Honorees highlight best of Nashville, redefine kind of community leadership needed.
The Nashville Public Education Foundation will honor four prominent Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools alumni and two distinguished community volunteers at the 11th annual Public Schools Hall of Fame luncheon on Thursday, May 14, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The event will highlight the critical role that community and private-sector leaders play in helping Nashville’s public schools accelerate improvement. Occurring less than three months ahead of the mayoral election and in the midst of a transition to a new director of schools, the event aims to unite the community behind an unprecedented push for public school excellence.
“This year marks the turning of a page to the next chapter in Nashville’s quest for public school excellence,” said Shannon Hunt, NPEF president and CEO. “The private sector’s investments of critical funding, leadership, expertise and volunteerism are at the core of our ability to make greater, faster strides in our schools.”
Ralph and Juli Mosley will receive the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award for their many contributions to the betterment of the city, particularly their deep commitment to the Nashville Promise Neighborhood launched by the Martha O’Bryan Center serving the Stratford High School cluster and the families of James Cayce Homes, the largest public housing development in Nashville.
The Mosleys were instrumental in helping create the Promise Neighborhood as co-chairs of the Steering Committee with the Martha O’Bryan Center, motivated by the idea that children and families need a suite of services from birth to adulthood for long-term success. The couple helped raise early financing and, most importantly, have been a consistent presence in East Nashville’s children’s lives.
“The Mosleys are the embodiment of community commitment to the children of our city,” Hunt said. “Their dedication to making the Promise Neighborhood come to life and seeing the idea through is precisely the kind of leadership it will take to carry our city forward.”
For five years, Juli Mosley tutored Stratford High School students at the Top Floor, an after-school program run by the Martha O’Bryan Center. She now mentors two recent graduates focused on getting a college education.
Ralph Mosley, who has been working with the Martha O’Bryan Center for 30 years, can be found every week reading to 3-year-olds at the center and delivering meals to those in need twice a month. After retiring as the CEO of Southwestern/Great American, Inc., he told Marsha Edwards, CEO of the center, that he wanted to be actively involved.
While he stressed how important fundraising is to bettering schools, he emphasized that dramatically turning around Nashville schools requires more than just money.
“I’ve seen so many people’s lives helped through the dollars we’ve raised,” he said. “But if you want a real high, walk into a classroom where everyone cheers and wants to go to the library to find a book.”
The Mosleys’ commitment to the community runs deep and across a wide range of endeavors. Ralph Mosley chairs the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and serves on the board of directors at SunTrust Bank. Juli Mosley chairs the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the Metro Nashville Airport Authority, in addition to championing many other causes for Second Presbyterian Church, the Martha O’Bryan Center and the Cumberland Valley Girl Scout Council.
“One of the things I was taught early on was to work hard to do well and give back to the community and the people,” Ralph Mosley said. “Seeing children with someone helping them, getting confidence and learning how to read – that makes a difference. You can write your check, and that’s important; but let me take you over to the children. There are a million ways you can be involved; it doesn’t just stop when the ink stops flowing. If you give back just once, you’re hooked.”
In addition to the Mosleys, four MNPS graduates will be honored at the event with the Distinguished Alumni Award:
- Mary Carol Humphreys Friddell, president and owner of nursing assistant training school NATS, Inc., and a 30-year MNPS teacher who taught in seven schools across the city, including Eakin, Bordeaux, Julia Green and Cockrill. Friddell is a graduate of John Overton High School;
- Decosta Jenkins, president and CEO of Nashville Electric Service and graduate of North High School;
- Beverly Keel, professor and chairwoman of Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry, journalist and graduate of McGavock High School;
- Mark Rowan, president of Griffin Technology and graduate of Antioch High School.
“Each inductee is a positive force for Nashville through a commitment to greatness in our community,” said Tom Sherrard, NPEF chairman. “The honorees have made our community a better place and demonstrate the importance of strong public schools. For Nashville’s continued success, we need more people like them in the public education dialogue. We are proud to recognize those who have experienced personal and professional success while staying active in public education.”
PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event. The Nashville Public Education Foundation launched its Hall of Fame in 2005 with a committee of community leaders, and honors those who have made an impact on the city’s public school system and community. This year’s recipients join 44 other Nashvillians in the NPEF Hall of Fame.
To purchase tickets, a table or sponsorships to this year’s event, visit nashvillepef.org/hall-of-fame or call 615-727-1515.