LIFT Letter to State Leadership

Dear Governor Haslam, Commissioner Huffman and State Board of Education Members:

Thank you for your leadership in improving public education in Tennessee for all children. We applaud your platform of raising standards, strengthening accountability and providing local flexibility to meet the needs of educating every child in all of our communities.

On behalf of LIFT Education, we want to express our support of Common Core implementation in Tennessee. We believe this set of high standards and rigorous assessments will transform teaching and learning at the core by allowing our local school districts to decide on the best strategies and curricula to prepare students to succeed in college and careers. We want to be accountable for making sure that we show student progress in striving for standards and an accountability system that we, as a state, developed with our own teachers and local experts.

As a group that has just recently formed, we stand ready to support your leadership on Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards. We represent a small number of school superintendents called LIFT EducationLeading Innovation for Tennessee Education. LIFT Education is committed to courageous student-centered leadership to ensure quality instruction and student success in Tennessee. We are willing to innovate, push and challenge the status quo on behalf of all Tennessee children. We will strive to provide an insightful, courageous and strong public voice to the education reform conversation in Tennessee, being willing to step out and collectively discuss reforms, decisions and policies that are in the best interest of Tennessee students. And, we want to build a policy forum where we can reflect with each other on the reform work while learning from the very best thought leaders, practitioners and reform leaders in the world.

We believe that high academic standards, measured through rigorous assessments, lead to high performing education systems that will raise student achievement and, ultimately, provide the backbone to a healthy and vibrant economy and more and better opportunities for our children.

Attached to this letter you will find our initial framework of LIFT Education’s mission statement, purpose and guiding principles. Please let us know how we can support you in your continued efforts to stay the course on Common Core implementation.


Members of LIFT Education

Lyle Ailshie, Superintendent, Kingsport City Schools

Jerry Boyd, Director, Putnam County School System

Neel Durbin, Director, Dyersburg City Schools

Shawn Kimble, Superintendent, Lauderdale County School System

Vicki Kirk, Director, Greene County Schools

James McIntyre, Superintendent, Knox County Schools

Clint Satterfield, Director, Trousdale County Schools

Jubal Yennie, Director, Sullivan County Department of Education