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We’re a Nonprofit!

We’re excited to report that ArtsEd Tennessee is now a 501c3 nonprofit organization. As a charitable nonprofit, we will work to pursue our mission with added tax-exempt benefits and opportunities for growth. Our purpose remains unchanged: ArtsEd Tennessee believes all students shall have access to quality arts instruction (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) taught during the school day by licensed specialists, highly skilled in the subject area being taught. Our values remain unchanged: A coalition of arts educators, community, and business leaders working for a common goal and transforming shared beliefs into action. 

ArtsEd Tennessee is governed by a board of directors with Stephen Coleman serving as president/CEO. We continue to work in partnership with our core member organizations, including the professional educator associations (EdTA, TAD, TAEA, and TMEA), KHS America, and Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation.  We work collaboratively with the Tennessee State Legislature, State Board of Education, State Department of Education and other state and NGO agencies to advance arts education in the state, providing input and guidance on regulatory, policy, and budgetary issues.

Welcome ArtsEd Tennessee
Board of Directors

Our exceptional board members represent all arts content areas, and all aspects of arts education in the state, including arts educators, arts administrators, artist teachers, artists, business leaders, community arts organizations, and state government.

  • Laurie Melnik Allen, Lyndhurst Chair of Excellence in Arts Education, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Nick Averwater, Vice President, Amro Music
  • Stephen Coleman, President/CEO, ArtsEd Tennessee; President, Tennessee Arts Academy Foundation
  • Manuel A. Delgado, Luthier/Business Owner, Delgado Guitars
  • Lizzie Emmons, Executive Director, Jackson Arts Council
  • Dr. Brad Foust , Fine Arts Supervisor, Bartlett City Schools
  • Shaun Giles, Community Engagement Director, Frist Art Museum
  • Laurie Schell, Principal, Laurie Schell Associates | ElevateArtsEd
  • Todd Shipley, Director of Arts Education, Tennessee Department of Education (ex-officio)
  • Tabor Stamper, Chairman of the Board, KHS America
  • Alexis Yatuzis-Derryberry, General Music Specialist, Stewarts Creek High School; President, TMEA 

ArtsEd Tennessee Board of Directors members are fierce arts education advocates. They share the belief that the arts education community is stronger when our collective voice includes all those who believe in and support the arts in our schools. 

ArtsEd Tennessee in the House 

ArtsEd Tennessee was invited by Chairman Mark White to make a presentation to the House Education Committee prior to the start of the legislative session. The topic, connecting student mental wellbeing and arts education, was prepared by ArtsEd Tennessee and the CMA Foundation, with assistance from Bob Morrison of Quadrant Research, and was presented to the House Education Administration Committee in late January. Stephen Parker of the CMA Foundation joined ArtsEd TN in the presentation.

We highlighted the latest research on the impact of arts education on student SEL (social-emotional learning), informed the committee of the broad membership of our coalition, and outlined a report on the CMA/Mr. Holland’s Opus project to provide our state’s school systems a free longitudinal evaluation of current arts course offerings with suggestions for improvement.

The presentation was well received by the House Education Committee. Several legislators voiced their support for arts education at the conclusion. The event is a first for ArtsEd Tennessee and serves as an important reminder for our elected leaders of the broad support for arts education in Tennessee and the value of arts learning.


Legislation to Watch

Joint Resolution Supporting Arts in Education: Similar to the resolution passed in 2020, SJR970 by Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) has submitted our resolution recognizing Arts in Education Week on September 11 - 17, 2022 in Tennessee. The resolution is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee on February 23. While non-binding, this legislation reaffirms the General Assembly and the Governor’s support and is important to establishing the value and non-partisan nature of arts education.


Supplemental Teaching Materials: Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) has introduced SB0659, to amend TCA 49-6-22, clarifying the definition of supplemental teaching materials. This amendment describes supplemental materials as lesson plans, reading materials, student worksheets, or instructional guides that a teacher uses to instruct a student on the academic standards of this state that was not created by that teacher or another teacher in the same school. The bill states that all supplemental materials (other than those created by the teacher or a teacher in the same school) must be approved by the State Board of Education or the Tennessee Department of Education.

While this legislation does not refer directly to arts instruction, the variety of materials routinely used in arts classes could possibly be defined as supplemental materials. We will follow this legislation and will provide updates.


New Funding Formula for Schools: Earlier this month we notified members of comments and subsequent clarifications made about possible outsourcing arts instruction by Commissioner Schwinn at the February 3 meeting of the Public Education Funding Review Steering Committee and February 10 press conference. In comments during the February 10 press conference, the Commissioner clarified that funds for salaries could NOT be used for outsourcing teaching staff. Further, she indicated that additional funds above those used for salaries could help cover the cost of after-school supplemental instruction.

The Basic Education Program (BEP) is the funding formula through which state education dollars are generated and distributed to Tennessee schools. The new school funding formula is the first major overhaul of the BEP since 1992. It is scheduled for release on February 24, providing the state legislature and the public the first opportunity to review the plan in its entirety. We will keep you informed as this new plan moves forward and we have more specific details.


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