Over 600 Nashvillians rally behind public schools

Sonya Johnson, Tina Manuel, Sarah Hale and Sonja Bryan attended the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame luncheon on Oct. 17 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Sonya Johnson, Tina Manuel, Sarah Hale and Sonja Bryan attended the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame luncheon on Oct. 17 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

Hundreds of Nashvillians gathered at the Omni Nashville Hotel this week to honor four new inductees into the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame during its 12th annual honorees’ luncheon.

“Nashville continues to come together for one common goal: to make our public schools the best they can be,” said David Williams, vice chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs at Vanderbilt University and event chairman.

“This year’s Hall of Fame displayed how far we have come as a city in the past year, with Project RESET and the successful search for our new director of schools; but it also demonstrated how we continue to strive to make Nashville public schools stronger than ever.”

Agenia Clark, president and CEO, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, (third from left) joined Jeffrey Webster, Rebecca West and Vicki Smith from Nissan North America, a gold sponsor for the 12th annual Hall of Fame.

Agenia Clark, president and CEO, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, (third from left) joined Jeffrey Webster, Rebecca West and Vicki Smith from Nissan North America, a gold sponsor for the 12th annual Hall of Fame.

Renata Soto received the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award, presented by Ingram Industries Inc., for her visionary leadership around a host of public education causes and her advocacy, and that of Conexión Américas, for English-language learners and immigrant families. Three MNPS graduates were honored at the event with the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by HCA/TriStar:

· Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Federal District judge of the Middle District of Tennessee and a graduate of McGavock High School.

· Joe Steakley, senior vice president of Internal Audit and Risk Services at HCA and graduate of Maplewood High School.

· Rev. Dr. Becca Stevens, founder and president of Thistle Farms, chaplain at St. Augustine’s Chapel at Vanderbilt University, and graduate of Overton High School.

The Nashville Newcomer Academy, a unique partnership of STEM Preparatory Academy, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the city, took home the inaugural Inspiring Innovation Award presented by CCA. The honor included a $10,000 grant from NPEF and assistance from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Dr. Kristin McGraner, the founder of NNA, accepted the award on behalf of the program. NPEF partnered with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to choose the winner.

“We were honored to partner with NPEF on the Inspiring Innovation Award,” said Sam Lingo, president and COO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “Nashville is growing by the day, and the Nashville Newcomer Academy saw a need and used a creative approach to make great gains. It is innovative collaborations like this that make Nashville a city where people can live and thrive.”

Grammy Award-winning artist Vince Gill performed at the event with members of the Head Magnet Middle School Singers.

Other sponsors for the event include: Belmont University, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Bryan, Pendelton, Swats & McAllister, LLC, Cat Financial, Crosslin & Associates, PLLC, Dollar General Corporation, Education Networks of America, First Tennessee Foundation, H.G. Hill Realty Company, James Stephen Turner Family Foundation, Jennifer and Billy Frist, John Ferguson, KraftCPAs PLLC, Lightning 100, Lipman Brothers and the R.S. Lipman Company, Lipscomb University, Nashville Lifestyles, Nissan North America, Inc., Rogers Group, Inc., Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation, Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, Standard Functional Foods, The Strategy Group, SunTrust, Trauger & Tuke, UBS, Vanderbilt University, and Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP.