Your 2015-2016 TN-ASPA Executive Council

TN-ASPA’s 2015-2016 Executive Council is hard at work to make this year great with lectures and events for you! We invite you to get to know us better. Our bios are provided below. We look forward to serving you over the next year!
  • President (July 2015 – June 2016): Nneka Norman-Gordon
  • President-Elect (July 2015 – June 2016): Leah Dupree
  • Immediate Past President (July 2015 – June 2016): Ann-Marie Rizzo
  • Treasurer (July 2015 – June 2016): Cara Robinson
  • Secretary (July 2015 – June 2016): Joyanna Brassfield
  • Council members (July 2015 – June 2017): Zachary Bates, Fred Cosgrove, Nathan James, Paul Jennings, Debbie Shaw
  • Council members (July 2014 -June 2016): Tyler Carpenter, Eric Murry
2015-2016 Executive Council members at August 2015 council social.

2015-2016 Executive Council members at August 2015 council social.

We recognize with deep appreciation the service of those concluding their terms on Council June 2015: Connie Calloway, Alex Frederick, Darrell Moore, and Bobbie Porter.
There are many ways to get involved with TN-ASPA in the upcoming year, so please contact us anytime at tn.aspa@gmail.com to find out more!

BIOS –

Nneka Norman-Gordon is the Director of Operations for the Public Information and Legislative Office in the Department of Human Services. She is responsible for overseeing the Department’s Customer Service Unit responsible for assisting customers, legislators and the general public with concerns relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Child Care, Child Support and Adult Protective Services and assisting with lobbying the Department’s legislation. In 2013, she became Tennessee’s first Higher Education Resource Officer and was responsible for answering questions and providing support and information to faculty, staff and employees of the University of Tennessee system and the Tennessee Board of Regents system. Nneka also reviewed higher education policy for the Tennessee General Assembly.  Nneka joined the Comptroller’s Office in 2005 as a Legislative Research Analyst for the Offices of Research and Education Accountability and served on the Comptroller’s legislative team for four years. She previously served in the former Tennessee Department of Personnel as an examinations analyst. Nneka is a former United States Navy officer. She holds a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Austin Peay State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University in Virginia. Nneka enjoys spending time with her son, and stays involved in the Tennessee Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration, Middle Tennessee Boy Scout Council – Cogioba district and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Leah Dupree is a native of Jackson, TN and has lived in Nashville since 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, a Master’s in Business Administration from Valparaiso University, and a juris doctor degree from Indiana University. Before relocating to Nashville, Leah lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she worked for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Since 2013, Leah has been the Legislative Liaison for the Department of General Services and has been responsible for legislation and constituent services for the Department. Prior to moving to the Executive Branch, Leah served in the Legislative Branch as a Legislative Aide to Senator Doug Overbey. Leah enjoys speaking to youth about career paths and personal development.

Dr. Ann-Marie Rizzo teaches organization theory, administrative ethics, and public policy at Tennessee State University. Her research interests include moral reasoning of public administrators and public administration education. Ann-Marie has co-authored two books and published articles in refereed journals on public sector ethics, women in management, public administration education, and management development.   She has also consulted on public service ethics for varying public, business and not for profit organizations such as Florida Power and Light, American Bankers Insurance Group, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Tennessee Community Corrections Association, and the Lupus Foundation of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. Currently a professor of public administration at Tennessee State University, Ann-Marie  also serves as program advisor for the PhD program in public administration. Until 1988 she directed the Institute of Government and Institute for Public Management at Florida International University in Miami. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

Cara Robinson is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Tennessee State University. In this capacity, Cara teaches courses in urban studies and nonprofit management. Cara earned her Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware in 2011. Cara has presented and published in a variety of areas including media and democracy, community planning, the impact of charter schools, and homelessness. Cara is the former Executive Director of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware. In her role as ED, she co-authored “Delaware’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic and Reduce Long-Term Homelessness.”

Joyanna Brassfield is a Category Specialist with the State of Tennessee’s Central Procurement Office and manages statewide services contracts. Joy is originally from Clinton, Tennessee. She holds a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree from Maryville College with a major in international studies and minors in political science and French. During undergrad, Joy studied abroad in Lausanne, Switzerland studying French. While pursuing her master’s degree, she worked with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service on the Tennessee Municipal Benchmarking Project, evaluating statewide benchmarks for Tennessee cities to improve municipal government performance. Joy previously worked with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Tyler Carpenter works as a research associate for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR), where he works with several government leaders at the state and local level to inform decision making with thorough policy research.  He is originally from Franklin, Ohio and has lived in Nashville for 10 years.  He recently graduated from Tennessee State University with his master’s degree in public administration and previously received his bachelor’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2010, majoring in business management and minoring in accounting.  While at Trevecca, Mr. Carpenter interned at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio and was active in political organizations and social causes.

Eric D. Murry is currently a staff member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council in Nashville, TN. Eric coordinates the TennCare Shelter Enrollment Project for the State of Tennessee, which assists homeless and impoverished families in eliminating barriers with health insurance, housing and other social benefits in order to help these families re-stabilize their lives. Previously, Eric was a community leader in Chicago, supervising after-school and mentoring programs for middle school students. Eric’s educational background in Psychology, Philosophy and Human Service Administration has guided his history of employment mostly in community-based organizations. This has given him the opportunity to collaborate and pool resources in order to improve outcomes for the communities at large. As he moves forward in his career, he continues to familiarize himself with health care, social homelessness, and housing policy reforms in order to continue to build stronger collaborations between those residents in need and the communities they live in.

Zachary Bates joined Farris Bobango in 2011 after spending four years at the Tennessee General Assembly. Mr. Bates served as a staff member for the Senate State and Local Government Committee where he established firsthand understanding of the roles and relationships between local governments and state government in Tennessee. Since joining Farris Bobango, Mr. Bates has assisted in the passage and defeat of various pieces of legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly on behalf of his clients as well as in the successful passage of multiple budget appropriation amendments. Mr. Bates obtained his BA from the University of Tennessee as a HOPE Scholar in 2007 and his MPA from Tennessee State University’s Institute of Government in 2010. Originally from Pegram, Tennessee, he now resides in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville.  Mr. Bates is a member of the Nashville Emerging Leaders, Class of 2015, Tennessee State Museum Young Professional Council, STARS Nashville Junior Board Committee, Tennessee Lobbyist Association, University of Tennessee Young Alumni Association, Nashville Humane Society, Friends of Shelby Bottoms, and Nashville Public Radio.

Fred Cosgrove is beginning the dissertation portion of his doctorate in public administration, from Tennessee State University. He is researching the organizational structures and behaviors affecting college retention and exploring professional opportunities for applying his interest in public administration in higher education, government service, or non-profit administration. Mr. Cosgrove completed his undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Colorado and a Masters of Higher Education at Middle Tennessee State University and served as an artillery officer in the US Army. Mr. Cosgrove is a real estate agent and property manager: his professional background includes mortgage lending as licensed broker and brokerage owner, manager, originator and wholesale manager and representative. He is married to Teresa Cosgrove with a daughter and a son, both attending high school. Outside of work, Mr. Cosgrove is an avid reader and enjoys time with his family, college football, relaxing at the beach or in the mountains, hiking, and community service through the Brentwood Rotary.

Nathan James lives in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee with his wife of 13 years, Carla, and their two children, George and Thomas James. He works as the director of Legislative Affairs with the Tennessee State Board of Education, having come to the position from Louisiana where he served as The Policy Advisor to Governor Bobby Jindal for Education and the Workforce. While in that capacity he served on 6 boards and commissions as the Governor’s representative and was responsible to the governor for the coordination of K-12, higher education, and labor and workforce policy. Mr. James served the Tennessee  Senate as a clerk and legislative assistant from 1998-2002 and as research analyst to the Senate Education Committee from 2008 until 2013. During the intervening years he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, owned his own ice cream shop, and served as the advocacy director for the American Heart Association. While Mr. James was serving as president of CHART (the Campaign for a Healthy and Responsible Tennessee) in 2007, this organization led a long media and lobbying campaign culminating in Tennessee became the first tobacco state to go smoke free. Mr. James is a Freemason, a Paul Harris Fellow, and has served as a Republican State Executive Committeeman. He is a retired Colonel in the Tennessee State Guard, and a member of the Interstate compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children by Governor Haslam’s appointment. He holds a BS in History and Political Science from Lambuth University and an MPA from Tennessee State University.

Paul Jennings has served as Executive Director for the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services since 2009.   The public service agency provides consulting and training services to business and industry across the state.   Previous positions include Vice-President for Planning and Development for Columbia State Community College, Director of the Tennessee Energy Institute at the University of Memphis, and Program Manager with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.  Mr. Jennings is active in the University Economic Development Association and has been an Examiner with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence for the past two years.  He has a PhD in Public Administration from Tennessee State University, MPA from Indiana University and BS in Public Administration from University of Evansville.

Debbie Shaw is the Executive Director of the Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, TN.  The museum and historic home sit on 168 acres, including 15 historic structures and 100 acres of cotton fields.  Ms. Shaw is also the State Coordinator for the Tennessee Association of Museums.  In this role, she helps coordinate communication and cooperation between museums across the state.  Prior to her position at the Sam Davis Home, she worked at the Tennessee State Museum for 5 years in the education department.  She has also worked as an archaeologist.  Ms. Shaw has a BA and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Memphis.  She has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tennessee State University and is currently working on her PhD in Public Administration from Tennessee State University.  She has been involved in the nonprofit community in the Middle Tennessee area over the last 10 years.

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CLE credit offered for October Third Thursday lecture

TN-ASPA will be offering CLE credit of 1.0 hours for the Lunchtime Lecture on October 16, 2014.

Speaker: Mark Naftel, Staff Attorney,Central Procurement Office,
Tennessee Department of General Services

Title: The Virtuous Lawyer: Aristotle’s Ethics and Legal Practice.

  • CLE credit of 1.0 hour will be offered for this lecture for those who are interested: the charge for ASPA members is $20; for non-members, $30.
  • Attendance at the lecture is free of charge unless you wish to earn the CLE credit.

Location: Wm. R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa Parks Ave. 3rd Floor Conference Room A (map)
Time: from noon to 1pm

Directions to conference room: Enter WRS Tennessee Tower on 7th Ave. side and walk down the stairs through the glass doors. Check in at the security station (you will need state I.D. or driver’s license). Once inside, enter the first set of glass doors on the right; Conference Room A is in this suite.

You can register and pay online for the CLE Credit at the registration page on our website.

Questions about the CLE credit or the registration process? Please contact us at tn.aspa@gmail.com.

New Chapter Officers and Executive Council Members for 2014-2015

We sincerely appreciate the efforts of all who participated in the nominations process and the commitment of those who agreed to run for office. We received one nomination per office, and therefore no balloting was necessary this year.  Short bios are provided below for our Council members:
  • President (July 2014 – June 2015): Ann-Marie Rizzo
  • President-Elect (July 2014 – June 2015): Nneka Norman-Gordon
  • Treasurer (July 2014 – June 2015): Cara Robinson
  • Secretary (July 2014 – June 2015): Alex Frederick
  • Council members (July 2014 – June 2015): Bobbie Porter, Jennie Verner
  • Council members (July 2014 -June 2016): Victoria Calvin, Tyler Carpenter, Addison Dower, Leah Dupree, Eric Murry, Joyanna West
Members continuing in the upcoming year are:
  • Immediate Past President (July 2014 – June 2015) – Connie Calloway
  • Past President – (July 2014 – June 2015) Darrell Moore
We recognize with deep appreciation the service of those concluding their terms on Council this June: Kasia Steinka-Fry, Meg Streams, and Kimberly Triplett.
There are many ways to get involved with TN-ASPA in the upcoming year, so please contact us anytime at tn.aspa@gmail.com to find out more!

BIOS –

Dr. Ann-Marie Rizzo teaches organization theory, administrative ethics, and public policy at Tennessee State University. Her research interests include moral reasoning of public administrators and public administration education. Ann-Marie has co-authored two books and published articles in refereed journals on public sector ethics, women in management, public administration education, and management development.   She has also consulted on public service ethics for varying public, business and not for profit organizations such as Florida Power and Light, American Bankers Insurance Group, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Tennessee Community Corrections Association, and the Lupus Foundation of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama. Currently a professor of public administration at Tennessee State University, Ann-Marie  also serves as program advisor for the PhD program in public administration. Until 1988 she directed the Institute of Government and Institute for Public Management at Florida International University in Miami. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Science from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

Nneka Norman-Gordon is the Higher Education Resource Officer with the Office of the Higher Education Resource Officer. She began her career in public service in September 2004 in the former Department of Personnel as an examinations analyst responsible for developing job qualifications for state applicants. Previous to her current position, she worked as a Legislative Research Analyst within the Comptroller of the Treasury’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) conducting public policy research for the Tennessee General Assembly on various topics including STEM, early childhood education, and K-12 governance and reform. Nneka has written numerous publications including reports on Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program, Tennessee’s graduated driver licensing laws, Tennessee’s school district usage of Race to the Top funds and STEM in Tennessee. In recent years, she has gained a deeper understanding of State policy and the legislative process while serving on the Comptroller’s legislative team. A prior Naval Officer, Nneka holds a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Austin Peay State University and a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University in Virginia and is a 2012 graduate of the Tennessee Government Management Institute (TGMI).

Cara Robinson is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Tennessee State University. In this capacity, Cara teaches courses in urban studies and nonprofit management. Cara earned her Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware in 2011. Cara has presented and published in a variety of areas including media and democracy, community planning, the impact of charter schools, and homelessness. Cara is the former Executive Director of the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware. In her role as ED, she co-authored “Delaware’s Ten Year Plan to End Chronic and Reduce Long-Term Homelessness.”

Alex Frederick graduated with honors from Tennessee State University in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition/dietetics. He is the former president of the Kappa Omicron Nu honor society at TSU and worked in agricultural research during his undergraduate program. He developed and presented multiple award-winning projects and was hired as a full-time research assistant in food safety by Tennessee State University upon graduation. Alex is now enrolled in the Master’s program in public administration as well as the health administration and planning certificate program at TSU. He is currently working as a graduate assistant and upon completion of the MPA program plans to work in the public sector to promote health policy.
Victoria Calvin is currently a graduate student at Tennessee State University, and is employed by Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services, where she recently received a promotion to Court Liaison worker. In this role, she advocates for troubled youth and employs a range of skills to divert youth from coming into state custody. Her job involves investigation, negotiation with attorneys, and when needed, facilitation of child and family team meetings to resolve and address concerns for the youth’s development. Victoria’s aim is to enhance her knowledge of the public sector and leadership as she pursues the Masters of Public Administration, and she hopes to advocate for policy change as she progresses in her career.
Tyler Carpenter is currently a graduate student at Tennessee State University pursuing his master’s degree in public administration. He received his bachelor’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2010, majoring in Business Management and minoring in accounting. While at Trevecca , Tyler served as junior class representative in student government, as well as founding and presiding over a student political group on campus from 2008 to 2010. During this time he became active in local political campaigns, working with interest groups and candidates at local and state levels. Under the federal program formerly known as the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), he worked as an intern at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where he shadowed the Director of Plans and Programs. This experience allowed him to see how policies are formulated and dispersed and how government works within the bureaucratic structure, and to experience a federal level military work environment. Tyler plans to pursue a career in policy research and analysis; his specific interests are intergovernmental relations, education, civic engagement, and poverty related program development.
Addison Dower is the Research Analyst for the Senate State and Local Government Committee. In this position, she is responsible for the daily business of the committee, including setting the committee’s calendar, fielding committee questions and preparing presentations, and she provides policy analysis to committee members regarding bills that come before the committee for consideration. Additionally, she handles the Committee Chairman’s legislative agenda. Addison holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Memphis’s Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and a B. A. in Political Science from Auburn University. She is an active member of the Junior League of Nashville, Women’s Political Collaborative and the Nashville Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Association.
Leah Dupree is a native of Jackson, TN and has lived in Nashville since 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, a Master’s in Business Administration from Valparaiso University, and a juris doctor degree from Indiana University. Before relocating to Nashville, Leah lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she worked for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Since 2013, Leah has been the Legislative Liaison for the Department of General Services and has been responsible for legislation and constituent services for the Department. Prior to moving to the Executive Branch, Leah served in the Legislative Branch as a Legislative Aide to Senator Doug Overbey. Leah enjoys speaking to youth about career paths and personal development.
Eric D. Murry is currently a staff member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council in Nashville, TN. Eric coordinates the TennCare Shelter Enrollment Project for the State of Tennessee, which assists homeless and impoverished families in eliminating barriers with health insurance, housing and other social benefits in order to help these families re-stabilize their lives. Previously, Eric was a community leader in Chicago, supervising after-school and mentoring programs for middle school students. Eric’s educational background in Psychology, Philosophy and Human Service Administration has guided his history of employment mostly in community-based organizations. This has given him the opportunity to collaborate and pool resources in order to improve outcomes for the communities at large. As he moves forward in his career, he continues to familiarize himself with health care, social homelessness, and housing policy reforms in order to continue to build stronger collaborations between those residents in need and the communities they live in.
Bobbie Porter is a diversity and inclusion professional who has spent the majority of her career as public servant for the Tennessee state government. She currently serves as Assistant Director in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at Tennessee State University, where she is responsible for ensuring institutional compliance with federal and state equal opportunity statutes by investigating complaints of illegal harassment and discrimination on behalf of the Office of the President, monitoring workforce diversity recruitment practices, and developing training and programming for the campus community. Prior to her role at TSU, Bobbie led the Outreach and Education Division of the state civil rights enforcement agency, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission . At THRC, she was the Special Assistant to the Executive Director where she was responsible for promoting the agency’s efforts in equal opportunity enforcement to the Governor, state legislators, private sector stakeholders, and the general public. Bobbie attended the University of Memphis, where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications, and later she received her Master’s of Public Administration and graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tennessee State University.
Joyanna West is originally from Clinton, Tennessee, near Knoxville. She has a bachelor’s degree from Maryville College with a major in international studies and minors in political science and French. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in May 2014 with a Master’s of Public Policy and Administration. While pursuing her master’s degree, she worked with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service on the Tennessee Municipal Benchmarking Project, evaluating statewide benchmarks for twenty Tennessee cities to improve municipal government performance. She has recently relocated to Nashville and taken a position as Category Specialist with the State of Tennessee’s Central Procurement Office.

New Chapter Officers and Executive Council Members for 2013-2014

We appreciate and recognize the efforts of all who participated in the nominations process and who have agreed to run for office. We received one nomination per office, and therefore no balloting is necessary this year.  Short bios are provided below for our new Council members:
  • President (July 2013 – June 2014) – Connie Calloway
  • President-Elect (July 2013 – June 2014):  Ann-Marie Rizzo
  • Treasurer (July 2013 – June 2014):  Cara Robinson
  • Secretary (July 2013 – June 2014):  Rebecca Wright
  • Council members (July 2013 – June 2015):  Nneka Norman-Gordon, Stephanie Rhoades
Members continuing in the upcoming year are:
  • Immediate Past President (July 2013 – June 2014) – Darrell Moore
  • Past President – (July 2013 – June 2014) Meg Streams
  • Council members (July 2012-June 2014) – Kimberly Triplett, Kasia Steinka-Fry
We recognize with deep appreciation the service of those concluding their service on Council this June:  Lisa Gittner; Pete Westerholm; and Joseph Woodson.
There are many ways to get involved in the life of TN-ASPA in the upcoming year, so please contact us anytime at tn.aspa@gmail.com to find out more!  If you have not done so already, please take a moment to look at the summary of our annual activities for this year.

BIOS –
Connie Calloway is a December 2012 graduate of Tennessee State University’s Master of Public Administration program. Previous to becoming a full-time student, she worked in the Compliance field for over a decade. She also worked in legal publishing and taught English at the community college level. She holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa and a BA from St. John’s College. Connie has been accepted to TSU’s Ph.D. program in Public Administration and looks forward to obtaining a position in the public sector. She has served as a member of TN-ASPA’s Executive Council since 2011 and is currently serving as interim Secretary.
Nneka Norman-Gordon began her career in public service in September 2004 in the former Department of Personnel as an examinations analyst responsible for developing job qualifications for state applicants. For the past almost eight years she has worked within the Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA) conducting public policy research for the Tennessee General Assembly on various topics including STEM, early childhood education, and K-12 governance and reform. Nneka has written numerous publications including reports on Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program, Tennessee’s Graduated Driver Licensing Laws, Tennessee’s school district usage of Race to the Top funds and STEM in Tennessee. In recent years, she has gained a deeper understanding of State policy and the legislative process while serving on the Comptroller’s legislative team. A prior Naval Officer, Nneka holds a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Austin Peay State University and a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University in Virginia and is a 2012 graduate of the Tennessee Government Management Institute (TGMI).
Ann-Marie Rizzo teaches organisation theory, administrative ethics, and public policy at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.  Research interests include moral reasoning of public administrators and public administration education.  In addition to co-authoring two books and publishing articles in refereed journals, she has consulted on public service ethics for varying public, business and not for profit organisations.  These include:   Florida Power and Light, American Bankers Insurance Group, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Tennessee Community Corrections Association, and the Lupus Foundation of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.  Until 1988 she directed the Institute of Government and Institute for Public Management at Florida International University in Miami. Dr. Rizzo graduated from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Stephanie Rhoades began her career in public Service January 18, 2008 with the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Marine Corps with a total of eight years active duty and reserve service combined. During her time in public service, Stephanie has served in several positions within the Department of Veterans Affairs from call center agent to claims processor. Currently, she serves as a Management Analyst and is responsible for compiling data and providing analysis of trends, outliers and station performance. Stephanie has developed an appreciation for the complexity of issues facing today’s public managers through her work at the VA, especially in the federal sector. She is serving as a member of the management negotiation team for a new local supplemental agreement for the National Master Agreement between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees. Stephanie is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration at Tennessee State University with an expected graduation in December 2013. She is a 2006 graduate of Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with family.
Cara Robinson is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at TSU.  She received her Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware in 2011. Cara was the Executive Director of the Homeless Planning Council from 2004-2007.
Rebecca Wright is a native of Lakeland, Florida and moved to Nashville in 2008. Rebecca has a B.S. in Education from Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL and a Masters of Public Policy specializing in K-12 education policy from Vanderbilt University. Rebecca is dedicated to ensuring that all children receive a quality education. Rebecca has recently joined the Tennessee Department of Education where she is responsible for answering questions relative to curriculum and instruction from legislators and the public, managing internal team communications, budget management, parent communications, team coordination with other divisions and departments, supporting the work of the Common Core Leadership Council, and team operations. Rebecca worked for the Comptroller’s Office for over two years where her work focused on researching and analyzing K-12 education policy issues. Rebecca also monitored Education Committees, tracked education legislation, and provided information to state legislators and stakeholder groups on proposed legislation. Rebecca is a former teacher and taught 8th grade U.S. History in a Title 1 public school in Florida. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys hiking, reading, attending church, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family.