TSS Celebrates an Expansion of the General Assembly’s Education Reform Supporters
August 6, 2020
NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS) released the following statement after a successful election night for Tennessee General Assembly candidates who openly support higher standards and a meaningful accountability system to drive improvements in public education:
“Even as our state faces the operational, economic, and health complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters in Tennessee have continued to demonstrate that education is a top priority,” said Tennesseans for Student Success President & CEO Adam Lister. “In the most competitive primary elections, the candidates who won the hearts and minds of voters were those who prioritize improving outcomes for Tennessee students demonstrated through their track record of supporting those policies. Tonight’s electoral successes emphasize the education reform movement continues to have strong grassroots support across the state. The expanded number of student-centered supporters in the legislature is only an opportunity to continue creating better futures for Tennessee kids. Now, we must ensure that opportunity does not pass us by.”
Last month, TSS released extensive statewide polling that shows prioritizing improvements in education and supporting Tennessee’s students is a top priority for the people of the Volunteer State. Knowing this, and in keeping with our policy priorities around improving student outcomes and bettering our public schools, TSS launched a comprehensive issue advocacy and voter education campaign to let voters know where candidates in HD3, HD6, HD7, HD16, HD18, HD42, HD54, HD85, HD99, SD22, SD24, SD32 stand on higher standards in education, aligned assessments to those standards, protecting accountability in schools, promoting public school choice, and securing economic freedom for all. That campaign garnered nearly 9 million impressions and voter contacts across various mediums.
TSS is on the frontlines executing independent, year-round comprehensive education reform campaigns, leveraging research and sophisticated data-modeling to build authentic political power, and assembling vast coalitions of voters around the education issues they are the most passionate. Our work supporting public education and those who champion it is demonstrated by the results we have seen tonight in key districts across the state.
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.
Harry L. Allen is the Co-founder, Executive Vice President and Chief Relationship Officer of Studio Bank. Studio Bank launched in July 2018 to become the first new, “de novo”, locally-headquartered bank in Nashville since 2008. Studio Bank is one of Nashville’s fastest growing companies, employing over 50 and with total assets of over $350 million. As co-founder, Mr. Allen was integral in the formation of the bank including recruiting members of the team, board of directors, completing the necessary regulatory applications and helping raise over $50 million in start-up capital. He serves as the Bank’s lead business development officer, key point of contact for stakeholders and strategic partners, such as the bank’s Founders’ Advisory Board, and manages the Bank’s involvement and investment in community efforts.
A native of Nashville, Mr. Allen is active in the Nashville Community serving on the board of directors for the Center for Nonprofit Management and is a Trustee of Belmont University. He is also the Immediate Past-President of the Rotary Club of Nashville, the world’s third-largest Rotary Club, and a graduate of the 2018-2019 Leadership Nashville Class. He has been listed as a 2014 Nashville Top 40 Under 40, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Power Leader in Finance, and 2019 Nashville Power 100 by the Nashville Business Journal.
Mr. Allen has dedicated most of his volunteer service to improving public education. He has served as founding board chair of Purpose Preparatory Academy, served as co-Chair of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card Committee, and as a member of Mayor David Briley’s “Education Kitchen Cabinet”. In 2018, Mr. Allen was inducted into the Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame by the Nashville Public Education Foundation and was honored with Belmont’s Massey Graduate School of Business Distinguished Graduate Award.