Mayor David Briley, Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph and nearly 1,000 community members came together Tuesday to celebrate public school excellence and to honor new inductees into the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame during its 14th annual honorees’ luncheon, presented by First Tennessee Bank.
“It is because of the tireless work and incredible talent of our teachers, and these award winners in particular, who help us shine a spotlight on the many success stories coming out of our Metro schools,” Mayor Briley said. “I am sincerely thankful to each of them for all they do for our children and for making our schools and our city a better place.”
Jarred Amato, an English teacher at Maplewood High School, was announced as the winner of the inaugural Inspiring Educator Award, sponsored by Ingram Charities, in recognition of his tremendous efforts to help countless students fall in love with reading.
“We were especially pleased to introduce a new award this year, the Inspiring Educator Award, and honor the incredible work of Jarred Amato,” said Brenda Wynn, event co-chairwoman and Davidson County clerk. “With this award, we hope to send the message loud and clear that the work of teachers like Jarred is critically important, and that it has the power to change the world.”
By working closely with the very students he sought to help, Amato created Project LIT Community, an initiative that has collected tens of thousands of culturally relevant, age-appropriate books; hosted monthly, student-led book clubs; and even brought in some of the biggest names in young adult fiction for speaking events. This groundbreaking program moved from school to school here in Nashville and has now grown to 500 chapters in 46 states with nearly 20,000 student members across the country.
The Educators’ Cooperative was announced as the winner of the Inspiring Innovation Award, presented by Nissan North America, Inc. This initiative was chosen from dozens of applicants for its innovative programming that gives teachers from a diverse range of schools the support of a dedicated community. This program allows teachers to work together and find solutions to real-life issues in the classroom, creating happier, more supported teachers, stronger schools and better outcomes for students.
And thanks to the generosity of Nissan and Ingram, both Amato and The Educators’ Cooperative will each receive a $10,000 grant to grow and scale their programming, helping them reach even more teachers and students.
In addition to the Inspiring Innovation and Inspiring Educator awards, Lewis Lavine was awarded posthumously with the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award, presented by Education Networks of America, for his lasting contributions to the city of Nashville and its public education system. Harry Allen, Rashed Fakhruddin and Anne Lowry Russell, prominent Metro Nashville Public Schools graduates, were honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by Belmont University.
“As we continue to strive for excellence in public education in Nashville, the Hall of Fame serves as an important reminder of all we have to celebrate,” said event co-chairwoman Janet Miller, partner and CEO of the Nashville office of Colliers International. “This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners represent the power and potential of an MNPS education. And no one is more deserving of the NPEF’s highest honor than Lewis Lavine, a tireless advocate for the city of Nashville. We lost our friend Lewis far too soon; but today we celebrated all that he accomplished, and issued a challenge to ourselves and to this city to follow in his footsteps.”
The Andrew Jackson Elementary Eagle Honor Choir performed at the event.
Other sponsors for the event include: Adams and Reese LLP; Asurion; Belmont University; Bone McAllester Norton PLLC; Bridgestone Americas; Michael Carter; Cat Financial; Cigna; Colliers International; Rob Corbin; Curb Records; Dollar General; Education Networks of America; ESa – Earl Swensson Architects, Inc.; The Enchiridion Foundation; Donna and Jeffrey Eskind; Carole and John Ferguson; FirstBank; Jennifer and Billy Frist; HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health; H.G. Hill Realty Company, LLC; Ingram Charities; Lipman Brothers and the R.S. Lipman Company; Lipscomb University; LP Building Products; MarketStreet Enterprises; Nashville Electric Service; Neal & Harwell, PLC; Nissan North America, Inc.; Pinnacle Financial; Regions Bank; R.H. Boyd Publishing; Rogers Group Inc.; Anne and Joe Russell; Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation; Pinnacle Financial Partners; Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, PLC; Synovus; Trauger & Tuke; UBS; UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee; and Vanderbilt University.
About the Nashville Public Education Foundation
The Nashville Public Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to pulling together the vast intellectual, creative and financial resources of the Nashville community to create a shared vision of the city’s education system and provide the needed targeted resources to make it a reality. More information is available at www.nashvillepef.org.
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