• Print

    Tennessee's Stand for Children gets new executive director

    Paula K. Peyton

    Photo by Picasa

    Betty Anderson for anderson_stand

    For nearly 40 years, Betty Anderson used her voice as a lobbyist in the Tennessee legislature. In her new role, she hopes to extend that gift to parents and teachers across the state.

    Anderson, 63, became the executive director at Stand for Children Tennessee, a public education advocacy group, on July 11. Previously, she worked as the assistant executive director of the Tennessee Education Association; the chief strategist at the Tennessee Charter Schools Association; a lobbyist for law firm Baker Donelson; and for her own firms, Advance Public Strategies and Anderson Consulting.

    Stand for Children’s mission is to support the education of children, especially when it comes to the legislation affecting it. Stand funneled more than $40,000 into several key school board races in Memphis last summer, helping fuel victories for four of the seven candidates the group supported.

    Current topics of interest for the organization are the Common Core curriculum, which is a national standardized curriculum, and full funding for pre-K programs.

    “What excites me most about this position is helping parents and teachers use their voices to help children,” Anderson said. “When I was a lobbyist for a number of clients, I wasn’t able to devote my time to the topic I love best, which is children.”

    Jaclyn Suffel, a project manager for Stand, said the staff in Memphis is “really excited for the opportunities for growth she’s going to provide.”

    “Her expertise is going to be very beneficial, and we think it’s going to push us forward to a new level,” Suffel said. “Our members are really excited, and they’re really interested to get to know her. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

    Kate Lareau and her husband, Chris, are members of Stand’s volunteer-based strategy committee. She hasn’t met Anderson yet, but she is glad to know that she brought with her knowledge about educational policy. “The leadership of Kenya Bradshaw is really going to be missed, but it’s exciting to know that we have someone coming in with all this experience,” she said.

    Anderson, who is based in Nashville, said she has witnessed a great shift in the way politicians in Tennessee look at educational policy. “Education was seen as a political excuse for raising taxes, but the money often did not go to education and kids.”

    “I don’t get passionate about a lot of things, but I do about this,” she said. “I see it as my purpose — that the path I’ve been on for close to 40 years has led me to it. I’m motivated in the right way.”

    In her role at Stand, Anderson wants to “have an impact on the youth of today and help shape them for the future.”

    “I have a great desire to be helpful and to help Stand partner with local school systems to improve education for all kids, regardless of race,” she said. “I’m in the process of growing Stand, which means growing the voices of parents and teachers . That’s where I want to carry the organization.”

    “Later on, I hope that I have left a better world for our kids — that I have contributed. If I have contributed to this, then my life purpose has been met.”
    Scripps Lighthouse

      © 2013 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online