groups," said Bredesen.

Bredesen add, "They play a vital role in helping Tennessee carry out the vision of a world-class public education system that prepares students for college, career, and life in the 21st century. The ongoing involvement of the groups represented by the First to the Top Advisory Council will help ensure we fulfill our Race to the Top goals."

The Advisory Council will not direct grant funds, oversee programming, or supervise staff. The panel consists of elected officials, educators, leaders of stakeholder organizations, and representatives of philanthropic foundations - all of whom are deeply invested in Tennessee's future. Those appointed to serve include:

  • Dan Challener, Public Education Foundation
  • Mayor Karl Dean, Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County
  • Senator Bill Frist, Tennessee SCORE
  • Tomeka Hart, Memphis City School Board
  • Linda Irwin, Niswonger Foundation
  • Gary Mabrey, Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce
  • State Representative Mark Maddox, Weakley and Carroll counties
  • Al Mance, Tennessee Education Association
  • Superintendent Jim McIntyre, Knox County Schools
  • Gary Nixon, State Board of Education
  • Colleen Oliver, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Superintendent Mary Reel, Milan Special School District
  • Teresa Sloyan, Hyde Foundation
  • State Senator Jamie Woodson, Knox County