NASHVILLE, TN (TN Tribune) -Beverly Watts today announced her retirement as executive director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC). The announcement was made at the February 9th THRC Personnel Committee meeting. Watts will serve in her role through February 15, 2022.

Watts was appointed as the executive director in July 2007 and has over 30-years of experience in human and civil rights education and enforcement in the public and private sector.

In addition to her service at THRC, Watts has served in leadership roles at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), National Fair Housing Training Academy, and the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. She is the recipient of several awards and honors for her leadership.

Board Chair Robin Derryberry said, “I would like to thank Director Watts for her service to this agency which is greatly appreciated.”

Personnel Committee Chair Annazette Houston said, “Director Watts, I thank you for your service to the agency.”

Former THRC Commissioner and author of the Tennessee Human Rights Act, Jocelyn Wurzburg said, “I want to thank Ms. Watts for bringing the Commission into the fold of those who really cared about eliminating discrimination, I thank you for your service.”

The Tennessee NAACP State Conference President, Gloria Sweet-Love said, “Director Watts has served the citizens of Tennessee with distinction, we appreciate and salute her.”

Rosetta Miller-Perry, TnTribune Publisher and retired director of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said, “I am humbled to have been the 2019 Civil Rights Legacy Award from THRC under Beverly’s leadership”. She further stated that she was so proud that for over 30 years THRC (State) and EEOC (Federal) had a great mutual working relationship and she believes it will continue under the incoming leadership.

Miller-Perry said, ” Beverly was a trailblazer and she made a real difference in the lives of the underserved, as well as being a great leader for THRC while finding joy in purpose. She now leaves her legacy that others will follow.”

Deputy Director Muriel Malone Nolen will act as interim executive director for the agency.

The Commission’s role is to enforce the state’s anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on race, creed, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age (40 and over in employment), familial status (housing only), and retaliation in employment, housing and public accommodations and coordinate compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is the mission of the Commission to safeguard individuals from discrimination through education and enforcement.