To Hear You is to Honor You | A message from CEO, Adam Lister
June 4, 2020
Just one week ago, the nation was left speechless and heartbroken by the tragic and senseless death of Mr. George Floyd, captured in nine agonizing minutes by cell phone video. Mr. Floyd’s death demonstrated for the country what black families have known for years, that their experience in the criminal justice and educational system is different from whites. Deep generational and structural problems have not yet begun to heal because we have not yet begun to hear.
Every day, Tennesseans for Student Success works to improve, through policy and politics, public education. Our mission is to build political power and influence to ensure the development and implementation of policies that support educational opportunity is for ALL Tennesseans. If we aim to fulfill this mission, we must be intentional in our outreach, seeking to understand the needs, challenges, struggles, and fears of and work in partnership with black families in Tennessee.
While Tennesseans for Student Success’s commitment to improving public education will never wane, it should always take time to do what is right. We acknowledge your anger. We hear your frustration and grieve your broken hearts. We want to hear more from you and will approach our work building genuine partnerships, to support your children, by listening and showing our commitment with open ears and open hearts.
TSS President & CEO
Austin McMullen is a practicing attorney and partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. His work is primarily in the area of commercial finance and he is certified as a specialist in creditors’ rights law. Austin graduated from the Vanderbilt University School of Law, and earned his undergraduate education at Millsaps College. He is married and have two school-aged children. Austin enjoys working with children, so he teaches the 6th grade confirmation class at First Presbyterian Church, is a TSSAA football official, and coaches girls basketball.
Kurt Faires is a corporate attorney in Chattanooga. Prior to law, he had a career in the business sector including stints as a manufacturing company owner, investment banking for privately-held companies, and turnaround consulting. He is a product of public K-12 education in Indiana and is motivated to help provide a more level educational playing field for Tennessee students, particularly in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Kurt is married to Judge Christie Sell Faires. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their four children, politics, exercise, the outdoors, and being near the water.