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
President & CEO
Director, Government Relations
Sr. Director, Strategy and Advocacy
Manager, Policy & Outreach
Alice joins us as the Executive Assistant to the President & CEO for Tennesseans for Student Success after spending 10 years with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Savannah, GA. While at the DOJ, she worked in many facets within the Criminal, Civil, and Administrative divisions. Prior to ending her time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she was the Executive Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia for almost 2 years and looks forward to bringing the same level of organization to this role. While working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she obtained her bachelor’s in law and society, master’s in leadership, and her J.D. Although Alice is not from Tennessee, she is looking forward to making this her home.
Brooke began working for Tennesseans for Student Success in March 2017 as the Operations Manager, overseeing the daily operations and providing support to team members. Brooke graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in 2014 from Middle Tennessee State University. She lived as a Nashville native, before relocating to Portland, Oregon, and is a wife and mother of two girls. Outside of working for TSS, you can find her exploring her new home in the PNW, volunteering in the children’s ministry at her family’s church, and serving as treasurer on the parent organization board for her daughter’s charter school.
Adam Lister serves as president of Tennesseans for Student Success, a nonprofit issue advocacy organization committed to improving student achievement in the Volunteer State. Prior to his role at Tennesseans for Student Success, Lister was vice president of Policy at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce where directed public policy and government relations initiatives and led the Chamber’s political action committees and independent expenditure work to advance and support critical business advocacy priorities at the state, local, and federal level. Lister is a Nashville native and graduate of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Earlier, Lister worked as an analyst with the Tennessee General Assembly and on a number of political campaigns including for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Adam received a bachelor of science from Kentucky Wesleyan College and is married to Dr. Amanda Lister, a public school teacher in Williamson County.
Susan relocated to Nashville and joined TSS in 2019 after completing her third term as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. She served as Chair of multiple committees including Finance, Commerce, Economic Development Oversight, and the House Study Committee on Education Innovation. Susan served on the board of Wilson Education Partnership, a collaboration with the local school system, and Chamber of Commerce promoting excellence in education. Susan was a key partner in the creation of the Wilson Academy of Applied Technology, an innovative early college high school designed specifically to reduce the skills gap for local manufacturing employers. Earlier, Susan spent 12 years as a sales representative for IBM in Richmond, VA. Susan earned an MBA and BSBA from the University of Richmond. She is married to Dr. Lew Martin, an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery affiliated with the VA and Vanderbilt. They are the proud parent of two daughters attending college in middle Tennessee.
Jack joins Tennesseans for Student Success as the Senior Director of Strategy and Advocacy after serving as Rep. Mark Walker’s (R-NC) Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director. Prior to joining the Walker team, he worked for Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Heritage Action for America. He is a graduate of Elon University and a native of Catawba County, N.C. Apart from his official duties, Minor has helped grow Walker’s digital and political presence throughout North Carolina – building one of the largest and most active digital campaigns in the state.
Lani Short serves as Communications Director with Tennesseans for Student Success, a nonprofit issue advocacy organization committed to improving student achievement in the Volunteer State. Before her role at Tennesseans for Student Success, Short served as press assistant to the Republican National Committee before serving as press secretary to Congressman Phil Roe (TN-01). Most recently, she served as deputy communications director for the House Committee on Small Business. While on Capitol Hill, Short managed all aspects of a congressional office’s communications needs while reflecting the care Rep. Roe showed for the people of his district. Lani is a native Tennessean whose interest in political communications is driven by her passion for connecting Tennesseans to education issues.
Jessica joined Tennesseans for Student Success after working in state and national politics as well as higher education. In 2016, Jessica became the first East Tennessee Field Representative. After moving to Nashville in 2017, she became the Middle Tennessee Field Representative and stepped into a mentor role on the field team, leading TSS’ grassroots efforts. Before joining TSS, Jessica served as the Regional Political Director for the Tennessee Republican Party and as a Regional Field Director for Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Florida. Jessica graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lincoln Memorial University with her Masters in Public Administration in 2018. Before working in politics, Jessica worked at her Alma Mater, Carson-Newman University, as an Admissions Counselor, which gave her first-hand knowledge of the real gaps that students face in their college and career readiness. In her role as Policy and Outreach Manager, Jessica directs the digital advocacy and grassroots outreach, ensuring TSS has well developed and engaged advocates in communities across Tennessee. In addition to leading the digital advocacy and grassroots outreach, Jessica manages policy research and assists in the day-to-day lobbying at the Tennessee General Assembly.
Chris is a UK civil servant with a background in welfare, education, and criminal justice policy. Before joining TSS as its summer fellow, he managed the higher and technical education budget in the UK’s Treasury Department. He also advised Prime Minister Theresa May on welfare policy and the response to the Grenfell Tower fire. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University and is using his time in the United States to research the opportunities for innovation and greater local accountability in decentralized public services.