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TSBA Honors Thomas at Fall District Meeting

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 12:19 pm

The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) hosted the Southeast Fall District Meeting at Cleveland High School in Cleveland on August 31. “TSBA’s Fall District Meetings provide our staff the opportunity to speak with our members and listen to their concerns on multiple topics. This allows us to advocate effectively on their behalf while providing them with information they need to make informed decisions for the students in their community,” said TSBA Executive Director Dr. Tammy Grissom. During the meeting, members of local boards of education and superintendents from the region participated in a survey where they expressed their opinions on a number of issues for the upcoming General Assembly.


Each year TSBA honors one student from each of its nine districts who has achieved distinction in the areas of academics, community leadership, and engagement as part of its Student Recognition Award program. One of those nine students will win the statewide Student Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention in November, which will include a $2,000 scholarship. The 2023 Southeast District winner is Nicholas Thomas of Marion County. Nicholas is a Senior at Whitwell High School in Marion County and has maintained a 3.56 GPA. He is the current President of the Whitwell High School Interact Club and was elected class Vice President in 2021.

Through the Whitwell Interact club, he regularly assists Valley View Assisted Living, Whitwell Headstart, “River Rescue” through Marion County Park, and Casa Esperanza in the Philippines He was selected to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.



Each year TSBA honors one school volunteer from each of its nine districts who have distinguished themselves by demonstrating exceptional commitment to volunteerism in a local school district. The district winner has exhibited exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in their service to a school. One of those nine volunteer will win the statewide School Volunteer Recognition Award to be presented at the TSBA Annual Convention in November, which will include a $1 ,000 grant to the school of their choice. The 2023 Southeast District Volunteer Recognition Award winner is Katie Harver of Sequatchie County. Ms. Harver was instrumental in reviving Griffith Elementary PTO which had been dormant for several years and has developed creative ways to increase parent participation in school events. During the winter, Katie helped to organize a huge “Polar Express” event, and she also helped coordinate the recent “Pizza and Pals” celebration for students who exhibited exceptional attendance. She has volunteered her time to assist with the TCAP Pep Rally, which is an event that involves the student body of nearly 800 Pre-K through 4th grade students.



Several Southeast District school board members earned TSBA Boardsmanship Awards in 2023. The awards are presented to individual board members who have achieved one of five levels of boardsmanship standards over the past year. The program is designed to recognize school board members for participation in board activities beyond the local level through a commitment to training, willingness to participate in workshops and a volunteer spirit. The Boardsmanship Award honors not only the quantity, but also the quality of participation. Levels I -IV are given at Fall District Meetings, while Level V Boardsmanship is awarded at the association’s annual convention in November.

Southeast District board members who were honored for their achievements this year were:



Rachel Goins, Bradley County

Nate Tucker, Cleveland

Jodi Riggins, Cleveland

Phyllis Lusk, Grundy County

Rick Rust, Grundy County

Margaret Thomas, Grundy County

Gary Kuehn, Hamilton County

Donna Blansett, Marion County

Jonathan Pierce, McMinn County

Kevin Goins, McMinn County

Dustin Prichard, McMinn County

Fred Newcom, Richard City Special

Felisha Snyder, Sequatchie County



Nate Tucker, Cleveland

Linda Hooper, Marion County

Donna Casteel, McMinn County

Felisha Snyder, Sequatchie County



Denise A. Cunningham, McMinn County

Debbie Adams, Sequatchie County



Denise A. Cunningham, McMinn County


The Marion Tribune – October 5, 2023