Category: Press Releases

Tennesseans for Student Success Statement on the NAEP Results

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister released the following statement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results:

“Over the last ten years, Tennessee students have made dramatic improvements as a result of a commitment to implementing student-focused policies. Released today, our Nation’s Report Card found that many states regressed, while Tennessee’s students slightly progressed in some areas.

“That said, there is still much work to be done to ensure all students are receiving the best possible public education. This data reinforces our belief that policy makers must commit to an aggressive and bold agenda, which dramatically and more quickly improves student outcomes for all Tennessee kids. It’s important that we commend the progress Tennessee has made, thank our teachers for their hard work, and commit to the strategies that will dramatically drive student achievement forward.”

Tennesseans for Student Success Announces Tristar Reads Scholarship Winners

NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success, together with Tristar Reads, announces the winners of their 2019 summer reading challenge. Awarding college scholarships, Tristar Reads encourages Tennessee’s students to be lifelong readers and learners.

“894 students logged over 500,000 minutes reading books this summer,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO Adam Lister. “When we launched this program, our goal was to keep Tennessee’s students reading and mitigate the summer slide. From our recent 2019 TNReady results, we know there is a continued need to emphasize literacy at every grade level and in every classroom – especially elementary and middle school students. Programs like Tristar Reads are one of the tools to incentivize reading throughout the year, and we are proud to have a hand in student growth.”

Tristar Reads is proud to award $1,000 college scholarships to the following outstanding Tennessee readers:

Elementary School Division – Tallen Haag, 3rd Grade, Robertson County, read 28,286 minutes
Middle School Division – Sarah Collier, 7th Grade, Cheatham County, read 22,955 minutes
High School Division – Lauren Linden, 12th Grade, Hancock County, read 10,012 minutes

Lister continued: “A commitment to reading is a commitment to success not just in the classroom, but in life. When students, teachers, parents, and communities embrace the benefits of reading, anything is possible. We are encouraged by the continued interest and growth not just in our three college scholarships, but in keeping literacy skills sharp all year long.”

Running from May 1st – September 7th, Tristar Reads was birthed out of the goal to keep Tennessee’s students reading during the summer months. When students read 20 minutes a day during their summer vacations, they are more likely to return to school ready for success in their next grade. In its fourth year, almost 900 students logged their reading time, reading over 500,000 minutes this summer, and participating in the summer reading challenge. For more information on how to participate next year, please visit

VIDEO: #KnowYourWhy with LEAD Southeast Principal, Mrs. Wilkins in Nashville

NASHVILLE – October is National Principals Month and Tennesseans for Student Success sat down with Amy Kate Wilkins, Principal at LEAD Southeast High School, a public charter school within the LEAD public schools’ network with six schools serving 2,700 students in the Nashville area.

As an organization, we believe it’s important to celebrate educators and encourage leaders in the community to ‘Know Their Why.’ Read a few excerpts from Mrs. Wilkins below:

Short: What do you love the most about what you do?

Wilkins: “… The relationship that I was able to form with students and with my colleagues as well as with families in the community that I served, especially in these first few formative years really set the foundation for this work. So I think that it is the reason I decided to stay in education, but really what gives me the drive every single day is knowing that I am coming to school, serving students, interacting with parents, and working with colleagues to problem solve and give kids the best possible education they can have here in Nashville.”

Short: Can you tell us a little bit about your school and what makes it unique?

Wilkins: “… We specifically at this school, serve grades 9th through 11th. We’re unique in that we’re a growing high school. Next year we will add our first graduating class. We’re following in the footsteps of our sister school, LEAD Academy who has graduated and sent 100 percent of their seniors off to a career or college path that is best suited for them, and we hope to do that soon in less than a year. Our graduating class of 2021 is pumped to do that, and I think it really sets us apart as a high school here in the city of Nashville.”

Short: In closing, do you have any last thoughts or words you’d like to share?

Wilkins: “… I think what resonates most closely with me is when people affirm that this work is really hard… Being an educator is something that a lot of people aspire to do, but very few stick with because it is really taxing. So my encouragement and closing words would be to stick with it, to value the relationships that the job offers – both with students and the people you are working alongside – and utilize those to energize you in this work. And finally, take care of yourself… So that would definitely be my closing words but also advice for people that are looking to get into this work.”

Click here to view the video. 

Tennesseans for Student Success Statement on the Public Charter School Commission Announcement

NASHVILLE – Today, Tennesseans for Student Success President and CEO, Adam Lister, released the following statement after Governor Lee’s appointments to the state’s new public charter school commission:

“Every student in the state of Tennessee, regardless of their zip code, deserves the highest level of quality and equal access to an outstanding public education. Tennessee continues to lead the way in innovative solutions to improve public education through the establishment of the new statewide public charter school commission. By establishing a non-political commission filled with accomplished experts in leading and growing charter schools as well as managing rigorous authorization programs and nonprofit governance; Tennessee took a dramatic step forward in improving its charter school policy. It is important the Volunteer State continues to establish new paths for students to have a seat in a high-quality public school, and this commission will implement even greater opportunities for families and students that need them the most.”