Nashville comes together to celebrate public schools

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Hundreds of Nashvillians came together Wednesday to celebrate public school excellence and to honor four new inductees into the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame during its 13th annual honorees’ luncheon, presented by SunTrust Bank.

“I look forward to the Hall of Fame every year because it is an opportunity for the city to collectively and publicly reaffirm its commitment to supporting our public schools,” said event chairwoman Wanda Lyle, general manager of Nashville’s UBS Business Solutions Center and event chairwoman. “The four newest Hall of Fame inductees represent the best of Nashville, and their steadfast support for our schools and the community at large is remarkable. There is still a great deal of work to be done for our schools, but this year’s Hall of Fame reminds us that we have much to celebrate.”

Judge Sheila Calloway received the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award for her tireless work on behalf of at-risk youth across the city. As Juvenile Court judge, she is an advocate for every young person who enters her courtroom, using compassionate and innovative strategies to help them reach their full potential. She also co-chaired the Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit and Task Force, served on the Search Advisory Team tasked with recruiting a new director of schools, and has advocated for kids and families on dozens of community boards.

Three MNPS graduates were honored at the event with the Distinguished Alumni Award:

  • Joey Hatch, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska USA’s Midwest Region and a graduate of Hillsboro High School.
  • Valerie Malyvanh Jansen, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and a graduate of John Overton High School.
  • Janet Miller, CEO of the Nashville office of Colliers International and a graduate of Hillwood High School.

Limitless Libraries, a program of the Nashville Public Library, received the Inspiring Innovation Award, presented by Nissan North America, Inc. The honor included a $10,000 grant to expand its programming to reach more schools and children. This initiative was chosen from dozens of applicants for its innovative work to provide Metro Nashville Public Schools access to the library’s 2 million-item collection. During the 2016–2017 school year, Limitless Libraries provided 55,000 students, nearly 10,000 educators and 135 librarians access to books, curriculum kits, DVDs and online databases.

“Limitless Libraries embodies everything the NPEF is about,” said NPEF board chairman David Williams, vice chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics and the director of Athletics at Vanderbilt University. “We firmly believe that collaboration across the Nashville community is key to the success of our school system. Limitless Libraries is the product of an ingenious partnership between the Nashville Public Library and MNPS, putting the entire library collection at the fingertips of every Nashville student. This kind of access to books is a game-changer for student success, which is why we are thrilled to honor Limitless Libraries with this award.”

Breakout country star and Warner Bros./Warner Music Nashville artist RaeLynn performed at the event with students from H.G. Hill Middle School.

Other sponsors for the event include: Annette Eskind; Belmont University; BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community Trust; Bone McAllester Norton PLLC; Cat Financial; CoreCivic; Dollar General; Education Networks of America; First Tennessee Foundation; H.G. Hill Realty; HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health; Ingram Industries Inc.; James Stephen Turner Family Foundation; Jennifer and Billy Frist; KraftCPAs PLLC; Lipman Brothers and the R.S. Lipman Company; Lipscomb University; Michael Carter; PNC Bank; Rogers Group, Inc.; Ron Corbin; Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation; Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison; Skanska; Standard Functional Foods Group and Standard Candy Co.; SunTrust; The Strategy Group; Trauger & Tuke; UBS; Vanderbilt University; and Waller.