At the Chamber, we believe that having a successful public school system is essential to the long-term prosperity of Nashville and the Middle Tennessee region. In 2008, the Chamber senior staff and our volunteer leadership created a three-year plan, Education 2020,
to assure Nashville’s future prosperity by engaging community leadership to transform public education.
The Chamber’s education work leverages our organization’s unique strengths, and, in most cases, fills a need or a gap not being addressed by others. Longstanding Chamber education initiatives
such as the Education Report Card Committee, SuccessPAC and our support for charter schools fit perfectly alongside newer initiatives like Friends of Metro Schools, ONE NASHVILLE
and our support of the Academies of Nashville.
To carry out this strategic work, the Chamber’s education department has four full-time, committed professionals:
Marc Everett Hill, Chief Education Officer
In late 2006, Chamber leadership created a new leadership position focused on the key priority of improving public education. Marc Hill became the Nashville Chamber’s first chief education officer in April 2007. Marc previously spent seven years in Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell’s administration as director of the Mayor’s Office of Children and Youth and special assistant for education. In the 1990s, Marc spent five years with the Tennessee House of Representatives, both in the Majority Leader’s office and as the research analyst for the Education Committee. Marc is a graduate of Antioch High School, Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University. When he is not working on education policy, Marc is usually thinking about music and soccer, but not at the same time.
Etta Carson-Bell, Program Manager
A Metro Schools parent, Etta Carson-Bell has been with the Chamber’s education department for six years. She previously worked in higher education at Tennessee State University. In addition to managing the department, Etta leads the Chamber’s work on the Mayor’s First Day Festival
and Friends of Metro Schools.
Etta is an alumna of Kentucky State University in Frankfort and is renowned for her ability to plan and pull off a multitude of committee meetings, public events, policy summits and baby showers.
Zack Blair, Director of Business Engagement in Education
Following in the footsteps of Chelsea Parker, who now works for Metro Schools, Zack joined the Chamber team in August 2010. Zack is a graduate of Lipscomb University and was previously employed as a technical specialist at his alma mater. Zack leads the Chamber’s work to support the Academies of Nashville
, Metro Schools’ effort to reform its 12 zoned high schools into smaller learning communities with a career or thematic focus. He is also quite possibly the best-mannered sports fanatic you will ever meet.
Rita McDonald, Director of Community Engagement in Education
Though Rita McDonald is the newest education department staff member -- having joined in September 2010 in a newly created position to lead the ONE NASHVILLE
campaign -- she is the consummate Chamber veteran. Rita has spent 20 years serving in the Chamber’s research and information services division. A graduate of Metro Schools and Middle Tennessee State University, Rita would like you to stop reading this blog post and join onenashville.org
L-R: Marc Hill, Rita McDonald, Etta Carson-Bell and Zack Blair at the launch of the ONE NASHVILLE campaign.