Anita Gray, a third grade teacher at Byars Dowdy Elementary School, was one of 18 Tennessee teachers named to serve on the first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet earlier this week.
The cabinet will meet quarterly with Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share real-time information from the classroom, advise on policy considerations and provide a direct line of communication to schools and communities.
“I am deeply honored that I was appointed as a member of the teacher cabinet. LSSD (Lebanon Special School District) is a great district to work for, and I look forward to sharing the great things we do in our district with the governor and other members of the cabinet,” Gray said. “I am looking forward to this opportunity as being a voice for educators and the needs of our students.”
A year ago, the governor traveled the state to hear from groups of teachers and, in December, he announced plans to create the cabinet in an effort to improve teacher communication and collaboration.
“We’ve had a number of conversations with teachers in a variety of settings, and this is another way to receive direct feedback from teachers who are in front of a class every day,” Haslam said. “As Tennessee continues to build on the success we’ve seen in our schools over the past four years, we want to hear from teachers about what is working and what needs improvement. These teachers have a lot on their plates, so I really appreciate their willingness to serve the state in this way.”
Directors of schools were asked to nominate one teacher from each of their districts, and 18 classroom teachers were selected from across the state based on the following criteria: focused on student achievement, encourages collaboration among colleagues, demonstrates leadership, solutions-oriented and relentlessly pursues excellence.
The teacher cabinet includes a diverse mix of backgrounds and experience. Members represent each of the state’s three grand divisions as well as cities, suburbs and rural areas and have varying years of experience teaching first through 12th grades.
Teachers will serve two-year terms on the cabinet, and the first meeting is planned for next month.