• Nashville is well-known for its top universities, thriving health care industry, and music scene. But it's also home to an incredibly stark level of inequity, especially in the school system.

  • Ten years from now, we’re going to remember this as the decade when the people of Nashville came together to change the life prospects for our children.

About Greater Nashville

As a river port and railroad center, Nashville attracted a diverse population from its inception in 1779. It has continued to flourish as a destination for citizens and immigrants of varied income levels. Nashville’s famous music, top universities, and thriving health care industry often deflect attention from an incredibly stark level of inequity, especially in the school system. Case in point: in 2011, just 66 of 1,000 seniors at the city’s five highest-poverty high schools—Stratford, Pearl Cohn, Whites Creek, Maplewood, and Glencliff—achieved an ACT score that indicated they were prepared to enter college or a career.

Great classrooms, schools, and districts require exceptional leadership, and in the past four years, our city and state have unleashed transformational initiatives. Tennessee won the federal Race to the Top competition, Nashville elected a mayor with a bold education platform, and the state’s general assembly passed landmark charter school legislation that significantly increased enrollment opportunities for low-income students. The stars have aligned for change, but we have a lot of work ahead.
Today, Teach For America corps members teach in 70 schools across Metro Nashville, reaching nearly 13,000 students. More than 200 Teach For America alumni call the city home, and have assumed notable positions in school leadership and education policy, including the state’s education commissioner, Kevin Huffman (Houston Corps ’92). They are working with our communities to create long-term, sustainable change.
We believe that, 10 years from now, we’ll look back on this as the decade when the people of Nashville came together to change the life prospects for our children.

Connect With Us

220 Athens Way Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37228
Tel (615) 242-6263
Fax (615) 242-6249

Executive Director

Shani Jackson Dowell
Shani Dowell is a graduate of Howard University and holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University.

She started her career at Bain and Company and then worked on education cases for the Bridgespan Group before joining the KIPP charter network and launching schools in Houston, New Orleans, and Nashville. So inspired by seeing Teach For America alumni expanding opportunities for students, Shani became a corps member and taught math in Houston (in the district where she was educated) before joining Teach For America staff on the recruitment team. She now leads Teach For America’s Greater Nashville region and believes our city can become a place where all children including her son and daughter, have a great school to attend.  Shani and her family live in the Inglewood neighborhood of Nashville.

Regional Stats

Year TFA Arrived
Alumni in region
Alumni School Leaders
Data valid as of: Aug 2014