l-r; Janet Miller, board member, Nashville Public Education Foundation; Dr. Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University; 2019 Hall of Fame Distinguished Alumni Award winners Kasar Abdulla and Jimmy Granbery (winner Dr. Adrienne Battle not pictured); and Joey Hatch, board member, Nashville Public Education Foundation.

NASHVILLE, TN — More than 1,000 Nashvillians gathered Wednesday to honor the accomplishments of Nashville’s public schools and welcome four new inductees into the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Public Schools Hall of Fame during its 15th annual honorees’ luncheon, presented by First Tennessee Bank.

Janet Miller and Joey Hatch served as event co-chairs for the celebration. “This event is centered around celebrating our city’s teachers, leaders and community members who give the children of Nashville the opportunity to thrive and succeed in school every day,” said event co-chair Joey Hatch.

“We are proud to shine a light on those who advocate for change in Metro schools and continue to make great strides for our students,” said event co-chair Janet Miller.  

Judge Richard Dinkins received the Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award for his tireless commitment to civil rights advocacy in public schools. From a young age, Dinkins was instilled with the belief that education can be used as a powerful tool to promote change. A judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Dinkins continually advocates for the advancement of public education to ensure that all children have the opportunity to access a quality, meaningful education.

Three MNPS graduates received the Distinguished Alumni Award:

Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools and a graduate of Overton High School.

  Kasar Abdulla, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer at Valor Collegiate Academies and a graduate of Antioch High School.

Jimmy Granbery, chairman and CEO of the H.G. Hill Realty Company, chairman of the H.G. Hill Company, and a graduate of Hillwood High School.

The Thomas J. Sherrard Inspiring Innovation Award, presented by Nissan North America, Inc., was given to Restorative Student Leaders and UniCycle. By initiating cultural change through restorative practices, and by providing gently used uniforms for students in need, these organizations were rewarded for their dedication to creating innovative, meaningful solutions for the MNPS community.

Crystal Hicks and Mary Jane Manley were announced as the winners of the Annette Eskind Inspiring Educator Award, sponsored by Ingram Charities, for their commitment to their students, as well as their abilities to be leaders both inside and outside the classroom.

In addition to recognizing the four honorees, a special tribute was held for former Vanderbilt University Athletics Director and NPEF board member David Williams. Remarks were given by Judge Dinkins, followed by a performance from Grammy Award-winning gospel artist CeCe Winans and the Waverly-Belmont Elementary School Choir.

“David was a trailblazer for our organization, city and community,” said Katie Cour, president and CEO of the Nashville Public Education Foundation. “David was focused on finding common ground to bring people together and highlight similarities rather than differences.”

Supporters for the event include: AllianceBernstein, Allstate, American Paper and Twine Co., Belmont University, Bone McAllester Norton PLLC, Brenda and Ron Corbin, Cigna, Colliers International, Curb Records, Dollar General, Education Networks of America, The Enchiridion Foundation, Enterprise Solutions, The Eskind Family, FirstBank, Gresham Smith, Connie and Carl Haley, HCA Healthcare/TriStar Health, H.G. Hill Realty Co. LLC, J Graham Inc., Jennifer and Billy Frist, Lightning 100, Lipman Brothers, Lipscomb University, LP Building Solutions, Nashville Business Journal, Nashville Electric Service, Nashville State Community College Foundation, Orcutt Winslow LLP, Piedmont Gas, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Regions Bank, Rogers Group, Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation, Sherrard, Roe, Voigt & Harbison, Southwest Value Partners, Steve Turner, Studio Bank, Synovus, TBR – The College System of Tennessee, Trauger & Tuke, UBS, and Vanderbilt University.

The Nashville Public Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises private funds to support teachers and leaders, to champion success, and to advocate for change for Metro Nashville Public Schools. More information is available at www.nashvillepef.org.