Nashville Public Education Foundation names 2021 Public Schools Hall of Fame honorees

Devon Williams
Nashville Public Education Foundation

NASHVILLE, TN — The Nashville Public Education Foundation will honor a state senator, public school teachers, business and medical leaders, and nonprofit organizations at the school’s 17th annual Public Schools Hall of Fame celebration on September 29.

The award is an annual event to honor individuals and organizations that show remarkable dedication and commitment to Nashville’s public schools and students.

Just like 2020, this year’s event will be virtual as the city is returning to moderate in-person gatherings. First Horizon Foundation presents this year’s event.

“It remains a top priority of the Nashville Public Education Foundation to identify and celebrate the incredible work of our teachers and leaders and all who support them daily across our city,” foundation President and CEO Katie Cour said. “We are committed not only to recognizing and rewarding excellence but also to spotlighting successful strategies that help ensure all students thrive in Nashville’s public schools.

The Nelson C. Andrews Distinguished Service Award will be conferred to Sen. Brenda Gilmore. She represents District 19 in the Tennessee General Assembly and has a history in youth and education advocation in Nashville. Gilmore was also involved in community services at John F. Kennedy Susan Gray School for Children, the Margaret Cunningham Women’s Center, and the Northwest Nashville YMCA.

Three Nashvillians will be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Belmont University. The first one is Lisa Ferrelli. She is a Bellevue High School graduate and senior vice president in the Mid South Global Commercial Banking team at Bank of America. Ferrelli also included on the boards of some community organizations such as the YWCA and the Nashville Rotary.

The next is Don Hardin. Hardin is a Maplewood High School graduate and co-owns the Nashville-based construction management firm, the Don Hardin Group. Some of his work with the firm is in significant projects such as Music City Center, First Horizon Park, and the National Museum of African American Music.

The last one is Dr. Alex Jahangir, an MLK Jr. Magnet High School graduate, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, and the head of the division of orthopedic trauma at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Alex was also involved in the COVID-19 pandemic city response team after being appointed as the Metro Nashville Coronavirus Taskforce chair in March 2020.

Thomas J. Sherrard Inspiring Innovation Award, presented by Nissan, will be given to two organizations serving Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The award, which comes with a $5,000 grant, acknowledges the organizations for creating a difference for Nashville’s students.

The first one is FUTURO, a nonprofit that spotlights college success and professional development for Latino students between the ages of 18 to 27. FUTURO gives the students chance for leadership, career growth, and civic engagement to achieve degrees and employment.

The second one is BeWell in School. It is a nonprofit founded by Riki Rattner, a Metro Nashville Public Schools teacher. BeWell in School teaches thoughtfulness and movement as a motivating behavior management system to encourage students, teachers, and citizens with tools to self-regulate. BeWell’s programs are recognized for reducing disciplinary issues in school and raising teachers’ morale, increasing student connection, and improving test scores.

Two Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers will be honored with Annette Eskind Inspiring Educator Award, presented by UBS. They are teachers who “demonstrated an incredible dedication to students through the unpredictable changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic”. Each educator will receive $5,000, with half going directly to their schools.

First is Jan Esterline, who discovered a need and a passion for teaching English to Nashville’s growing immigrant community and returned to the classroom. Esterline will teach math in the 2021-22 school year primarily to students with interrupted formal education or who recently arrived in the United States.

Second is Daven Oglesby, who began his career with MNPS as a substitute teacher. Coming from a family of educators, he has found his calling working with students with disabilities and is a special education teacher at Lakeview Elementary Design Center.

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