TSS Statement on Governor Lee’s Calling for Special Legislative Session on Education
December 29, 2020
NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success today released the following statement after Governor Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) announced his intention to convene the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session to address critical issues facing public education.
With only 34.9 percent of students meeting expectations in ELA across grade levels, we must address literacy head-on with comprehensive legislation that provides students with the necessary instruction and high-quality material to improve student success.
“Tennessee’s literacy rates are at crisis-level lows with only 34.9 percent of students reading on grade level. The life-long challenges created through reading gaps disproportionately impact Tennessee’s most marginalized students. We need a bold and urgent response to these issues if we are to chart a new path to success for hundreds of thousands of students,” said TSS President & CEO Adam Lister. “Adding to the already desperate and critical need for intervention, a global pandemic deepened the discrepancy in literacy rates and further accentuated tragic learning inequities for low-income students and students of color. We are Tennesseans; we have a history of taking bold steps in confronting challenges. We appreciate Governor Lee’s leadership and applaud his taking action to elevate and prioritize these issues through a special session. We look forward to working with the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Lee to create and adopt bold solutions to improve student learning and success.”
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President & CEO
VP, Strategy & Advocacy
Manager, Policy & Outreach
General Counsel and VP, Government Relations
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.
Jack Minor serves as the Vice President of Strategy and Advocacy for Tennesseans for Student Success. He has experience working in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, congressional and presidential campaigns, and at a leading national think tank and advocacy organization. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff and lead communications staffer to U.S. Representative Mark Walker – the House Republican Conference Vice Chairman – and as the Digital Content Manager for Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. As a communications, advocacy, and policy professional, Jack has helped raise millions in online donations, managed seven-figure campaign spends, booked clients on premier national news outlets, and assisted candidates from local school boards to Congress and the presidency. He is a graduate of Elon University, a North Carolina native, and a former student of Tennessee public schools.
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.
Lana Skelo joins Tennesseans for Student Success as the General Counsel and VP, Government Relations, prior to serving as the Senior Director of State Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that role, she oversaw lobbying compliance for both the Institute for Legal Reform and Workforce Freedom Initiative. In that capacity, Lana was responsible for developing and managing state-level policy advocacy program in the tort reform space through an aggressive grassroots and public education plan.
Before her time with ILR, Lana was an attorney with Waller Law firm in Nashville, TN, where she focused on state business regulation and represented clients in strategic planning matters involving the executive and legislative branches of government, as well as commissions, authorities, and other entities.
Lana is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. She earned her J.D. from The University of Memphis-Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.