About Us

The Tennessee Department of Education strives to provide all students with access and opportunity to ensure their success after graduation. Through research and collaboration with stakeholders, the department has developed frameworks and best practices to support districts and schools as they prepare students for workforce and other postsecondary opportunities. In the spirit of continuous improvement and our unending commitment to Tennessee children, the department has partnered with TennesseeWorks, the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University, and numerous stakeholders to create the Tennessee Transition Blueprint. This framework is rooted in evidence-based practices, identifies specific best practices that improve outcomes for Tennessee students, and aligns assessment measures, goals, intervention suggestions, and requirements in order to best prepare our students for success after graduation. The future of our state and our children depends on the work we will do in the upcoming years to provide all students access to great schools and, once graduated, make certain they are ready for postsecondary education and the workforce.

Rachael Jenkins, M.A.

Rachael Jenkins, M.A.

Content Developer

Shimul Gajjar, M.Ed.

Shimul Gajjar, M.Ed.

Content Developer

Erik Carter, Ph.D

Erik Carter, Ph.D

Project Director

Blake Shearer, Ed.S.

Blake Shearer, Ed.S.

Director, Support Services for Student Readiness

Kyle Jonas, M.A., M.T.S.

Kyle Jonas, M.A., M.T.S.

Media Developer

Theresa Nicholls, Ed.S., NCSP

Theresa Nicholls, Ed.S., NCSP

Assistant Commissioner, Division of Special Populations and Student Support

Research Assistants: Kaitlyn Cooley, Kathryn McCann, Tessa Sledge, Victoria Small, Stephanie Spruit

Media Assistants: Nathan Fields, Margaret Sanders

Special thanks to our statewide Task Force for their contributions to this project:

Melanie Amburn, Loudon County Schools
Pat Beane, Shelby Co. Schools
Lauren Bethune, TennesseeWorks
Erik Carter, Vanderbilt University
Jill Church, Millington Municipal Schools
Jennifer Copeland, Cheatham County Schools
Karen Curry, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Cindy Dacosta, Tullahoma City Schools
Kathryn Deitzer, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Mitzi Delker, Hamilton Co. Schools
Kathleen Dillehay, Sumner Co. Schools
Joey Ellis, Support and Training for Exceptional Parents
Gayle Feltner, Vocational Rehabilitation
Alison Gauld, Tennessee Department of Education
Crystal Godwin, UT-K Center for Literacy, Education, and Employment
Amy Gonzalez, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Maria Griego, Williamson Co. Schools
Taylia Griffith, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools
Carrie Guiden, The Arc of Tennessee
Michelle Halman, TennesseeWorks
Sarah Harvey, Vocational Rehabilitation
Brandi Hays, Smith Co. Schools
Tie Hodack, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Melvin Jackson, UT-K Center for Literacy, Education, and Employment
Rachael Jenkins, TennesseeWorks
Kyle Jonas, TennesseeWorks
Yovancha Lewis-Brown, Vocational Rehabilitation
Gina Lynette, Support and Training for Exceptional Parents
Lorri Mabry, TennesseeWorks
Treva Maitland, The Arc of Tennessee
Ryan Mathis, Tennessee Department of Education
Elise McMillian, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Gayla Newton, Maury Co. Schools
Jill Omer, Tennessee Department of Education
Lauren Pearcy, TennCare
Michelle Pittman, Knox County Schools
Angela Prince, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Loria Richardson, The Arc of Tennessee
Joann Runion, Tennessee Department of Education
Michelle Seiler, Collierville Schools
Blake Shearer, Tennessee Department of Education
Martina Stump, Putnam County Schools
Kelly Wendel, TennesseeWorks
Leah White, Williamson County Schools
Marie Wicks, Williamson Co. Schools
Wanda Willis, The Council on Developmental Disabilities